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Going Above and Beyond

When you walk into Dawn Daugherty's classroom, you know she is the type of teacher that goes above and beyond for her students.  

"I've known since third grade that I wanted to be a teacher," said Daugherty. "The teachers I had growing up are why I'm here today. They were my biggest inspiration."   

But the journey hasn't been that linear for Dawn. Five years ago, she and her mom were both diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. Though scary, Dawn said going through that experience with her mom was something special. They scheduled their surgeries and appointments together, even waiting on one another to plan the next steps. Now a true cancer survivor, Dawn has more perspective on life than ever.  

"Going through that journey, especially with my mom, gave me a whole new outlook on life. I truly saw miracles happen," said Daugherty.  

After beating cancer, Dawn was not sure if she would return to teaching. But she said she knew from the moment she met Middle School Division Head Theresa Hirschauer that she was ready to teach again, especially here at Cincinnati Country Day School.  

"You can't work for anyone better than Hirsch,” laughed Daugherty. “Country Day is my home now. I feel so comfortable here.”  

Dawn has indeed jumped in and made herself right at home, coaching middle school volleyball this year along with Tom Cote, the middle school’s administrative assistant. 

"She's brought a lot to the program with her coaching experience and her enthusiasm,” said Cote. “We balance each other out and I feel like we are a great coaching team.”  

Off the court and in the classroom, Dawn is willing to do anything to help her students learn. Her favorite book to teach is "Freak the Mighty" and she loves teaching the students that reading can be fun no matter what the book is. At the beginning of the school year, she held a "book tasting" for her class to get a "taste" of the year's reading menu, complete with red-checkered tablecloths and all.  

“She brings incredible energy, warmth, and positivity to all that she does. She loves working with young people and is dedicated to lighting a spark within each of her students,” said Dr. Christine Bridge, upper school English teacher and one of Dawn’s closest friends.  

Christine and Dawn became friends while teaching together at University of Cincinnati. After Christine transferred to Country Day they kept in touch, and she introduced Dawn to the school. Dawn says they both like to think their paths were always meant to cross.  

"My biggest inspiration is the relationships I build with students every day,” said Daugherty. “If the connection is there, then the academics come more easily. The students need to know you care. That's why I'm so drawn to Country Day – ‘known and nurtured’ aren't just words; it's how we operate here.”