DGN: family-friendly confines


Tabitha Irvin

DROPPING BEATS: Brayer Teague assists his daughter, Emery, in class.

Maggie Ward, Editor-in-Chief

For most students, school is an escape. An escape from family drama, annoying siblings, and nosy parents. But for some, their parental grasp does not end when they walk through the doors of DGN. Whether they are teachers, aids, or substitutes, the family connection at DGN is ap-parent. 

Many students who have a parent in the building have had them for teachers, and for the most part, the teacher-child relationship within the school has actually had a positive impact on the students day-to-day. 

Matching students and teachers

The scheduling process begins early for the Associate Principal for Curriculum & Instruction, Ryan Doherty. As early as January before the next school year, Doherty sends out questionnaires of potential classes each student wishes to take for each subject.

 “I don’t know if students realize how important it is and how many decisions I make based on their requests in the winter… I hire staff or don’t hire staff based on [their responses],” Doherty said. 

 The responses of those questionnaires decide how the district chooses to hire staff, plan periods, and assign teachers. 

Doherty is in charge of configuring the puzzle of each and every student’s schedule, which occasionally includes the matchup of a parent and child or siblings in the same class.

“I would typically say that it is rare, but I don’t think I would ever place a student in a class if the parent requested their student,” Doherty said. On the flip side, “I have moved students because their teachers have requested not to have [their child in class].” 

There is an exception to Doherty’s schedule planning: his niece. Since she is also enrolled at DGN, he does not manage her schedule specifically to demonstrate the fairness of schedule construction. 

Although student placement is random, some of the parent-child matchups are unavoidable due to the lack of students or teachers who take the class. 

For example, math teacher Joann Purcell is one of two AP Stats teachers in the building. Her daughter, senior Leah Purcell, was matched into her class when she enrolled in the AP Stats course. 


Leah Purcell enjoys having her mom as her teacher, not just once but twice so far in her high school career. Leah is two years ahead in math considering that her mom taught her the Math 1 curriculum before 8th grade. 

With so much time spent around each other in a learning environment, teaching and learning have become easier for both of them. 

“I like it, although it was strange at first.  I don’t feel the need to check on her because I know how her brain works. I also like seeing her in a different environment because she is not what I expected in the classroom,” Joann Purcell said. 

Leah admits there are benefits to having a parent as your teacher including the extra help, quick test results, and of course, the math department drama.

“I actually love having my mom at school with me. As a kid I always thought I was going to hate it but, just having her around in case I need something is really nice. Also, I get to see my schedule and my friend’s schedules before everyone else, if I ever need to go home during the day she can just write me a pass, and I love that I get to be friends with a bunch of teachers,” Leah said. “Overall, I think it has definitely made my high school experience better and she is one of my favorite teachers this year.”


Social Studies John Wander has taught a variety of courses at DGN for the past 30 years. That being said, the halls of DGN have been the stomping grounds for his sons senior Nick Wander and junior Jake Wander their whole lives. 

“He talks about me and my brother to his students so it’s not like we’re unknown. It’s just normal, we grew up here pretty much,” Nick said.

Last year, Nick took Contemporary American Issues with his father. This year, Jake has his dad for U.S. History.

There is no special treatment given out to the Wander sons by their father; if anything, their family connection only allows for more jokes and insults thrown their way.

“I get along with most kids, sometimes outside kids more because they don’t have to live with me,” John said. 

The boys enjoy having him in the building because of his loud and energetic personality. However, it’s not always fun and games for the family at school. 

“[It’s more difficult] when there’s a traumatic experience or something of that nature and you have to do your job and at the same time be a dad,” John said.

Despite the fine-line between teacher and father, John believes the weirdest feeling of all is when Nick and Jake “call me ‘dad’ instead of ‘Wander.’”


Jim Haack is not just a teacher and a father to his son, Max Haack, but a coach as well. Max plays on the varsity basketball team for which his dad is the assistant varsity coach.

When Max signed up to take Advanced Team Sports this year, it was no coincidence that his dad would be his teacher, as he is the only instructor for that course. 

“My only concern was the head-butting between him and me because he’s very competitive and I’m very competitive. I’m refereeing games he’s playing in, but it’s been really outstanding. He loves it,” Jim Haack said. 

Competitiveness runs in the family as Max has played basketball the majority of his life. Nevertheless, the two still face internal challenges when it comes to the player and coach dynamic. 

“It adds pressure if I play bad because people will look at me differently or say that I only made [the team] because of him. [However], I do enjoy having the relationship because it is a bond my dad and I have had since I was little,” Max said. 

Haack’s son has moved through the entire boy’s basketball program, now debuting at the varsity level for his junior year. Regardless of the success Max has on the court, coach Haack still considers the comments made about him. 

“It’ll always be in the back of my mind that somebody in the stands is going to be like ‘oh, that’s his son’…It’s just who I am,” Haack said.

Still, the father-son relationship is cherished between the both of them. Their special relationship on the court, in the gym, and at home will only be present for the next two years; for now, they take advantage of this opportunity. 

“It is awesome because it’s not something that anyone else does. If you’re a lawyer or doctor you don’t get to see your kid during the day,” Coach Haack said. “It’s a limited time frame where they are with you and now he’s a year away from going to college and pretty soon that whole journey is over.”


Band Director Brayer Teague has had the pleasure of teaching both of his children during his… years at North. Myles Teague was a 2020 graduate who played french horn in the wind ensemble. His sister, Emery Teague, is a senior percussionist in the wind ensemble. 

Mr. Teague is a co-director of the Band Class, one of the largest classes held at DGN, so there lacks a lot of personal interaction between him and Emery specifically. Still, she enjoys the perks of having her dad in the building. 

“It’s nice to know that if I’m having some sort of emergency there’s someone in the building I know I can go to,” Emery said.” Some people might be embarrassed or ignore their parents if they saw them at school, but I greet mine around the building with a friendly ‘hello’ just like I would with any other teacher.”

Her dad hardly offers her any musical advice when she is practicing at home but is a great help if she needs it. In fact, Emery appreciates the father-teacher balance.“I don’t practice that much, and luckily he’s never upset about that.”