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Quincy to try new approach to high schools' athletic director

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  April 23, 2013 04:09 PM

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Quincy Public School administrators have set out to redefine the job of athletic director for the city's two high schools, in an effort to better integrate the role with the student bodies.

According to Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro, there is still much to be sorted about how the job will be split up to fill the vacancy that will be created when Jim Rendle retires from the position at the end of June.

Currently, Rendle works out of both schools, with his primary being the office/call center at Quincy high School.

Yet already there is a vision to split the job between two teachers, one each at Quincy High School and North Quincy High School.

“We’re thinking of different ways we could try to be more connected to our student athletes, teachers, assistant principals, and principals at both high schools,” DeCristofaro said.

The hope is to give a part-time director job to an existing teacher or guidance counselor at each school, who would work their current job through the morning, and switch to the athletic director role in the afternoon.

Because the athletic director role goes beyond the normal school day, those teachers or faculty would be paid their existing salary, plus a $12,000 stipend for their after-school work.

A part-time position would then be hired to replace whatever part of the school day the teacher or guidance councilor would be giving up to take on the additional duties.

“The School Committee is supportive of that to the extent that it works,” DeCristofaro said. “A couple said, ‘That’s fine, but who is going to apply for this?’ I don’t know. Let's see what happens.”

The reconfiguration would have to be net neutral for budgeting purposes, meaning Rendle’s approximate $97,000-a-year salary would have to be split up between stipends for both part-time athletic directors as well as the hiring of part time professionals to step in for whoever takes on the job.

Yet all this is assuming the right people apply for the position. DeCristofaro said he has already heard requests from retired Quincy Public School teachers who may be interested, or someone from outside the school system.

How a contract would be fashioned for those applicants is still up in the air, DeCristofaro said.

The decision will depend largely on who steps forward for the position, which will be posted until mid-May.

“It’s just new, and I think anything new you have to go slow and you have to monitor it and assess as you go,” DeCristofaro said. “And if you [need to] change it, you do. If there are a lot of people that apply, terrific. If no one does, then maybe we’ll have to look at it and structure it in a new way to get the right person.”

Beyond who will apply for the position, questions linger on how the two athletic directors would work together, as scheduling, transportation issues, and middle school programming overlap both schools.

“There are other considerations and other issues that we need to get the right mix or right group or individuals to make sure this works,” DeCristofaro said. “They have to be collaborative. It can’t be 'we’re first, you’re second.' That thinking won’t work.”

Yet the Athletic Advisory Team, which coordinates both middle and high school sports, could provide some oversight to the new arrangement. The superintendent, mayor, and School Committee will also all be keeping an eye to see how the process works.

Even with all that hassle, the benefit of having two athletic directors will far outweigh it, DeCristofaro said, as there will be a person interacting with all levels of each school during the day on an administrative level, who is better able to provide hands on oversight in the afternoons.

“I have confidence that we’ll get two excellent people and will work out all these other issues and considerations with each season with overall communication,” DeCristofaro said.

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