Doug Marr, one of the most accomplished education leaders of his generation, has died aged 76.
He was credited with raising both academic standards at St Machar Academy, Aberdeen, as well as the self esteem of pupils, staff and the wider community.
Doug, who had previously been depute headteacher at The Gordon Schools, Huntly, went on to become rector at Banchory Academy after his time at St Machar.
Together with his colleague and friend, Tim McKay, Doug later took on a six-month secondment at Fraserburgh Academy to provide support and a fresh direction.
In 2001, three years before leaving his headteacher post, Doug was awarded a CBE for his contribution to education, receiving his award in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Advisor and columnist
Doug went on to become a curriculum advisor to Aberdeenshire Council, a senior teaching fellow for Aberdeen University and an inspector of schools. He was also a frequent columnist for The Herald newspaper.
Douglas Marr was born in Cotton Street, Aberdeen, on February 7 1947, the only son of Evelyn and Douglas Marr.
In 1951 the family moved into a brand-new council house on North Anderson Drive and Doug started his schooling at nearby Smithfield Primary.
He excelled academically, passing his 11-plus examination, giving him the opportunity to attend Aberdeen Grammar School.
During his time in secondary school he was introduced to rugby and fell in love with the game. He played for the 1st XV and, after leaving school, more than 200 times for the school’s FPs.
His academic passion was history and he quickly fell under the influence of principal teacher, Arthur McCombie, and his teachings in the subject.
This love of the past, coupled with such a positive school experience led Doug in one direction; to study history at Aberdeen University and become a teacher himself.
Having gained his honours degree and a post-graduate certificate in education, he began his first job at Hilton Academy.
Head of department
Doug quickly progressed and found himself back at Aberdeen Grammar School under the guidance of his former teacher and mentor, Arthur McCombie, and promotion to assistant principal teacher of history followed.
He secured his first senior leadership role as assistant headteacher at the new Kemnay Academy, a role he combined with gaining his Master of Education (First Class) from Aberdeen University.
It was also at Kemnay that he met his future wife, Alison, who was also working at the school; a marriage that was treasured by them both for 33 happy years.
His friend and colleague, Tim McKay, said: “Doug was a critical thinker, passionate about leadership with the emotional intelligence to make a difference where it mattered most – to the pupils under his care.”
Head of Hilton Academy
In a short time, he was promoted to depute headteacher at The Gordon Schools, Huntly, followed swiftly by the top job, right back where he started, at Hilton Academy.
However, this was to be no cushy number as just six months later it was announced that Hilton Academy was to merge with its neighbouring Powis Academy under the new title of St Machar Academy.
Many challenges lay ahead and it proved to be the busiest, yet most rewarding period of Doug’s career.
He accomplished huge success at St Machar Academy, improving academic performance, raising standards of achievement and most importantly giving pupils and the community a sense of pride in their school.
Honoured by Queen
He was appointed to his final headteacher post at Banchory Academy and it was during his tenure there that he was recognised for his unrelenting services to education with the award of the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2001.
Beyond school life, Doug and Alison had many common interests and loves. They enjoyed bagging Munros, and took numerous holidays, from Alaskan cruises to South African safari adventures.
Doug was a season ticket holder at Pittodrie, continued to follow rugby and enjoyed many summer trips to England to follow cricket. He was also a great fan of Bob Dylan.
His private funeral took place at Monymusk Church on Tuesday 14 November.
You can read the family’s announcement here.