Laramie High School’s search for a new Activities/Athletics Director has begun after the Albany County School District No. 1 School Board approved a new position last Wednesday.

The current role of Assistant Principal/Athletic Director held by Jeremy Qualls is open after Mr. Qualls chose to take the Principal opening at Rock River School within the district in April.

That opened up a spot at LHS, which ACSD No. 1 Superintendent Dr. Jubal Yennie recommended they split into two full-time positions.

Yennie said several factors played a role in the decision to separate the two positions now instead of a year ago when the administrative team at Laramie High School changed.

“Mostly numbers, finance, and other personnel-type stuff, just in terms of what we need (factored into it). We’re trying to figure out what our staffing level really needs to be at the high since we made that transition.”

Yennie mentioned it’s about getting all the right pieces in place to move forward in an effective manner.

“I think Jeremy (Qualls) did a commendable job this year and trying to make all that work, but I think there were some things that we just discovered as we were moving forward that maybe it’s too big of a job (for one person).”

Another factor was after a small senior class this year, they’ve got more students coming in the building, and Yennie feels they need to balance the administration with the numbers.

The first position will be a full-time Assistant Principal Job. The district has already advertised for this opening.

The second will a full-time Activities/Athletics Director position with an administrative certification. Since this is a new position within ACSD No. 1, the Superintendent had to put together a job description that included its purpose, its essential functions and minimum qualifications and certifications needed for an applicant. These were accepted and approved by the School Board at their meeting May 9, 2018.

Yennie said, “The (school) board has to decide how many positions we have in the district, not the superintendent.”

As for what they’ll be searching for, Yennie says they’re looking at various criteria.

“I’d like to have some experience in this role. Certainly like to have some folks that understand athletics, obviously, but I’m also going to double it up and have it responsible for all the activities, so actually, we’re going to call it an Activities Director, which is all activities and athletics. Ideally, I’d like to have some experience in that position, so that we can have some credibility, not only with coaches and staff, but as well as the community, and somebody that can work with the media the way we need to.”

Laramie High School Principal Chuck Kern admitted it’s tough to go through another transition a year into his tenure.

“Anytime you lose a quality AD, and Laramie’s had a long line of traditionally strong Activities Directors, you’re always thinking about a replacement. Jeremy coming in and picking up right where we left off (last year) and growing the programs, that’s been awesome.”

Kern pointed out that Laramie High School offers more activities and athletics than any other school in the state, and they added this year with the mock trial program.

He added, “I think anytime you have turnover, there are challenges, but we’re going to look for a quality candidate, just like we did and have in the past. We’ve always found great Activities Directors, and the next person needs to come in ready to step up and continue the programming.”

Kern did mention experience and a people-person that can add to the culture and climate at Laramie High School.

As for Qualls departure, he said, “It was really a difficult decision. I’ve really enjoyed it here at Laramie; the kids, the coaches, the parents, everybody; working with guys like you (in response the question asked by KOWB’s David Settle) has been awesome, so it was a difficult all the way around.”

When asked why he made the choice he did, Qualls said, “Really it’s an opportunity. Here’s the philosophical, utopian idea, to see a kids’ education, K-12. Watch them grow. That’s really an exciting prospect to me, so that’s the main reason.”

In reflecting on his brief stint at LHS, which isn’t quite finished, Qualls has observed a lot of positive things.

“I’ve seen kids that are very competitive. They love what they do. The coaches are competitive. They love what they do. They’re polite. They’re easy to work with. They’re fun to work with. Can’t say enough good things about ‘em.”

ACSD No. 1 posted the job opening Monday, so the search is on and applications are being taken.