Meet Dan Doughty: Poly’s New Head of Middle School

Dan Doughty

We are so glad that Dan Doughty will continue his journey as an educator here at Poly as he takes on the new role of Head of Middle School on July 1, 2023.

A search committee member said of him, “Dan has demonstrated his ability to combine attributes not often found in tandem: optimism and pragmatism, organization and creativity, respect for tradition and enthusiasm for innovation.”

Dan Doughty with former students
Dan Doughty with former students at the 2022 Spirit Award ceremony.

Doughty has been a vital part of the Arts Department since 2006, having served as Performing Arts Department Chair from 2014-2021. Most recently as Director of Music, Dan has led Middle and Upper School vocalists in exhilarating Spring and Winter Concerts, taken members of Concert Choir to perform in the United States and abroad, and has overseen the Nursery through Grade 12 programming with special attention to the transition from Lower to Middle School. This past fall, Dan received the 2022 Spirit Award presented by the Alumni Association Board of Governors. He is also a member of the 2023-2025 cohort of Columbia University’s Klingenstein Center summer Master’s program for Independent School Leadership.

A Vision for Middle School

“As a teacher,” Doughty said. “I have loved the opportunities to connect with and inspire students, help foster community-building and social-emotional learning in the classroom, and provide students with challenges that help them grow. In my new role, I hope to broaden the scope of my impact and continue this work with all Middle School students. I plan to stay very involved in students’ lives, actively participating in assemblies and advisory, visiting classes, watching performances and games, and providing space for students to share their thoughts and ideas.”

“I am so excited to begin this new role and honored to have been given the opportunity. Poly has been my home for the last 17 years, and I have a deep love for the community.”

“I am grateful for the many opportunities at Poly that have prepared me to take on this new role,” Doughty said. “As an ensemble director, I have honed my ability to work with large groups of students, including classroom management in differently structured settings, engaging large groups at one time, and developing rapport quickly. Organizing large events, such as concerts featuring up to 200 students, has taught me how to scaffold the structures needed to produce a successful event and clearly communicate with faculty, students, and parents.”

Dan Doughty teaches guitar
Dan Doughty teaching guitar in 2018.

“As Chair of the Performing Arts Department for seven years and Director of Music for two,” he added, “I have gained experience with many of the tasks I will be engaged in as Head of Middle School, such as evaluation and supervision of faculty, hiring and professional development, event planning, collaborating with the Advancement, Communications, and Admissions offices, managing budgets, curriculum development, and program building.” 

Doughty has considered what the year ahead will look like. “My list of ideas has reached almost 20 pages,” he said, “including ideas for trips, branding, special events, assemblies, etc. But I think it is most important to spend some time in the role, listen to faculty and students, and see what ideas are important to the community. I plan to begin the year focusing on community-building and helping the Middle School through this transition period. Once we settle, I will work with teachers and students to determine the initiatives they want to see in the Middle School.” 

Dan Doughty in New Orleans with Advanced Concert Choir
Dan Doughty with Advanced Concert Choir in New Orleans in 2023.

“I am so excited to begin this new role and honored to have been given the opportunity,” Doughty said. “Poly has been my home for the last 17 years, and I have a deep love for the community. I hope to carry on the legacy of Mr. Del Valle and the Division Heads before me while bringing my own experiences to the role. Ultimately, I want to ensure Poly Middle School is the best experience it can be for our exceptional students and teachers.”