Grew up in an inner city housing project Clarksdale in East Louisville
Trinity High School Graduate
Work 16 years as an administrator
Bellarmine graduate and masters and certification at Spalding University Master
Principle at Eminence Elementary 13 years
Company owner of food vendor stands at south wing of food court by the commercial exhibits at Kentucky State Fair
Why did you go into education?
I always wanted to. You have that special teacher somewhere along the way and I had a couple. I knew early on in my life, by high school, that I wanted to somehow work with kids. I thought of a lot of different areas to go into: pediatric medicine, a police officer working with crimes against children, my mom wasn’t too happy about that last one.
I decided I wanted to go into education and work with kids all the time. When I went into college, I almost knew for certain what I wanted to do. This is my 13th year at Eminence. I’m the youngest of four kids and my mom and dad always pushed that we would succeed.
When I got out of undergraduate school, I went to work for the Archdiocese of Louisville as a middle school language arts teacher. I did that position for 3 years. You meet people who, once again, make great influences on you. I had a tremendous principal, Evelyn Kalbhin, that I worked for and she started telling me my 2nd year that I was going to be a principal. By the time of my third year of teaching, she shoved me out the door.
I didn’t know if I was ready. I was young and stupid. I got hired as the youngest administer ever hired by the Archdiocese of Louisville at a school on Dixie Highway. I thought I knew everything there was to know about everything. It turned out I knew nothing about everything. I shifted schools and dynamics then and went to a school at the east end. Michael Franken from OVEC called me and wanted me to interview for this job. I was so impressed when I came out for the interview.
The difference here is the K-12 setting. It is unique. The older kids are never told they have to do anything around or about the younger kids. They stop and hold the doors (for the younger kids) or pick up a book. The grade span mingles together and it is just incredible. They have respect for the younger students. They are never told that. The bigger part of that is that they were once those young students too and were treated well by the older students. I’ve told many people in different arenas and settings that is the difference. This is hometown USA.
What do you do for fun?
I love to travel. I don’t get to do it as much as I would like. Usually when I get to travel, I get to see my grandkids. My very favorite place to go is Disneyworld. I don’t know why and can’t explain why. I always have been. I probably know more about Disney than most people. I paralleled him in cartoons—growing up. I love cruises. I love that kind of travel. I think there is so much to see almost within our borders that I am not one to want to travel to Europe. My wife is Italian and her father owned a home for many years in northern Italy. I liked to go to Australia and New Zealand one day. I’d like to see Japan and China.
I love to read. I don’t do that as much as I would like to. I like to read factual things about history—how we did things and why we did them. I like that saying, ‘You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t where you’ve been.’ Some people don’t believe that, but I do. I’m not much about reading about war tactics in history, but every commander or general even as far back as Romans and the Greeks went back and studied what happened before them.
I love college athletics. I’m a UK fan. I follow college sports in general. My dad was the biggest UofL fan. We went to the UofL games all of the time. I liked them both. I don’t know when I made the transition.
What do you do out at the Kentucky State Fair?
My father-in-law ran a successful restaurant in Richwood on Shelbyville Road Trattoria Mattei. Thirty-nine years ago, he suggested we should have a stand at the Kentucky State Fair. We eventually had a stand inside of the food court. It was horrible with long hours.
I bought out my brother-in-lawn in 2004 -2005.My contract says that I have 11 or 12 food vendor stands, but I have consolidated the real estate inside. The stands are like little buildings in the south wing of the food court.
My brother-in-law is out there right now with a crew of people setting it up. I couldn’t do it without him. We basically have portable kitchens. If you go out there, you might see me making funnel cakes. Everything must be portable. We basically build kitchens from scratch. We build the buildings, the plumbing and all the equipment. It is quite a big operation.
What is one of your proudest moments?
I think one of my proudest moments, as a parent, is seeing my last child graduate from college. I was proud of all three of children of graduating, but seeing all three of them get through college knowing I had done my duty. It makes you proud.
Funny story as an educator?
I have a book full of them. I write them down. Here’s my favorite: I won’t mention any last names. The first name is Daryl.
One of my things I am passionate about is visibility and being with the kids. My mentor, who pushed me out when I was young and stupid, told me many years ago when I invited her for lunch when I became a principal, that she didn’t have time and that I didn’t have time to see her at lunch. They only eat lunch once a day and we could meet anytime. She said I needed to be with my students in the cafeteria where I would learn more about them.
So I am doing cafeteria and I walked by Daryl and I look at him. I came back by Daryl again and they were serving those flat sugar cookies with the hole in the middle. Daryl had three cookies and he had eaten all the cookies except around the hole. It was laying on his plate. I said, ‘Daryl how you doing today? You didn’t finish all of your cookies.’ He looked at me dead serious and said, ‘Mr. Doran I don’t like the holes.’ I said, ‘You don’t like the holes?’. He was in the 2nd grade and I told him he was going to be in my book.