Dr. Donow, Director
Dr. Donow began to work at Karafin in 1985, and has been here ever since. This is the only school that he has ever worked at. He earned a Ph.D. in education from Walden University in May 2002 and became director of the school in that year. Being a director of a school is different than being a principal and his job as director entails more responsibilities.
Dr. Donow is responsible for more than just the educational aspect of Karafin; he is also responsible for the personnel and financial aspects of keeping Karafin running. One of his many responsibilities is to work with each student’s school district to prepare the contracts and bills for them. He is involved in Karafin’s admission process and gives school tours to potential students. He is responsible for the payroll, school insurance, paying the bills, hiring staff, and firing staff when he believes that is the right thing to do for Karafin. He has the most responsibility, and has the right to create rules for the school; however, when something backfires or goes badly, he is the one to accept the blame.
Dr. Donow enjoys his job. He believes that he has a good relationship with the students and enjoys seeing their progress. Most of the time he enjoys working with the young adults, “Especially when they do what they are supposed to do.” Another reason he enjoys working at Karafin is that every day is different and never boring. When admitting students, he looks for potential and a genuine desire for a good education. The first and the last day of school are his favorite times of the school year.
The most difficult part of Dr. Donow’s job is looking at the big picture and trying to do what is right for Karafin in the long run. When there is an incident at school that requires a consequence he tries to be considerate and fair. As he says, “things are never black and white.” Another difficulty in his job is admitting that someone else’s perspective is better than his own. “No-one likes to admit that they are wrong.”
Dr. Donow is still learning through his own experiences at Karafin. One thing he has learned from working here is that you cannot teach somone something they are not ready to learn. You cannot help someone who does not want to accept help. A lesson that the students at Karafin have taught him is that all of them have something unique and wonderful about them. There are no “good kids” and “bad kids.” There is something special about everyone. One time, when he was attempting to get a student to stop doing something that he considered bad for that student, the student told him that he did not know him so how could he tell him not to do this. Dr. Donow admits that the student was right, he did not know him. That particular student taught him that you have to know the person you are dealing with and what is important to that person in order to help someone.
Dr. Donow has worked at Karafin for almost thirty years. Over those years he has watched and helped Karafin evolve. “The issues of today are different from those of fifteen years ago,” he says. Security at the school has been heightened since 9/11 and the recent episodes of school shootings. Karafin used to be less rigorous academically and more concentrated on the emotional issues of its students. Changes in requirements for graduation have required greater focus on academics while the school has maintained its commitment to the total development of the individual student. One thing that has changed at Karafin over the years is technology. It has been upgraded regularly and is current. This is something the students certainly appreciate and enjoy.
Dr. Donow believes that in the past few years the students at Karafin have become more involved with the school. Karafin has become a true community and the students have pride in their school. It is certain that Karafin will continue to evolve in the years to come, but we can be confident that any changes made to the school will be positive and the school will continue to give all the students who walk through Karafin’s doors a quality education.