Dougherty’s new teachers are familiar faces

This school year, Dougherty Valley welcomes new teachers Mr. Samir Khatri and Ms. Shannon Hancock. Students from Gale Ranch Middle School and Windemere Ranch Middle School might recognize them from their old classes — both Khatri and Hancock taught at the respective schools just last year.

Khatri will take over World History and AP European History from Ms. Julie Lazar, who moved out at the end of last year. Progressing to high school has been a smooth transition for Khatri, and many of his previous students have made the switch with him.

When asked why he decided to change schools, Khatri said, “I wanted to focus on teaching history and I wanted to see my old students grow up and go off into the world.”

Despite changing schools and being a new teacher to Dougherty, Khatri still remains popular amongst students, recently winning Homecoming court to their delight.

Khatri appreciates how high schoolers are more mature and accountable, but notes that “some of the students still have the attitude of middle schoolers, but in the body of high schoolers.”

On the other hand, Hancock, the new Algebra 2 and Geometry teacher, sees the curriculum as the biggest change, rather than the students.

“There’s not a huge difference [in the students],” she said. ”In middle school we have much shorter classes so we have to teach the curriculum faster … In high school, we have more time to dig into the concepts.”

This isn’t Hancock’s first time teaching at a high school. Before working at Windermere, she was a teacher at San Ramon Valley High School.

“I am in about the last third of my career … I missed a lot of the activities high schoolers participate in.” she said, citing Prom and football games as a few examples.

Both teachers have noticed that the culture of Dougherty is very academically-driven and goal-oriented, but differ in their opinions on it.

Hancock sees it as a continuation of pressures that emerged as early as middle school when accelerated math courses were first introduced.
“At the middle school, we’ve seen it in math for years, because it’s always about trying to get ahead in math … Instead, in high school, it’s about AP classes,” she said. “Certainly high school students are more mature than middle school students, but I love the middle school students’ ability to laugh at themselves.”

Khatri has a more positive outlook, believing that it will better prepare students.

“I have absolutely noticed the Dougherty mentality, and it’s taking a little bit of adjusting. But, overall … it makes students more successful in the future and it will make their college life easier,” he explains.