Getting to know you . . .
Fourth graders in an H.G. Olsen Elementary School classroom were completing a quiz at their desks Tuesday morning when the new superintendent of the Port Aransas Independent School District dropped by for a visit.
"I'm Dr. Doughty," Sharon Doughty said, clasping her hands lightly together as she addressed the students. "I'm not a doctor who would listen to your heartbeat. I'm a doctor of education, so I would listen to your reading."
Visiting classrooms throughout PAISD was part of a whirlwind of activity engaging Doughty in her first few days on the job as the district's new superintendent.
Doughty, who officially took office on Monday, Jan. 12, was selected by the PAISD Board of Trustees last month from about 60 applicants for the superintendent's job. She replaces Billy Wiggins, who resigned in August to take a superintendent's position in Salado, north of Austin.
Doughty began her first day on the job by attending a coffee at the district administration building, where PAISD employees and other community members gathered to welcome the new superintendent and chat.
Next, Doughty discussed district finances with Brian Schuss, business manager of PAISD.
"Spring is a busy time for budgeting," she said, adding that she will rely heavily on the business manager's expertise in the area of school finance. Doughty has described herself as a superintendent attuned more to instructional matters than other duties of the office.
Doughty and interim superintendent Wayne Johnson next visited the offices of the South Jetty, where Johnson introduced Doughty to Mary Henkel Judson, the newspaper's editor and co-publisher.
After eating a microwaved lunch at her new Port Aransas home, Doughty met with Schuss again, filled out some personal employment paperwork and toured the elementary school gym, which has been undergoing repairs since a broken water line flooded the building's floor Jan. 1.
Doughty rounded out her first day on the job by meeting with Johnson to discuss matters including playground equipment replacement, upcoming repairs to the district's electronic marquee, personnel issues and communications between a principal and a parent.
"Dr. Doughty is going to a great deal of trouble to understand the demographics of our district, to understand the people," Johnson said later.
Tuesday morning, Doughty set about organizing her new office, then visited every classroom at H.G. Olsen Elementary School, introducing herself to students and making quick observations on lessons in progress and how classrooms were stocked.
"I've met some really nice people," Doughty said shortly after the Olsen tour, which was led by Sylvia Buttler, the school's principal.
"I'll tell you, walking through these elementary classrooms just now, I'm very impressed with the instruction I saw going on - teachers up, moving. Kids actively engaged. … Real, authentic learning."
At press time, Doughty was beginning a tour of the Brundrett Middle School campus and was planning to tour Port Aransas High School, too. Later that day, she also was planning to meet with school principals to get more familiar with them and what they had to say about their schools.
Doughty said her next few workdays would be just as full. Her plans included getting familiar with her office computer, organizing her workspace, attending the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce Tourism Bureau's annual officer installation luncheon and going to meetings of the Port Aransas Rotary Club and the Port Aransas Education Foundation.
Welcome to laid-back island life, Dr. Doughty.