Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco has hired a new athletic director to oversee the athletic departments of all four schools, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.
Anthony Thomas will begin working in July as the four-school athletic director, replacing the three athletic directors in each of the boys schools and one for both girls schools.
“It’s obviously something different for us,” wrestling team manager Kaito Henry ’18 said. “I don’t think that anything bad will come from having just one AD, so I guess [the athletic program] can only get even better.”
President Ann Marie Krejcarek has been working to align all four schools under a K-12 model since she joined the schools in 2012. Last year’s introduction of a four-school logo was one of the first visible changes. This new position is the next step in completing the alignment goal, with most other academic departments already consisting of an overarching department head.
“The model that we have is very different than other schools who are K-12,” Krejcarek said. “When we look at athletics being single-sex or coed it makes no difference that we are single sex because the norm across the country is that the majority of middle and high school sports are separated into single sex teams or competitions. The staffing in our school therefore does not need to be different because we are single sex.”
The need for equally weighted and equally enriching athletic programs among the four schools prompted the search for a new athletic director, according to Krejcarek. The role not only focuses on athletics but on physical education, the education of the body and a pending outdoor education program where students can learn in environments outside the classroom.
The hiring process for the new position began early in the school year and ran until Thomas was selected for the job in January. Parents and faculty were then sent an email introducing the new athletic director.
The hiring committee gave all current athletic directors the opportunity to apply for the job, but no one applied, according to Krejcarek.
Thomas is currently the athletic director of Branson in Ross Valley, where he has worked since 2010, previously working at French American in San Francisco and Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton. His experience in the San Francisco area and his success in running a grades 9-12 program were major hiring points, according to Krejcarek.
“It will be my job to advocate for students and ensure that they have the best facilities and resources to help them reach their goals academically and athletically,” Thomas said. “My focus will be on the development of the whole student and helping them connect their physical ability with their mental toughness, grit and spirituality.”
Athletic department changes should not be too noticeable to Stuart Hall High School students, according to Krejcarek. Changes will be major, but the strength of the athletic program at The Hall has been noted and does not seem to be the main focus in terms of improvements in transportation, scheduling and general fitness.
“[The athletic program of] Stuart Hall High School has done quite well, but we are hoping that more will come to programs which are lighter, like the girls middle school.” Krejcarek said, referring to concerns from CES parents about athletic program parity.
The introduction of an all-school athletic director leaves the futures of the individual athletic director positions up in the air. Krejcarek anticipates that staff under Thomas will not be focused solely on the interests of a single school, but on the needs of all four schools.
“We needed somebody to take the lead in athletics, in physical education and eventually, hopefully, in the development of an outdoor education program,” Krejcarek said.