Doug Sharp retires after 47 years of service


Courtesy of Doug Sharp

After 47 years of service, Doug Sharp is retiring and looking forward to spending more time with his wife, dogs and cats.

Rahul Rupani, Business Manager

Doug Sharp indirectly played a crucial support role in Wes Anderson’s (‘89) breakout film Rushmore, which was filmed in 1998 on campus. In the movie’s opening dream sequence, a student asks his teacher about an extra credit math problem written on the board, and the teacher calls it “probably the hardest geometry equation in the world.” That equation was concocted by Sharp. 

After 47 years of service, Sharp will retire at the end of May. During his career at SJS, Sharp taught almost every Upper School mathematics course including AP Calculus AB and BC, as well as AP Statistics and AP Microeconomics. He currently teaches AP Calculus BC (3D) and precalculus.

Born in Austin, Sharp grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas, and attended Texas A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Mathematics in 1967 and a Master’s in Mathematics in 1970, before getting a Doctorate in Education from LaSalle University in 1994. After finishing higher education at age 27, Sharp found his life’s passion in the classroom.

He’s just a one of a kind. He’s unapologetically himself, and I really respect that about him.

— Abby Walker

Sharp coached JV football from 1975 to 1995 and varsity  from 1996 to 2015. Sharp also chaired the Mathematics Department from 1980 to 1993. In 2018, Sharp received the Lamp of Knowledge Award, which honors an impactful faculty member chosen by alumni.

“I always look forward to his class because he is such a joyful person,” said junior Sophia Groen, one of Sharp’s precalculus students. “It’s a very wonderful class for me because it is always a period where I can relax and have fun. He has been a great teacher and mentor to have in my life.”

Martha Childress, the current Mathematics Department Chair, was hired when Sharp was Department Chair nearly 40 years ago. According to Childress, Sharp has served as a mentor for generations of  faculty members.

He continues to be the voice of reason and experience, a voice in which student learning is the top priority,” Childress said. “Dr. Sharp has always been a wonderful resource for all of us who have grown up during his tenure.”

Sharp also hired and guided math teacher Kimm Shafer whose husband Eric (‘89) was taught by Sharp. 

“On several occasions [he] dropped what he was working on to help me with a math question,” Shafer said. “He always made me feel like my questions and concerns were the most important thing at that moment.”

Sharp often merges math lectures with personal stories and life lessons. One of his precalculus assignments featured Winkie the Family Panther, one of Sharp’s 19 cats. 

“The class vibe is just so positive,” Groen said. “Everyone is so happy to have him as a teacher and glad that he is so invested in teaching our class.”

Sharp’s pets and his life advice have made his class more enjoyable and entertaining. Abby Walker, a precalculus student, shared her favorite Sharp saying: “One thing you have never heard me say is that I’m wrong—can’t do it. On the other hand, maybe I never was wrong; did you ever consider that for a single second?”

“He’s just a one of a kind,” Walker said. “He’s unapologetically himself, and I really respect that about him.”