Mr. James Steps Down from 43-Year Tenure as Faculty

Photo courtesy of The Archives

Mr. James leads an English class discussion.

Mr. Doug James is retiring this academic year after forty-three years of commitment to the Choate Community. Mr. James was born and raised in Syracuse, New York. He attended a public school in Syracuse, and from there he went to Princeton University, where he majored in Political Science. During his years as a Princeton Student, Mr. James played for the football team. Mr. James recalled that they stopped to practice at Choate on one of their away game at Dartmouth University. He said, “My first impression of Choate was ‘wow.’ It was beautiful.”

After graduating from Princeton University in 1967, he continued his studies at University of Pennsylvania Law School. However, about a year at University of Pennsylvania, Mr. James took a leave of absence and started to teach. “I went to a law school because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. But when I got the opportunity to be a teacher, it seemed like the most exciting and interesting things were books and literature.” He later received his graduate degree at Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, and has completed several poetry courses at Wesleyan and Yale.

Mr. James has been an important member of the English department since 1974. Mr. David Loeb said, “Mr. James is the sort of combination of parent, teacher, and coach that I myself aspire to be.” Mr. James has taught a huge variety English Electives throughout his Choate career from What Makes Woody Allen and Steve Martin Fun? to Famous 20th century novels. Mr. James reflected, “I have taught these courses happily and luckily every year for a long time. The small classes at Choate allow students to interact with one another and reflect upon themselves, and I enjoy seeing the growth of each student throughout their years at Choate.”

Not only has Mr. James contributed tremendously to the English Department, but also the Athletic Department. He was the Head Coach of Choate Football for a total of 12 years from 1973 to 1980 and again from 2003 to 2007.  After multiple years of coaching football, he started coaching varsity baseball, and is now titled Head Baseball Coach.

Prior to becoming a football coach and English teacher at Choate, Mr. James worked at Princeton University for three years as a full-time football and baseball coach. From there, he taught English and continued to coach at The Lawrenceville school for two years.

Four of Mr. James’ children, Carrie Lightner ’91, Caty Everett ’94, WIll James ’97, Jack Bohen ’15, have graduated from Choate, and two, Lily James ’17 and Grady Bohen ’19 are currently attending Choate. Mr. James said, “What is so special about Choate is the incredible community, but also the luxury of having so many spectacular teachers working with my own six children in classrooms, on stage, and in the fields.” He concluded, “I will never leave Choate. I will always feel like I am part of the school no matter where I am because of the wonderful community.”

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