Pub­lic gets say in search for NAHS AD

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By RICK KAUFF­MAN

WEST NOR­RI­TON — The Nor­ris­town Area School Dis­trict held a com­mu­nity open fo­rum on Thurs­day to dis­cuss the va­can­cies within the ath­letic depart­ment, namely and most im­por­tantly at the ath­letic di­rec­tor po­si­tion. What is be­ing billed as an com­pre­hen­sive and trans­par­ent process in find­ing the true suc­ces­sor to the po­si­tion once held by the re­cently de­parted AD, Chuck Knowles, the floor was open to the pub­lic to ex­press their opin­ion in whom the school dis­trict should vote into the po­si­tion.

In ad­di­tion to the va­cancy for ath­letic di­rec­tor, the NASD is cur­rently hop­ing to fill po­si­tions for var­sity girls’ lacrosse, var­sity foot­ball and for the var­sity base­ball. The need for an ath­letic di­rec­tor is ex­pressly ur­gent with the need to fill the var­sity base- ball po­si­tion as the sea­son rapidly ap­proaches.

Led in dis­cus­sion by Nor­ris­town Area Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Janet Sa­muels, she gave the floor to Nor­ris­town grad­u­ates, for­mer and cur­rent ath­letes, coaches,

stu­dents, par­ents and oth­ers with deep roots within the Nor­ris­town com­mu­nity. In all 21 peo­ple spoke with hopes of aid­ing in the process of not only find­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced per­son to fill the po­si­tion, but to find so­lu­tions to the ail­ing ath­letic pro­grams across the board.

“I want a good AD who’s gone through a suc­cess­ful pro­gram at another school,” said Wilmer Cress­man, who has been fol­low­ing Nor­ris­town ath­let­ics since 1940. “He or she must be able to eval­u­ate the coaches … the kids would want to play if they had top-notch pro­grams.”

Cress­man and other in­di­vid­u­als chose to high­light the var­i­ous sports in which Nor­ris­town went win­less or were in the dol­drums of their re­spec­tive leagues for mul­ti­ple sea­sons. Cit­ing both lack of com­mit­ment within the sports and a lack of di­rec­tion from an ad­min­is­tra­tive stand­point, var­i­ous speak­ers view an on­go­ing sys­temic fail­ure that has led to a weak ath­letic pro­grams.

“When I first started play­ing field hockey we had both a JV and a var­sity team; last sea­son we didn’t have any fresh­man try out and we had to cut the JV pro­gram,” said Ea­gles goalie Lauren Whit­ley. “Peo­ple go to Nor­ris­town and chose not to play … and as stu­dent that’s re­ally sad.”

Other speak­ers asked for study ta­bles to help year-long as a sup­port group for stu­dent ath­letes and give them greater op­por­tu­ni­ties to at­tend col­lege.

“We need to help kids suc­ceed aca­dem­i­cally as well as ath­let­i­cally,” one speaker pleaded.

Some were con­cerned with the process in which the school board was go­ing about choos­ing the next can­di­date. While oth­ers ar­gued that the ath­letic di­rec­tor should be found within the com­mu­nity at Nor­ris­town, rather than ar­gu­ing for a top can­di­date who car­ries a long list of ac­com­plish­ments at other large schools.

Leg­endary Nor­ris­town ath­lete Day­mon Car­roll was on site not to give his two cents on a can­di­date, but to ask the com­mu­nity to come to­gether in the re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Nor­ris­town ath­letic pro­gram.

“It’s go­ing to take more than one per­son to make a dif­fer­ence,” Car­roll said. “You can’t just say your opin­ion and then go home, you’ve got to be will­ing to be un­selfish, to think out­side your­self, and to ask ‘how can I help?”

Car­roll said that de­spite liv­ing out­side of Nor­ris­town, he’d be happy to come and of­fer his time for free.

Nor­ris­town bas­ket­ball coach Mike Evans ex­pressed his opin­ion aside from the mi­cro­phone that the process in find­ing an AD should be taken with great care.

“It’s hard to see the kids suf­fer­ing in var­i­ous pro­grams,” Evans said. “But, you can’t rush the process, you need the right per­son, some­one pas­sion­ate about sports who wants to see kids ex­cel. Some­times those sports are all the kids have, and the kids know that you care about them, it’s be­ing a part of some­thing.”

Speak­ing with a sense of pride, those who filled the Nor­ris­town cafe­te­ria were look­ing to the school board for a prom­ise of a con­tin­u­ing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment in turn­ing the pro­gram at NAHS into some­thing suc­cess that re­tains ath­letes rather than shut­tles them off to area pri­vate schools.

“There are too many ath­letes walk­ing the hall who are not on any teams,” said fa­ther Jeff Schools who has three chil­dren in the school dis­trict. “The AD needs to be reach­ing into the com­mu­nity to find kids who want to play.”

Dr. Sa­muels was en­thu­si­as­tic about the in­put and high­lighted the process in which she hopes to find the next ath­letic di­rec­tor.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity to build a stronger pro­gram,” said Dr. Sa­muels, who as­sured a ques­tioner that the next bud­get will open up new op­por­tu­ni­ties for the ath­letic pro­gram at NAHS. “Our goal on the school board is to have an eq­ui­table process and to make sure it’s open to the peo­ple.”

In­ter­views for the var­sity base­ball coach are be­ing held among “very strong can­di­dates” and sched­ules for Fe­bru­ary 5. A se­lec­tion com­mit­tee will be used to in­ter­view the can­di­dates for ath­letic di­rec­tor with hopes of se­lect­ing a fi­nal can­di­date by the board meet­ing on the last Mon­day of Fe­bru­ary. They will make a hir­ing rec­om­men­da­tion to the NASD School Board of Di­rec­tors, whose ap­proval is needed.

Lans­dale Catholic’s Corey Kirk (center) has a shot de­nied by Pope John Paul II’s James McKeon.

Rick Kauff­man/Times Her­ald Staff

Lenny Baze­more (center) ad­dresses the crowd at a com­mu­nity meet­ing aim­ing to dis­cuss the hir­ing of the next NAHS AD.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.