by Elise Gorberg and Zehra Madhavan
At North, our principal had been a familiar face for years, and with the announcement of his retirement, many students were curious about the man chosen to fill his shoes. We decided to find out a bit more about him. Formerly the principal of Lawrence High School, Dr. Dauber is eager to immerse himself in the Northern Knights’ community.
What are your goals and expectations for North?
I don’t think it’s any secret that this is a pretty well-performing school district and school in particular… We definitely want to continue to have our foot on the gas pedal with regards to what we’re doing academically here at school, but at the same time, we also want to recognize that there needs to be a balance in life for all of you as students and realize that there’s much more to your growth as a high school student from the time you’re a freshman to a senior that expands beyond the academic side.
Are there any policies from Lawrence that you’re planning to implement here?
You have to take the time to synthesize what the environment is all about, culturally speaking and then at some point make decisions not necessarily to replace things or to change things but perhaps to build on things. You’re able to learn about things, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that we want to replace stuff, we just want to find ways to build on it.
Has anything surprised you about North?
I love the sense of academic focus that all the students seem to have. That’s not to say it’s not everywhere else—it’s just different. It’s almost like you’ve got college-minded kids operating in a college mindset as far as “I need to get to class on time, I need to do my part, I need to be responsible, and I need to be ready to learn.” And that’s a really cool thing.
Do you have any memorable experiences or new lessons from being here so far?
I want to do the best that I can to make contact and develop relationships with kids…. that’s the piece that gives me the most joy in being a principal is the ability to do that. …. Seniors are the group that I have the least amount of time with, so it’s a priority for me to get to know the seniors as much as I can.
What initially made you want to become an educator?
Before I got into teaching, I was actually a police officer for three years when I finished my undergrad, I went into law enforcement and I really wanted to be a criminal psychologist ………..
I really didn’t appreciate my education as much as I think I should have, in terms of the people who had to do with me becoming who I was becoming as a young man after high school and into college, and being part of the working world after college. I realized how important those people were to me and how it was something I wanted to get more involved in, so I actually went back to school to get my teaching certificate and Masters degrees, and other stuff along the way. But that was what hit me about being a teacher, was realizing how important those people were to me when I was younger that I didn’t really appreciate in high school. Sometimes it takes a little bit of growing up before you realize what’s important to you and what you want to do with your life, certainly professionally.
What was the transition from teacher to administrator like?
It’s strange to see how fast things happen but how small the changes are over time to where you really don’t recognize them while they’re happening. It’s not until you step back and look at the last decade of your life and see where it all went. The transition’s been in small steps, but over time the small steps add up to what appears to be a bigger step, and it’s interesting to see how it happens—one thing leads to another.
What challenges have you faced so far?
…The job in and of itself of being a principal at a high school is consistent between here and Lawrence, for example. The difference is simply in the smaller details, like really in how we do things here versus how we did things in Lawrence. It’s just something that takes time in connecting personalities together and realizing who your people are, like who makes us the community at HSN. It’s all part of the growth process. Newness pushes you to become better at what you do.
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would you choose?
Historically, I would probably be interested in sitting down with John and Bobby Kennedy.
Sports-wise, I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan, I’d love to sit down with some of the guys who were part of the golden age of football—Tom Landry (the coach back in the 70s), some of the players when I was younger, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.
Movie and TV wise, I grew up on Star Wars, so Harrison Ford. [Also] Robert Downey Jr.; kids think that I look a little bit like him. I’d heard that a long time ago, here and there, but not to the point where every kid has been coming up to me in the last few weeks—that was kinda strange.
Do you have any funny/memorable experiences from your time as a high school student?
When you work in high school, it’s a strange thing because you’re seeing high school through the eyes of a principal as a opposed to the eyes of a student.
I was a distance runner in high school, and I went to Nottingham High School in Hamilton.
25 years out of high school, you have to work hard at maintaining your relationships with people out of highschool. It’s important that you do because that these are the people who will have remembered you when you were young and help keep you grounded in not taking life too seriously.
What’s your favorite thing so far about North?
All of it. From the kids who go to school here, the dedication kids seem to have, the support from the community, and it’s a beautiful building…. You seem to have a lot of great people working in the best interest of kids who want to do well and ultimately are going to do well and move on to represent the school and this community very well after you leave. It’s really a nice school, and I’m happy to be here.