Bill Dobson Retires after Two Decades of Teaching

The math teacher has retired after 19 years of teaching at West Potomac.


Staff Photo

Mr. Dobson retires after 20 years of teaching.

After two decades of teaching in Fairfax County Public Schools, West Potomac’s beloved math teacher Bill Dobson retired mid December before winter break. Of his 20 years in the county, 19 of them have been dedicated to teaching at West Potomac. He has taught math courses ranging from Algebra 1 to Calculus, but has only ever taught mathematics. Despite his dedication to teaching, however, being a math teacher is only one of Dobson’s many careers.

He began his teaching career in 1972 in the military, teaching human relations seminars for adults. He also taught in community colleges in both the United States and in Germany while in the military. He stayed in the military for 22 years and then retired as an Army major in the Corps of Engineers. This was the end of his career in the military and the beginning of his career in teaching.

Dobson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Bridgeport and his master’s degree from Webster University in Saint Louis. He also has a post master’s certification in secondary education from George Mason.

Overall, he has attended eight different colleges, including the University of Maryland, George Washington University, University of Virginia, Virginia State University, Howard University, and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). He graduated college for the first time in 1969 and then was drafted into the military during the Vietnam War.

Dobson originally planned to become a manager at his family’s trucker business, but admits a little activity called Vietnam [the Vietnam War] “interfered with that.” He ended up working as a manager for his family’s trucking company for seven years. He worked his way through college, working as a manager full time in the day and attending school at night.

When asked about memorable moments at West Potomac, Dobson admitted that his heart attack last year was “kind memorable.” He explained that he has only been away from the school three times in his entire teaching career at WestPo, due to illness, and two of those times he had been admitted to the hospital.

Dobson also mentioned notable yet heartbreaking moments from his time teaching at the school. He revealed he had lost several students, one to a gang shooting and another to suicide. He says he had attended both of their funerals.

He adds that another one of his memorable moments was when one of the graduating classes had put a Volkswagen on top of the old entrance of Quander for their senior prank.

When asked about retirement plans, Dobson says he plans to continue to tutor at night in all the subjects that he taught in his career. He also plans to go back to school to study French and German. He is already fluent in German and speaks limited Spanish and French, but “wants to improve.” He is also considering going back into real estate part-time.

One of Dobson’s most memorable contributions to WestPo was always being the first person at the school in the morning. He was also known for  making coffee for everybody, which he says he had done for 14 years for the 24 people in the school’s’ mathematics department.

For these reasons and countless others, the West Potomac community will greatly miss Mr. Dobson and all of his contributions to our school. The math teacher has been dedicated to educating students at the school for almost 20 years, bringing with him memories from his eventful past and making new ones as well. We wish him the best of luck in retirement and all of his future endeavors.