Performing Arts teacher Jim Doughan is also an accomplished actor

There are many examples of talented teachers who are also accomplished actors. One example of this is drama teacher Jim Doughan, who is probably best known for his role as Detective Doyle in the hit movie The Mask (1994). He also delivered notable performances as the voices of Detective Phil Allen and Lucky the Cat in the movie Stuart Little (1999) and as Mr. Pole, the driver’s ed teacher, in the popular TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).

Jim was born James Frances Doughan on August 2, 1959, in Apple Valley, Minnesota. After his graduation from Apple Valley High School, Jim enrolled in the University of Minnesota, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1977. He has taught history, English, and drama at Westridge School in Pasadena, and is currently employed as a performing arts teacher at Harvard Westlake School in Los Angeles.

Jim has donated much of his time as a mentor for student writers, serving as a director for the Harvard Westlake School Playwright’s Workshop. In addition, he has taught at the Summer Intensive Actor’s Workshop sponsored by Harvard Westlake School, and he has conducted a master class in improvisation at the University of Southern California and at Execuprov in Orange County, California.

Theater arts teacher Donald L. Leifert was also a sci fi/horror films actor

7648_7efe4ce15e731268698a14ae125931e5_centerI have often heard it said that there is a certain amount of theatrics involved in teaching. This must be true to some degree, because there are many examples of talented educators who are also successful as actors. One example of this is Donald L. Leifert, Jr., an English and theater instructor who also made a name for himself as a science fiction and horror films actor.

Donald was born on February 27, 1951, in Maryland, the son of Dolores J. and Donald L. Leifert, Sr. During the Viet Nam conflict, Donald served as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Following his stint in the army, he spent two years studying at the Douglas-Webber Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.

Donald worked with indie director Don Dohler in such science fiction and horror film roles as the homicidal ghost in The Galaxy Invader, the contemptible lout Drago in Nightbeast, and the good-for-nothing redneck Frank Custer in The Alien Factor.

When Donald decided to change careers, he accepted a position teaching English and theater arts at the Carver School for the Arts in Baltimore County; English and journalism at Dundalk High and Catonsville High; and English and theater arts at Towson High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Donald was also a published author. He authored his biography, entitle Riggie: A Journey from 5th Street.

This exceptional educator passed away from natural causes at the young age of 59 on October 23, 2010, in Parkland, Maryland. At his passing, this chalkboard champion was remembered fondly by his former students. “He always pushed his students to be their best, because he knew we were capable of it, even when we didn’t,” remembered former student Jennifer Wallace. “He was kind, funny, and stern when he needed to be,” she said. Others agree. “As a senior in high school he would allow me to teach his beginner acting class now and then,” commented former student Jessica Wentling. “He gave to me the love of teaching, a passion that I intend to continue pursuing,” she concluded.