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John Baugher, Christina Dougherty given Rita Board Dowd Award for Outstanding Carroll County School Administrators

John Baugher, Christina Dougherty given Rita Board Dowd Award for Outstanding Carroll County School Administrators
John Baugher, principal at Westminster High School, and Christina Dougherty, assistant principal at Francis Scott Key High School, were named recipients with the Rita Board Dowd Award for Outstanding Carroll County School Administrators. (Courtesy photo)

Two Carroll County Public Schools administrators recently were honored with the Rita Board Dowd Award for Outstanding Carroll County School Administrators.

John Baugher, principal at Westminster High School, and Christina Dougherty, assistant principal at Francis Scott Key High School, were named recipients during the Board of Education's employee recognition ceremony, the same event where this year's Teacher of the Year was named, according to a news release from the school system.

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This award is given annually to two school administrators — one principal and one assistant principal. The goal of the award is to "recognize exceptional educational leadership in serving Carroll County Public Schools and its students," according to the release. The selection committee is composed of a member of Rita Board Dowd's family, the previous year's winners, school directors and Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Steven Johnson.

Johnson said the award was created when Winters Mill Assistant Principal Rita Board Dowd died in 2009. Her family wanted to do something to keep her memory alive, he said.

Dougherty was a top choice, he said, because she's been an assistant principal for many years and is caring. She was nominated by a number of people, including a family that has kids in Francis Scott Key.

"The letter [the family wrote] brought tears to your eyes," Johnson said.

Dougherty said she was "very surprised" to have won the award this year. She's been nominated two times previously, she said.

"It's very humbling," she said, later adding, "It makes you feed good about what you do."

She got into education first as a social studies teacher, working at Westminster High. At that time, there was a need for more administrators — especially female administrators, she said — and she was encouraged to get her master's degree. She did the job in an acting capacity before getting her degree, and has now been in administration for more than a decade.

Dougherty said, while academics and extracurricular activities are important, one of the biggest parts of her job is about getting to know the students and their families.

"The relationship with people are key to what we do," she said.

It's especially nice getting to build those relationships in the Francis Scott Key community, Dougherty said, because it's the community she lives in. It's important to get to know the students, and build connections with the businesses, so everyone in the community has the same goal — "working together with one common cause to build a great school," she added.

Baugher was also another clear choice, Johnson said, because of his years of experience. This past year, Johnson said, Baugher took on a new assignment moving to Westminster High after spending so long at Francis Scott Key.

He has worked hard to move the school culture and climate in the right direction, Johnson said of Baugher.

"[He] really has done some nice things at Westminster High School," Johnson added.

For Baugher, who said he had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dowd before she died, said it was an honor just to be nominated for her award, let alone to win it.

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"I think she was a great educator," he said, adding that if you can meet her standard, it means you're getting closer to the goal of being a school administrator.

The best part about the job, he said, is the students and the staff. This year has been a big change for Baugher, he said.

The new school brought with it almost twice as many kids, he said, and there have been some challenges bringing so many different philosophies together. But, Baugher said, the kids and staff have been incredible, and there's been a lot of community support.

Carroll may not always have the most modern facilities, but it has strong teachers and supportive staff, he said.

"It's just a great place to work," Baugher added.



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