FS: Hi Doc, thanks for meeting me.
DW: Of course, I’m happy to share.
FS: So, how long have you been working as a teacher?
DW: Ever since I was 23. I had a short hiatus after graduate school at UNC, then I went to the University of Minnesota, but other than that I’ve been teaching at boarding prep schools since I was 23.
FS: Why did you first decide to become a teacher?
DW: I graduated from Amherst College in 1974 and the year after that I went to the University of Colorado and started a
master’s degree in music composition. I saw a lot of students who were sitting on their Ph.D. dissertations for years and thought it was very bleak and I would be better off with some teaching experience, so I spoke to the Dean of Students and Amherst and he advised me about using a placement service; so, I ended up being hired at Moses Brown School. And the rest is history!
FS: How many of those years teaching have been at KUA?
DW: The last 18 have been here.
FS: How did you originally find KUA?
DW: After I left the Moses Brown School, I went to Deerfield for six years, and then spent eleven years at Cushing Academy, and then I found my way here.
FS: During your time here, what different positions have you held?
DW: I think I’ve done just about everything in the music department except for intro guitar. I was the assistant coach for the road cycling team for several years, and that was crazy. And then all of my usual stuff, like classrooms and playing for the shows every year.
FS: During that time, what have been some of your favorite memories?
DW: I’ve always loved doing singers’ night; that was sort of a format I started while I was at Cushing and I brought here. A lot of kids that went through that had transformative experiences. Touring with musicals have also been fun. I’ve been to England three times, a tour to India, and one to New Zealand, all of which have been amazing experiences.
FS: Would you say that you’ve been looking forward to retiring?
DW: Yes, I would say that, and probably some of the faculty would say I am looking forward to it too much. I mean, I love what I do and my job here, but I guess I’m ready to try something different.
FS: What are some of the things you’ve been looking forward to doing during retirement?
DW: My family has a cottage near the beach on Prince Edward Island in Canada,
and so I’ll spend a lot more time up there and maybe try getting a garden up there.
FS: Where do you see KUA in 10 years?
DW: Man, this school has grown by leaps and bounds since I’ve joined here. The quality of facilities, the caliber of students,
the opportunities, I can only imagine it will keep growing on that curve. The industry is challenged, but I think KUA is in a very good place.
KUA wishes Doc a happy retirement and thanks him for all of his years of dedication and service to the school.