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Athletic directors leaving both high schools
DIXFIELD -- When things are running smoothly, every athletic director is barely recognized. However, when a situation or problem is encountered, they need to step to the forefront and be accountable.
Although the former is preferred, when an AD is presented with a situation, he or she must be assertive. These decisions generally draw both positive and negative criticism, but the message is delivered in the best interest of the student-athletes.
Over the past decade, both Dirigo and Mountain Valley high schools have been fortunate to have Charlie Swan and John Bernard directing the show. Both athletic programs have flourished under their leadership, but change is inevitable and a unique situation developed because the two will be leaving their respective posts at the end of the school year.
Swan, who was also the assistant principal at the high school, will become the new principal at Dirigo Elementary in Peru.
Bernard accepted additional responsibilities and his main objective was to do the best job possible, but after 35 years of educational work, he has decided to retire to seek other ventures.
“First of all, Charlie has done an outstanding job in a very time consuming position of assistant principal and athletic director,” said RSU 10 Supt. Dr. Thomas J. Ward. “And we have had an outstanding long-time athletic director at Mountain Valley High School. We have evaluated all kinds of scenarios for each school. We have looked at the economic side and the job responsibility side.”
Ward said at MVHS they have decided to not go with a full-time athletic director. There is already a fulltime assistant principal, so they are going with a teacher/AD position.
“We are hopeful that there is someone on staff that would be willing to teach part-time and also be athletic director,” noted Ward, who cited declining enrollment as an additional factor.
When Rumford-Mexico high Schools merged in 1989, the total enrollment of four grades (freshman to senior) was approximately 660. The projected enrollment for Mountain Valley next fall is 385, with the resulting decrease moving sports from a Class B to C classification. The Falcon football program has petitioned to the Maine Principal’s Association to remain in Class B.
At DHS, the board feels the most cost effective way to meet the needs there is to still go with an assistant principal/AD position.
“Charlie will be missed at DHS,” said Ward. “There were many things that he did that I am sure many people were not aware of.
Besides being extremely dedicated to his job, he went above and beyond by always looking for ways to raise money to do projects or purchase things that we could not afford but needed. He was very innovative and creative.”