Mourning the Passing of Head of School Emeritus Marty Doggett

Mourning the Passing of Head of School Emeritus Marty Doggett

The following letter was shared with The Governor's Academy community on Thursday, March 28. 

I write to share the sad news that Head of School Emeritus John “Marty” Doggett P’04,’07,’08,’08 passed away surrounded by his family on Monday, March 11, at Boston Medical Center. Marty served as The Governor’s Academy’s 27th Head of School.

Marty, Patty, and their five sons moved to Byfield in the summer of 1999 from the Lawrenceville School (New Jersey), where Marty was a beloved member of the community, serving as the dean of students, a history teacher, a dorm parent, and a lacrosse and football coach. As a history teacher, it only made sense that Marty led the oldest boarding school in New England. Each year, his remarks at Baccalaureate were mini-history lessons focused on school traditions. As a former dean of students, creating community was a priority of Marty’s and came naturally to him. Early in his tenure at Govs, he created a full-time director of student activities position, recognizing the importance of having a person dedicated to creating a full weekend of activities for students. In addition to continuing the tradition of opening their home to students on Saturday evenings, Marty and Patty started hosting small gatherings of seniors and faculty at the Mansion House for dinner, a tradition that continues today.

In his time in Byfield, Marty led the Academy into the 21st century through the school’s name change; the construction of the Wilkie Center for the Performing Arts, the Whiston⸱Bragdon Arena, and a new dormitory (later named in his honor); the elevation of the Academy's academic standards; and the diversification of the student body domestically and internationally. During his time at Govs, he remained a dedicated teacher of history and greatly enjoyed teaching a Supreme Court elective, US History, and American Studies. In addition, he prioritized community service by instituting the (senior) Capstone Program each year before Commencement, establishing a program where every student volunteered each year at a soup kitchen in Lawrence, and starting the program of advisory groups assisting in dining hall clean-up. Under Marty, the Catalyst Program began offering students summer internship opportunities to extend their learning beyond the classroom. Also, he was responsible for establishing the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

In their retirement, Marty and Patty celebrated the arrival of grandchildren and treasured time with their family and friends. They were known for their genuine care, kindness, and hospitality; whenever a community member was experiencing trouble or loss, Marty and Patty were always the first to show up. Marty continued to model “not for self but for others,” serving as Chair of the Board of Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, leading numerous committees at Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport, and delivering groceries every Friday for the Newbury Food Pantry. Marty modeled tremendous courage and resiliency in the face of his illness, defying the odds and serving as an inspiration to so many, including other patients at Boston Medical Center.

Marty touched the lives of hundreds of students, employees, and families in his nearly twenty years at the Academy, and he will be deeply missed by so many in the Governor’s community. The faculty and staff members who were fortunate to work with Marty will also forever cherish the caring and supportive environment that he and Patty worked so hard to create on campus. He remained a trusted friend and resource to many faculty, staff, and families, even after he departed from Governor’s. Please keep the Doggett family in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

Marty’s funeral mass will be held on Monday, May 6, at 11:30 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church in Newburyport. A celebration of life will follow at Steeple Hall at Mission Oak Grill. Click here to read his obituary.