Established in 1983 as the first endowed chair, the James R. Kolster Chair in Mathematics was created in recognition and appreciation of the eleven years Kolster served as Headmaster of Allendale Columbia School. This year we are pleased to recognize and celebrate Rob Doran, an AC veteran teacher who has been an extraordinary presence in the school for eighteen years as a math instructor in both AC’s Middle and Upper Schools.
As Mick said when installing Rob as the sixth recipient of this Chair, “Rob is a consummate professional and dedicated teacher who literally lives and breathes math. Most of us know Rob through his tireless work with his students. He is amongst the first people to arrive in the morning and almost certainly one of the last to leave at night, spending many additional hours helping students individually outside of class. Rob has played a pivotal role in helping students to grow in confidence and find their “math legs” as they move through our program, particularly in our Middle School.”
He has the ability to empower his students and shift their mindset from math phobic to math loving, a rare gift indeed. He achieves this with innovative teaching approaches and through the renowned and unique experiences that he creates in his classroom such as the “Casino Project” and the “Bridge Building Project” as well as tying coding into his curriculum.
Outside of the classroom, Rob is fully immersed in the life of the school and offers many opportunities for students to be successful. He volunteers every year to coach the MathCounts team, is one of the Middle School’s strongest advisors, chaperones the trip to Washington DC, coaches Ultimate Frisbee, and works tirelessly behind the scenes to provide technical expertise for the Middle School show. He is even the kind of teacher you will find dressed up at Halloween – every year! Many students will remember their time with Mr. Doran through the math songs that he creates for his students to remember math concepts — ask any alum who’s had him, and they will remember the jingle.
Few people’s work at AC has resulted in them being honored for such a highly coveted award twice, but Rob has earned the honor of being installed as the sixth holder of the James R. Kolster Chair in Mathematics in 2007-08, and the eighth holder ten years later in 2017-18.
For more information about this or any of our endowed funds for teaching excellence, please contact Karyn Vella, Assistant Head for External Affairs.