Baugher takes a bow

Katherine Baugher retires after 48 years

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






First hired in 1971, Mrs. Katherine Baugher spent every day of her astounding 48-year teaching career touching the lives of students through her theater program at Midlothian High School. Following this school year, she will gracefully enter retirement. Baugher continuously delivered outstanding theatrical productions, ranging from classics, such as Chicago and The Wizard of Oz, to newer pieces, such as: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and 21 Chump Street. Her impact is immeasurable, as former students, whom she calls “the ancestors,” frequently stop by rehearsals to chat with their favorite director. 

Senior Michael Rowe, who has participated in Midlo’s theater program since freshman year, shares, “[She’s] the most influential teacher and one of my best friends.” It isn’t just in after school rehearsals that Baugher influences; in class, students constantly face unique prompts on which to base theater, such as a student favorite: “When Darkness Falls.” During this exercise, she prompts students to create a theater piece in complete darkness, using only light sources brought from home. Other unique prompts include: poems, scripts from plays, and a pieces based on music.

Mrs. Baugher not only challenges students, but also herself. Garrett Redden, Midlothian Class of 2018, reflects on Baugher’s dedication, explaining that she is “always willing to spend extra time to do something right.” Her vast capacity to reinvent and stretch creativity while nurturing her students has created a wildly popular and successful theater program at Midlothian High School that not only impacts the school, but the Midlothian community at large. Sophomore Molly Jarvis found her place in the department, as Baugher “gave [her] the home that [she] knew could be found at Midlothian.” Thinking back on his time under the tutelage of Baugher, Drew Duren acknowledges the “personal relationship she has with every student that is so particular that it allows her to know precisely how to help and guide each individual student.” Katherine Baugher’s influence on Midlothian High School will reverberate for years to come.

In the future, Baugher plans to “spend a lot more time with Steven Baugher,” adding that the couple will “spend a lot more time in places we like to go.” She adds, ” It’s my hope to do some directing out and about, maybe pick up an occasional class so I can work with young folk. I have this need in me to create.” She will miss “the people. The kids. Having the opportunity to collaborate with [them] to make theater and watching the kids get excited about making theater,” and wants to leave this message to her students: “Keep finding joy in making theater.” 

More FANS OF BAUGHER share their recollections and well wishes: 

“Ms. Baugher is Midlo; Midlo is Ms. Baugher.  They go together like peanut butter and jelly.  It is incredibly hard to imagine our next school year without Ms. Baugher leading the way in the Theater Department.  While she certainly teaches her subject as well as anyone, her true gift is her ability to build positive, incredibly strong, relationships with ALL her students (of significantly varying abilities).  She is an inspiration to all of us in education.” -Midlothian High Principal, Dr. Shawn Abel

“It’s hard to imagine a Midlo without Ms. Baugher.  Her heart, spirit, and passion are infectious. She will be truly missed.” -Mrs. Elizabeth Baber, Midlothian High Associate Principal

Before the school renovation when the Theatre classes used to borrow the old Band Room, I had the privilege of sitting in my office and observing her classes.  I love watching her teach. Everything she does with the students is intended to form relationships with the students and establishing the students’ ownership in their craft.  It doesn’t take long to get to the point where her students would walk through fire for her, and because of that, they challenge themselves and stretch themselves in ways they would not have thought possible.  In an environment where standardized alphabet soup testing forces us to worry about “right answers” and stuffing information into their brains, I hope I’m able to inspire the students to stretch themselves and push their limits half as much as what Baugher does with her students.” –Mr. Gordon Rawls, Midlothian High Band Director

“I can’t even put into words what a friend, colleague, and sounding board Katherine has been to me. What a gifted educator!” –Mrs. Michelle Graham, former Midlothian High Choral Director

“Perhaps what we all crave most in the world is to be seen for who we are, acknowledged and valued. It is this gift that Katherine Baugher has bestowed on her students from the very start of her career.  Never one to be content merely relaying her knowledge to others, she has a keen ability to teach and a warm and generous heart that makes it possible for those in her midst to tap into and develop that which makes each of us unique. She has known all along that it is far better to teach her students how to learn than to merely provide them with information. Her students and others will remark about how special her department is, and always has been, and the reason for this is Baugher herself. She creates a safe environment where expression is encouraged and dignity and respect are mandated. Besides creating memorable theatre, Katherine has helped an innumerable number of her students navigate the treacherous waters that accompany teenage years. I am, in part, who I am because of the guidance and support of Katherine Baugher.” –John Fechino Jr., Class of 1980

