Mr. Doughty Takes on Head of Middle School Role

Mac Coleman, Contributing Writer

Daniel Doughty has been teaching music at Poly since he first came in 2006. In 2009, he became the middle school performing arts director, and in 2014, began serving as the chair of the performing arts department. In September of 2021, he became the director of music at Poly, and, now, effective July 1, he will be Poly’s new Head of Middle School.

Throughout his whopping 17 years at Poly, Doughty has created and developed numerous classes in both the Middle and Upper Schools. Aside from teaching music, he has directed seven Middle School plays and nine Upper School plays.

“I was very influenced by my high school music teachers who provided rewarding challenges at a time when it really helped me connect with my community and I want to do that for other kids.” said Doughty. Doughty, hav- ing grown up in a small town in Iowa, said that he has always longed to live in New York City because of its artistic and cultural diversity.

Doughty has been thinking of taking his experience to the next level and curiously took the position as the Head of the Middle School when it arose, “I am really excited to work more closely with a larger number of students in a different manner and create the best student life possible for them. l also wanted to find new ways to sup- port the Middle School faculty and colleagues.”

Doughty said that “balancing all of the different needs and requests and making sure what is best for students” will be the most difficult part of his new role.

Michal Hershkovitz, Assistant Head of School, Academics, wrote in an email to the Polygon, “Dan Doughty has served Poly in so many creative and important ways but my own experience with him dates to when my children were enrolled here and had the benefit of studying music with him during his tenure as Chair of the Performing Arts Department.”

Additionally, she added that, “During the interview process for the Middle School Head role, Mr. Doughty impressed the committee with his thoughtfulness, innovative ideas, and insightful, deep appreciation of the needs of Middle School students and faculty alike. I am thrilled to work with Mr. Doughty in his new capacity and to continue our collaboration, one which has always enriched my experience here.”

Over the years Doughty has learned a lot about teaching music. “Throughout the pandemic I learned the value of being flexible and of be- ing able to think creatively,” Doughty said. “I have learned the value of providing the opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning in an independent way and away they want to.”

Alida Lissak, a student in his advanced concert choir class said, “Mr. Doughty is an organized, smart, and kind teacher. When I was younger and more hesitant to sing out, he constantly encouraged and believed in me, as he does with all of his stu- dents. I’m so incredibly thankful to have had Mr. Doughty since fifth grade and would not be the confident person I am today without him pushing us and just always having our back, no matter what.”

Doughty has contributed enormously to developing opportunities that inspire students and building Poly’s music program. He was excited to share: “I have some ideas for incorporating music into other parts of Poly.”