After 38 years, longtime educator looks forward to retirement


Kayla Kolpitcke

Mrs. Vicki DOugherty will be retiring this spring after 38 years as an educator.

A new chapter will soon begin in the life of Powell High School Special Education teacher Mrs. Vicki Dougherty.

After 38 years of teaching, six of which were spent at PHS, Mrs. Dougherty will retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

“She spends lots and lots of hours [at the school],” Special Education teacher Mrs. Michelle Bills said. “I mean, she’s here on the weekends, she’s here all the time.

“She’s the last one to leave when I am. I mean, she puts in so many hours to a task. Her dedication is just … kind of like an infectious disease. She makes people want to do well.”

Special Education teacher Mr. Stephen Whipple has a similar feeling about Mrs. Dougherty’s impact at PHS.

“She’s very energetic,” Mr. Whipple said. “She is one of the most caring and dedicated people that I’ve worked with.

“She cares a lot about each individual kid and puts a lot of time into getting to know them and learning their strengths and weaknesses. That’s one of her biggest strengths.”

“I think my best memories are when the kids have had an interest in something and they’ve kind of taken the lead with what they want to be taught.”

— Mrs. Vicki Dougherty, Special Education teacher

Growing up, Mrs. Dougherty had an interest in teaching and special education, but it faded when she became interested in psychology. In the end, though, she decided to follow her original interest.

“When I was little kid, I would pretend to teach, of course,” Mrs. Dougherty said. “And when I babysat, I always babysat for neighbors and they had one boy that had Down syndrome. That was kind of my interest. I always wanted to teach kids with Down syndrome.”

Though it was what originally sparked her interest in teaching, Mrs. Dougherty has taught very few students with Down syndrome. Throughout all her years of teaching, she has spent time teaching both special education and regular education. She has taught every grade except first and third.

Throughout her six years at PHS, Mrs. Dougherty has taught numerous students and made many memories.

“Every year has a good memory,” Mrs. Dougherty said. “I think my best memories are when the kids have had an interest in something and they’ve kind of taken the lead with what they want to be taught.”

At PHS, both the students and parents have left good impressions on Mrs. Dougherty.

“I’ve always been really impressed by the students that I have,” Mrs. Dougherty said. “The other thing that I’ve always been impressed with is … sometimes in special education because you talk to the parents so much, the parents don’t always want to come to parent-teacher conferences and so- forth.

“But in Powell I’ve always been impressed with the parents that come to parent-teacher conferences, how many of them do come.”

With no school schedule next year, Mrs. Dougherty plans to do some traveling, along with taking some rest and relaxation time.

“To do some traveling, to do nothing, to read books,” Mrs. Dougherty said. “I would just love to travel around the United States, but we went to Greece and Italy one year. I wouldn’t mind going back to Greece, and I know my husband would like to go to Ireland.”

In her years at PHS, Mrs. Dougherty has made an impact on not only the students but the staff as well..

“She always has time for everybody,” Mrs. Bills said. “She’s somebody everyone, all teachers, should look up to.”