ROLE OF THE DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS
Poly seeks a dynamic, collaborative, and inclusive leader to serve as the next director of athletics. With deep appreciation for academic excellence, personal responsibility, and service to others, the next director will be an experienced educator with a passion for interscholastic athletics with unwavering integrity, strong interpersonal skills, and a commitment to leading a holistic athletics program that fosters the success of scholar-athletes on the playing field as well as in the classroom.
Poly’s 25 athletic programs and nearly 280 scholar-athletes, many of whom are multi-sport athletes, compete in the Southern Section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). As a proud member of the Prep League, Poly fosters its ideals of respect, integrity, and sportsmanship and has been recognized for numerous awards, including the CIF-SS Jim Staunton Champions for Character Award. Since 2010, Poly has won 10 CIF Southern Section Team Championships and 24 Individual CIF Southern Section Championships, and since 2015, we have had 41 League Championship titles and over 35 Prep League MVPs.
Reporting to the head of school, the director of athletics is responsible for providing overall vision, leadership, and strategic direction for Poly’s interscholastic athletic programs that reflect the school’s values around student success and growth, inclusion, leadership, and sportsmanship. The director assumes responsibility for the overall management, risk assessment, and evaluation of activities in athletic facilities. The director is passionate about working with adolescents and providing leadership and mentorship to all students, fostering principles that encourage integrity, student well-being, diversity, and inclusiveness while promoting an environment of excellence and success. The director will develop, implement, and monitor policies and procedures that promote best practices and address personnel development, including the recruitment, hiring, and evaluation of coaches and faculty coaches; scheduling games and practices at on-campus and offsite facilities; financial management; facility renovation and enhancement; alumni and community relations; and compliance and regulatory expectations while advancing a high level of integration of athletics into the overall student experience. The director collaborates with the athletic training and sports performance staff to ensure the safety and well-being of all scholar-athletes.
The successful candidate collaborates broadly with Poly’s leadership team, operations, advancement, and the Panther Club (parent sports booster organization). The next director will also be able to work closely with school leadership to support emerging student wellness and student health and wellness initiatives. Lastly, the director works closely with the admission team to attract, recruit, and retain scholar-athletes.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
A bachelor’s degree and progressive professional experience leading a complex, dynamic, and diverse athletics department are required; a master’s degree, coaching, and independent school and/or collegiate/postsecondary experience are preferred. The successful candidate will possess a comprehensive understanding of athletics administration, student-athlete development, compliance, and the role of fundraising in supporting strategic and operating objectives. The next director should have the ability to mentor and inspire the professional development of coaches and athletics administrators, a commitment to support wellness and recreation in the holistic development of students, and demonstrated strategic planning acumen. A collaborative management approach, coupled with superior communication and relationship-building skills; a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social responsibility; strong planning and fiscal competencies; a familiarity with program development and assessment; and excellent problem-solving abilities are also desired.
Additionally, as articulated by Poly stakeholders, the successful candidate will ideally bring the following qualities and attributes (in no particular order):
- Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to develop and maintain collegial relationships.
- Excellent communication skills (written and verbal).
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusivity and to serving the needs of a diverse and inclusive community with diplomacy and tact.
- A high degree of organizational skills with the ability to be flexible and multi-task with accuracy.
- Strong advocacy for the coaching staff and athletic programs.
- A demonstrated ability to work with students by building trust and credibility.
- Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills and a strong stakeholder focus.
- Collaborative and adaptable mindset, equipped to respond to changing dynamics as circumstances dictate.
- Successful change management experience grounded in building trust and clear communication.
- A demonstrated knowledge of or experience with athletic recruitment at the college or secondary school level.
- A growth mindset and a spirit of creativity and innovation.
- An ability to motivate and inspire others with respect and a passion for promoting student development and well-being.
- Provide leadership in the hiring, supervising, retention, and professional development of coaches.
- Positive interpersonal skills of diplomacy, accessibility, empathy, and respect for the expertise and viewpoints of colleagues within and outside the department of athletics.
- A commitment to integrity, respect, transparency, and honesty in all endeavors.
- A demonstrated record of being a skillful collaborator in complex settings.
- An ability to work independently and handle multiple priorities and deadlines simultaneously.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
Steve Beerman, director of athletics, will retire at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year after nearly 30 years of service and leadership to the Poly community. Poly athletics have had 51 Prep League MVPs, 52
collegiate student-athletes, 42 Prep League championships, and 13 CIF academic championships.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
Poly’s next director of athletics will be expected to possess a broad and deep understanding of national trends and best practices in interscholastic or collegiate athletics management, as well as an exemplary record of building and developing high-impact teams. The director should be an inspiring leader who is passionate about the holistic development of students, committed to the well-being and support of students and the staff they oversee, and highly attuned to the professional development needs and strengths of a highly diverse staff.
Within this context, the following are the key aspects of the role of the director in which the successful candidate will need to be prepared to lead after a period of acclimatization and relationship building.
- As a dynamic educator and administrator, the next director will lead Poly to define athletics’ needs, goals, and priorities and engage in meaningful conversations about competitiveness, engagement, and success within an academically rigorous environment. The next director understands that Poly students are engaged in many activities, including athletics, arts, music, theater, community service, etc. Staff should feel encouraged, challenged, supported, and confident about how they contribute to the vision and support student success priorities.
- The next director’s leadership style will embrace equity and inclusion, including athletic program equity and development and an appreciation for a community culture engaged in ongoing education and dialogue on equitable practices and behaviors.
- As a strong administrator, the next director will develop, implement, and monitor policies and procedures that promote efficiency, equity, and national best practices.
- Many coaches and staff in the department have longevity and extensive experience at Poly. They will be able to provide the new director with historical knowledge of the program’s evolution and progress. At the same time, the department continues to manage the increase in the number of part-time non-teacher coaches. It will be necessary for the director to develop creative approaches, ongoing training and development of new coaches, and thoughtful professional development in retaining valued staff members.
- While successfully managing to maximize the current indoor and outdoor practice and competition space, Poly is in the early planning stages to build new exceptional athletic facilities and provide a home for teams that currently practice and compete off-campus or on undersized fields. The next director will play a significant role in this project at all stages, including facility enhancement planning for current facilities.
- Poly’s tradition of excellence in athletics is rooted in a commitment to fostering teamwork, sportsmanship, and good health and forms a critical piece of a well-rounded Poly education. The next director will partner with the community and the Poly leadership to lead community-wide programming and support around social-emotional and physical health and well-being.
- The variety of Poly athletic program offerings directly connects to multi-sport athlete participation. Students and parents are seeking to specialize in a particular athletic activity. The next director must lead long-term community conversations about participation, competitiveness, and program diversity.
- The next director understands recruiting—both incoming scholar-athletes and those being recruited by postsecondary entities; navigating and creating set expectations for coaches regarding recruiting experiences and how they may assist families with the college recruiting process; and being able to work collaboratively with partners in admissions to establish recruiting practices and communication aligned with Poly priorities.
- The next director prioritizes strong communication to help facilitate relationship-building, which will be key to achieving greater integration of athletics, recreation, and wellness into the student experience.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The Poly director of athletics will be a strong partner and collaborator across the campus. The new director will be a strategic thinker, will work with others to develop and implement a vision, and will inspire the campus community, parents, and alumni to come together to accomplish shared goals for the future.
Additional measures, as shared by key institutional stakeholders, include the following:
- The director will continue to enhance and strengthen the opportunities in athletics for all students, creating a sense of school spirit and engagement that is felt campus-wide.
- The director will be a visible and highly accessible advocate for the coaches, faculty, staff, and parents.
- The director can articulate a passion and commitment to the mission of Poly, Panther athletics, and student success and persistence by developing a culture of community.
- The director will be a skilled communicator who does so with grace, empathy, and insight and is also open to feedback.
- The director will have demonstrated the ability to manage short-term change and long-term development for the department, including staffing, professional development, facilities management, and strategic capital planning.
- Athletics staff can articulate a shared vision and mission and feel valued as team members.
- The new director will have established strong working relationships and partnerships within the school leadership team, direct reports, athletes, faculty, admissions, advancement, and key institutional stakeholders while demonstrating knowledge and appreciation for the various programs and services that exist school-wide.
- The director will demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective.
- The director will have the highest level of integrity.
OVERVIEW OF ATHLETICS
Poly’s long-standing tradition of excellence in its athletic program is rooted in our commitment to the development of our student-athletes. With outstanding facilities, dedicated coaching staff, and strength training and conditioning programs, student-athletes strive to achieve their highest potential. Sportsmanship and teamwork are hallmarks of Poly athletics.
Poly’s 25 athletic teams compete in the Southern Section of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). As a proud member of the Prep League, Poly was awarded the CIF-SS Jim Staunton Champions for Character Award and the Prep League Sportsmanship Award for the past two years. These awards are voted upon by administrators and coaches and awarded to schools that exemplify the best sportsmanship in all sports throughout a given school year.
Assistant Athletics Director: Thomas Sale
Athletic Coordinator: Katrina Demasco-Dicipulo
# of coaches: 22 head coaches — 70-80 total coaches.
In addition, there are two athletic trainers and a sports performance coach on staff to support our student-athletes and teams year-round. They are housed within the Physical Education department.
Total athletic department budget 2022-23: $417, 300
Student Athletic Leadership Council (SALC)
SALC comprises student-athletes in 11th and 12th grades who promote leadership at Poly and in the greater Pasadena community. The council upholds Poly’s mission and PolyHonor and serves on three committees focused on service, spirit, and education.
The Panther Club encourages families and friends to attend games and provides a forum for communication between parents, athletes, and the school staff. With more than 200 members and more than 80 active volunteers, the Panther Club provides stipends for athletic teams, underwrites all year-end sports banquets, and sponsors fall and winter season tailgates. The Panther Club raises funds through the Panther Store’s operations and by hosting an annual fundraiser, Friday Night Lights, each spring.
In 1907, Polytechnic School (Poly) was founded as the first nonprofit, independent, coeducational day school in Southern California. From its Greek word origin, Polytechnic means “many arts,” and Poly is a community devoted not only to scholarship but also to the creative arts, the camaraderie of team sports, and the joy of service to others. Poly’s diverse and inclusive community fosters academic excellence and personal growth to ensure that all 870 students in grades K-12, nearly 60% of which identify as students of color, are seen and heard, empowering every student to be their authentic selves.
Diversity of ideas, experiences, and identities within the school enriches the experience of everyone and inspires transformative teaching and learning. At Poly, celebrating and valuing the uniqueness of each individual in the community is integral to fulfilling the school’s mission and vision.
An inclusive community fosters academic excellence and personal growth to ensure that all students are seen and heard, empowering every student to be authentic. Faculty and staff practice inclusivity and appreciation for creating a safe learning environment where differing viewpoints and multiple perspectives are expressed and honored. Conformity of thought is not required. The Polytechnic school values all cultures and ethnicities and the richness they bring to the shared community. Poly strives to ensure all families experience a sense of belonging and can participate fully in the life of the school.
Total enrollment: 870
African American: 6%
Latina/o/x, Hispanic: 11%
Two or more races: 22%
Polytechnic School is governed by a Board of Trustees who upholds and promotes the mission and vision of the school. The Board also stewards Poly’s long-term financial sustainability, hires and supports the Head of School, and develops key strategic initiatives and goals.
Chair: Todd Molz
Vice-Chair: Ezra Callahan ’99
Vice-Chair: Sonia Singla
Secretary: Rosalina Cardenas
Treasurer: Maggie Sabbag ’87
John Bracker – Head of School
John Bracker became the head of school for Polytechnic School on July 1, 2014. Prior to joining the Polytechnic community, he was the head of school for Watkinson School in Hartford, Connecticut, where he served for 14 years. Bracker is a member of the Headmasters Association and the Country Day School Headmasters Association. In addition, Bracker is a member of INDEX, comprised of collaborative groups from independent schools where data is shared to aid decision-making, policy development, and strategic planning.
Currently, Bracker serves on four boards, PFS! Partnership for Success, the California Teacher Development Collaborative, The Center for Early Education, and the California Association of Independent Schools. Bracker earned his bachelor’s degree from Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, and his master’s degree from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
The anticipated hiring range is $154,000 to $167,000 annually, commensurate with education and experience. Poly offers its employees a comprehensive benefits package. In addition, children of full-time faculty and staff members enrolled at Poly can receive 25 percent tuition remission. The amount is pro-rated for children of part-time employees. Additional tuition assistance is also available for employee families who demonstrate need by participating in the school’s financial aid program.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Dell Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne-Marie Kenney at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
Visit the Polytechnic School website at https://www.polytechnic.org/.
In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals, