HomeEditors' PicksLongtime CHS science teacher to embark on retirement in June

Longtime CHS science teacher to embark on retirement in June

Published May 10, 2024

BY AVERY PALSHAW

After contributing 13 years of teaching at CHS and 35 years in education, admired Carmel High School science teacher Tom Dooner is set to retire with many future ambitions to come.

A true “jack of all trades,” Dooner has taught a plethora of courses throughout his extended career, including AP Biology, Earth Science, General Science, Physical Science, Life Science, Conceptual Physics, Economics, Civics, Senior English, Algebra 1, AP European History, American History, World History, Ancient History, Geography and even Independent Studies. As for the 2023-24 school year, Dooner has been teaching solely science classes, and the dedicated teacher says that while he is looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his life, he will immensely miss the community at CHS.

Upon retiring, CHS science teacher Tom Dooner looks forward to spending more time with his family, but will miss the high school’s academic atmosphere. (photo by KEIRA CRANSTON)

“What I’m going to miss most is a very collegial staff with a lot of camaraderie and a student body that is unlike any I’ve ever encountered in terms of their willingness to learn, their focus on being academically successful and their politeness,” Dooner says. 

CHS staff note Dooner’s reliability and display of leadership at CHS, whether that has been seen in a class laboratory experiment, in his interactions with his colleagues or in his seven years coaching girls’ basketball at CHS, a program he says he hopes will flourish in the future.

“Mr. Dooner has always been a veteran who’s willing to step forward and take on responsibilities, but also take on issues that come up in the day-to-day workings of the school,” says CHS math teacher Kurt Grahl. 

Aside from his remarkable dependability, Dooner’s distinct personality remains one of his most noteworthy qualities among CHS staff and students. 

“The biggest thing I’m going to miss is his great, dry sense of humor,” says senior Grant Xu, a former student of Dooner’s and member of the CHS Biology Club, which Dooner supervises.

The teacher says he has many enjoyable plans to fulfill following his retirement, including finding more time to read good books, taking his two dogs on walks on the beach, spending time with his wife, Alena, and three daughters–Ariel, Mackenzie and Ailis–as well as advancing his skills in speaking Irish, in which he currently takes two online courses. Dooner’s ultimate goal, however, is to devote more time to being outdoors. 

“When my children were younger, I spent a lot of time outdoors, either in state parks, national parks, hiking, camping, backpacking or at the beach,” Dooner says. “From when they were adolescents on to now, I feel like that’s been relatively absent from my life, so the main thing I want to do is get back outside and get back to doing physical [activities] in nature.”

Dooner’s first adventure after retiring will be a trip with his wife and daughter Mackenzie to London, Edinburgh and Dublin.

After the longtime teacher sets off to retire, Dooner expresses his hope for the CHS science department to continue to thrive.

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