Archived—Rob Dougherty

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Year: 2009 – Province: Alberta

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Rob Dougherty

Tom Baines School
250 Edgepark Boulevard N.W.
Calgary AB T3A 3S2

Principal: Rick Petrowich
School Tel.: 403-777-7190
School Fax: 403-777-7191
School Email:
School Website:

Subjects and Grades Taught: Drama, performing arts and Explorations in Film in grades 7, 8 and 9

Rob Dougherty loves drama, film and performing. He also loves Star Wars, film clubs, charity fundraising and mentoring university student teachers. A lifelong enthusiast, and a teacher since 1990, he knows there is no need for students, or anyone, to feel embarrassed because they are passionate about art and culture, science fiction or volunteering. He also works overtime to make sure students who are attracted to these activities have no doubt they are doing something worthwhile and valuable.

Teaching Approach

"Equality within" is Mr. Dougherty's motto. He values everyone for their creative talents, aptitudes and attitudes, and he believes all students are equal; every single one deserves his best efforts, along with access to all the programs the school has to offer. He uses a "we" rather than an "I" approach in the classroom and encourages student leadership and collaborative problem solving during student-led theatre and film productions.

Outstanding Achievements

  • Mr. Dougherty pioneered the integration of information and communications technology into junior high performing arts courses in Calgary, including the use of film in drama classes, employing digital recording and editing techniques. The curricula he developed are now available province-wide, and teachers from the local high school report that students from Tom Baines School arrive with a wide and astonishing array of technical abilities.
  • Under Mr. Dougherty's direction, students created a moving Remembrance Day gathering for the school based on the lives of Canadian soldiers who fell in the Afghanistan campaign. The students contacted friends and family members of the soldiers and then created a multimedia presentation based on what they had learned.
  • Each year, Mr. Dougherty leads the planning and performance of a student musical production involving hundreds of students, staff and community volunteers.
  • He devised a "boot camp" for Grade 9 students—a special environment in which they can become comfortable singing, acting and dancing in front of their peers. The students record their experiences in journals and produce items such as collages in answer to creative questions Mr. Dougherty puts to them.
  • Mr. Dougherty created a Star Wars fan club, which eventually became one the school's most popular clubs. In addition to learning about filmmaking, story telling and acting, club members collect substantial sums for charity, and organize contests with the help of local businesses to encourage student creativity.

Rave Reviews

"Through his classes and many productions and clubs that he runs, he has made kids feel like they belong, thus improving their confidence and self-esteem." Former student

"He did cause some grey hair for the principal. How could we accommodate the interest [in Mr. Dougherty's classes]? We often had to split full-year classes into semesters to allow greater participation. There was never a shortage of ideas and new directions, but, fortunately, he always had patience with me as I scrambled to expand the budget." Former principal