US begins search for new athletic director

This fall, after Associate Director of Athletics Carolyn Polley decided not to return as Associate Director (AD) in the 2018-19 school year, the school began a nationwide search for the next AD, who will start in the summer.

Ms. Polley entered the AD role in 2015 and said she took a leave of absence from the position this school year to spend more time with her family and new baby, Quinn, adding that she felt she couldn’t serve the community in a major role.

“I read something in a leadership article that really struck me,” she said. “It said, ‘Authentic leaders know there are no bonus points awarded for appearing to be invincible.’ So, when that sunk in, I knew it was okay to admit that I could not serve the community in such an important leadership role the way I wanted to at a time when my family needed so much of me.”

To conduct the search, BB&N Transition Team Head Charlie Ruopp and incoming Head of School Jennifer Price created a five-person committee to find the new AD. The committee includes Mr. Ruopp, Girls’ Varsity Crew Assistant Coach Wendy Svatek, Dean of Students Rory Morton, Middle School Director Mary Dolbear, and Upper School (US) Director Geoff Theobald. Mr. Ruopp said the members were chosen for their knowledge of all three campuses and the athletic department.

The committee began the search in the middle of December by connecting with Carney Sandoe and Associates (CSA), a consulting firm that has recruited faculty members and heads of school for over 1,800 institutions across the globe, according to its website.

Before winter break, three CSA representatives met with Dr. Price and US students and faculty to discuss what the school wanted in a new AD.

“I am looking for an AD that comes to a lot of games, supports the Knights outside the classroom, and wants to be involved in the team dynamic by getting to know the players,” Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse Co-captain Becky Kendall ’18 told The Vanguard. “[I also want] an AD who was a college athlete or at least high school athlete so he or she knows the stress of what being a student-athlete is like and would be able to help any student looking to play a sport in college.”

Softball catcher Halley Douglas ’19 added that she wants the new AD to be focused on community involvement.

“I want to see someone who is invested in giving all sports and levels equal opportunities and [who] promotes community involvement and events [like] Friday Knight Lights,” she said.

Mr. Ruopp summarized the committee’s desires for the next AD.

“We want [a new AD] who can be a strong, engaged, and charismatic leader for our athletic program—someone who has a managerial track record that will allow them to organize and run a very complicated program that includes all of the athletic teams, all three campuses, and the multiple off-campus sites,” he said.

Once the representatives identify several resumes that fit those descriptions, the committee will meet with candidates, discuss them, and introduce some to community members like teachers, coaches, parents, and student-athletes.

The first committee meeting took place on January 10, and the group created a schedule for when to meet with the representatives of CSA, Mr. Ruopp said.

He added that he hopes about three of the final candidates will be able to visit the campus in February, and he aims for the committee to have an official AD by March 1.

Mr. Theobald said he is looking forward to meeting the next AD.

“The student-athletes here have very full and varied days, as we all know,” he said. “And the athletic director is such a key figure in helping to make sure the systems and routines and communications we have in the athletic realm are designed and managed with that total picture in mind.”

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