School News
Paris ISD to honor distinguished graduates
By Jeanne Kraft, Public Information Officer, Paris ISD
Sep 4, 2019
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Paris, Texas -- Former Paris High School students Col. Marshall K Dougherty, Jr. (Class of 1982), and Ford Taylor (Class of 1975) have been named Distinguished Graduates.  The Distinguished Graduate Award is the highest and most prestigious award the District can bestow on its graduates.  Their portraits will be displayed on the Wall of Honor at Paris High School in conjunction with Homecoming 2019 ceremonies on Friday, Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the Paris High School Commons Area. They will be presented to the PHS student body during the Homecoming pep rally at 3 p.m.

Col. Dougherty was born in Dallas and raised in Paris, Texas, where he graduated from Paris High School in 1982. He earned a Civil Engineering degree at Texas A&M University and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army in May 1986. He served in the Texas Army National Guard as a tank platoon leader until reporting for active duty in November 1987.

After a short tour in Fort Knox, Kentucky, he moved to West Germany where he led platoons responsible for patrolling the border between West and East Germany. While there, he supported Desert Storm and he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Upon returning to the states, he served in Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Fort Hood, Texas.

Col. Marshall K Dougherty, Jr. (Class of 1982)

In 1997, COL Dougherty earned a Master’s Degree in Economics & Operations Research from the Colorado School of Mines. Following graduate school, he served as a War Plans Analyst for the United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. There, he contributed to our nuclear war plans to deter strategic attack on our Nation. Upon graduation from Command and General Staff Officer’s College, COL Dougherty was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Polk, Louisiana. Shortly after arriving, the United States was attacked by foreign terrorists on September 11th, forever changing the landscape of protecting our country. COL Dougherty deployed with 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment during its sixteen-month combat tour in Iraq, where he was awarded for valor. Fighting throughout the invasion, Baghdad, and Sadr City, the 2nd Cav was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations, the highest unit recognition our Nation bestows for “…extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy.”

COL Dougherty took command of 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry in January 2005 in Fort Lewis, Washington, as the Regiment began its transformation into a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He led the Squadron during its fifteen-month tour in Iraq as part of the "Surge," for which the unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and he was again awarded for valor in combat.

After graduation from the Army War College, Col Dougherty took command of the 316th Cavalry Brigade. Through a large-scale change management operation, he moved the unit from Fort Knox, Kentucky, to Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of the transformation to the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The Brigade was responsible for training all Army Tankers, Cavalry, and Reconnaissance leaders. From June 2012 through July 2014, COL Dougherty served as the Chief of Staff for 2nd Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea, and returned to Kansas to assume duties as the Defense Coordinating Officer for FEMA Region VII–spanning four states – in August 2014. In this role, he coordinated lifesaving support to citizens during several natural disasters, to include historic Hurricane Harvey.

Upon retirement from the Army in December 2017 in Kansas City, Marshall co-founded Target Hill Capital, and enjoys building start-up software companies.

Col. Dougherty is married to the former Tracy Morrison of Georgetown, Texas. They have enjoyed an adventurous Army life together for more than 30 years. Two amazing daughters shared the adventure with them: Kathrine lives with her husband, Rodrigo, in Dallas, where she attends SMU Law School, and Victoria attends the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Jerry Ford Taylor was born April 21, 1957 to Charles and Jackie Taylor.  He grew up in Paris and graduated from Paris High School in 1975. Taylor received a BBA in Business Management from Texas A&M University (TAMU).  Upon graduation, he went to work as the manager of a sporting goods store in College Station.

Taylor and his wife, Sandra, taught country western dance lessons to thousands of students from 1979 to 1995 through community education classes offered by TAMU. In 1982, the Taylors bought a struggling screen printing company, C. C. Creations.  The company grew and the Taylors sold a portion of the company to an investment banking company and became part of Brazos Sportswear. Eventually, Taylor became the CEO, acquired several other companies and became one of the largest screen printing and embroidery companies in the United States.

Taylor was named Small Business Person of the Year in 1993 for the State of Texas as well as for the five-state region. He was also in the top 10 small business people in the United States.

Ford Taylor (Class of 1975)

In 1998, Taylor left Brazos Sportswear to become a leadership consultant. He worked for Great American Insurance Company as a Senior Vice President for two years and feeling called to the ministry, began taking seminary classes at Cincinnati Christian University. Taylor became an ordained minister in 2002.

Taylor was the co-founder of Transformation Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky, an organization with the mission statement “For God’s people, businesses, churches, government, and schools to be united through prayer, plans and actions to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout this city, region, and country.”  Taylor is the founder of FSH Consulting Group and “Transformational Leadership” training, which provides consulting to businesses and all types of organizations. He created the FSH Foundation where he and other team members travel to developing countries to provide leadership training. Over the last few years, Taylor and his team have provided leadership training in India, the Philippines and several African countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, DRC, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ghana, Botswana, and Nigeria. Training has also expanded to Australia, Germany, and Brazil.

Taylor co-wrote the book, The Hike, which outlines many aspects of his leadership training in a novel. He also published the book Relactional Leadership, which has been an Amazon Best Seller in its category.

A sought after speaker, Taylor has spoken at numerous events (including the 2015 Paris High School Commencement) and on radio and television stations around the country. He attributes much of his success to the education and values he learned while growing up in Paris.  Ford also serves on the boards of several organizations, including Jeff Ruby’s Culinary Entertainment, American Micro Products, Marketplace Leadership, Unashamedly Ethical, and the Jeff Ruby Foundation.

Married to Sandra for 38 years, the couple has three daughters. Whitney lives with her husband, Mark, in New York City where she works in marketing. Emily is an accountant in Indianapolis, and Quincy is a 6th grade math teacher in Dallas ISD.

Portraits of Col. Dougherty and Taylor will be added to the Wall of Honor joining former honorees: Raymond Berry, '50; Trenton Doyle Hancock; ‘92, Deon Minor; ‘91; Gene “Bebes” Stallings, ‘53; Admiral James O. Richardson, 1897 (Posthumous); James Robert (Bob) Biard, '48; Blake Neely, ‘87; Eddie Robinson, ‘38; Leslie Satcher, '80; Charles "Red" Scott, '45 (Posthumous); Linda Bates Leali, ‘65; Dr. Charles R. Baxter, ‘46 (Posthumous); Larry Dean Click, ‘55 (Posthumous); Jay Hunter Morris, ‘81; Dr. Larry “T-Byrd” Gordon, ‘67 (Posthumous); Thomas S. Moore, ‘58; Lewis “Jackrabbit” Smith, 41  (Posthumous); Dr. Charles Sterling, ‘63; Captain J. K. (Jack) Ashmore, ‘47; Sharon Samuels Reed, ‘68; Zach Clifford, ’04; and Dr. Courtney M. Townsend, Jr., ’61.

To nominate a Distinguished Graduate, download the nomination form on the district web site and submit on or before May 1 each year.  

Former Paris ISD students, staff and friends of Paris ISD are invited to attend the Distinguished Graduate Award presentation at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6.  Those who wish to attend should call 903-737-7473 ext. 2328 by Sept. 3 to make table reservations.