“Katherine graciously welcomed my Latin 4 class to her theater class last week Friday in order to do a run-through of the play we have been working on this year in order for my students to get feedback before their actual performance. Her students gave incredibly constructive and honest feedback that showed they have been trained well and own their knowledge of theater techniques. She also kindly allowed me to sit in on rehearsals this year to see how she works her magic with students so that I could better prepare my own. I was blown away at the first rehearsal I attended when she gave the cast a suggestion and told them to try it again. Their response was a choral, “Thank you for the opportunity,” and they went right into position and implemented her suggestions. However, she doesn’t just tell students what to do to improve, she also is a big proponent of having the students be the ones who call the shots. I asked several of her students what makes her such a great teacher and they all talked not only about her high expectations for them but also how much she lets them take creative control. She is very open to their suggestions and gives them the responsibility of seeing their ideas to fruition. This produces heavily invested and truly committed students and amazing performances.” –Mrs. Amy Petersen, Midlothian World Languages Department

“Five years ago, Mrs. Baugher taught the first group of students from the new SOL Autism Program and welcomed them with open arms.  I don’t know if she was concerned or not, but she definitely didn’t show it if she was. She asked me a question now and then just to make sure all was well, but she took these students on with sensitivity, fairness and her usual spunk.  I originally thought that Theater wouldn’t work out well for our students. After all, lots of peer interaction, speaking and performing in front of others, just didn’t seem like a good match for our students on the autism spectrum. I couldn’t have been more wrong!  Mrs. Baugher made it a wonderful match for our students. Somewhat structured interactions with peers that still allowed for creativity worked well. Mrs. Baugher made it safe and fun, and for students experiencing high levels of anxiety and who often feel that school is the opposite of fun, this was a very good thing.  Mrs. Baugher, it isn’t any teacher who could turn Theater class into the most highly requested elective in a program for students with Aspergers/high-cognitive autism. You did that with your special kind of magic. We are grateful to you; we have always appreciated you, and we will greatly miss you! Best to you on this new adventure!  Much love, the SOL Autism Program teachers and staff.” –Mrs. Beth Beckman, Autism Catchment Program

“Obviously, Baugher is a Midlo  institution. I attended MHS as a student from 2000-2003. I was never “theatrically inclined” myself, but I was always impressed with the level of commitment and passion she and her students poured into each show. Now as a teacher, I am even more impressed with what she does to inspire, challenge, and unite each student involved in every production and theater class. You don’t have to be on the inside to see that she truly creates a family where every student is able to shine.” –Mrs. Blair Abrahamson, Midlo English Department

Thank you for the wonderful memories and rewarding times with Oliver and Grease, Mrs. Baugher!! My daughters have each participated in and known the wonderment hat is high school theater because of your marvelous influence on me. Thank you from the bottom of your heart for your effort and dedication. It is educators like you that positively impact the lives of your students and beyond. You are appreciated more than you could know! Wishing you a lovely and blessed retirement!!” –Carol Thomas Stroupe

“Oh so much love to one incredible educator. What a legacy she leaves…”Mrs. Missy Hill, former Midlo Dean of Students and current Cosby Assistant Principal

Katherine Baugher’s Midlo Productions

21 Chump Street

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Aida

Alice in Wonderland

Amadeus

Auntie Mame

Baby with the Bathwater

Barefoot in the Park

Barnum

Beowulf

Big River

Blithe Spirit

Camelot

Celtic Festival

Charlotte’s Web

Cheaper by the Dozen

Cheerios to Wedding Bands

Chicago

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged

The Crucible

The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time

Cyrano de Bergerac

Dear Finder

The Diary of Anne Frank

The Doctor in Spite of Himself

Duct Tape!?!

Enchanted

Equus

The Farnsworth Invention

Fiddler on the Roof

Flowers for Algernon

Foolin’ Around with Infinity

For Whom the Bells Tolls

Funny Girl

Gioconda Smile

God

Godspell

Good Morning, Miss Dove

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grass Harp

Grease

Greater Tuna

Greek Festival

Hamlet

The Haunting of Hill House

The Hobbit

Imagining Shakespeare

Indians

Inherit the Wind

J.B.

James and the Giant Peach

Jesus Christ Superstar

To Kill a Mockingbird

The King and I

Les Miserables

Macbeth

Mame

A Man for All Seasons

Man of La Mancha

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Mary Poppins

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Moves Me

Much Ado About Nothing

My Fair Lady

Neil Simon Comedy Trio

The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail

A New Musical

The Odyssey

Offending Shadows

Oklahoma

Oliver

Once on This Island

Our Town

Paint Your Wagon

Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter Pan

Phantasmagoria

The Phantom of the Opera

Photo Finish

The Pirates of Penzance

Play It Again, Sam

The Prisoner of Second Avenue

Private Lives

Romeo and Juliet

The Royal Hunt of the Sun

The Secret in the Wings

Shipwrecked

The Skin of Our Teeth

The Sound of Music

South Pacific

Shipwrecked

Spamalot

Steel Magnolias

A Streetcar Named Desire

Sweeney Todd

The Taming of the Shrew

Ten November

Treasure Island

Tudor Festival

Twelfth Night

Under Milk Wood

Up the Down Staircase

The Bonfire of the Vanities Chapter Two

Violence Peace

West Side Story

The Wiz

The Wizard of Oz

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown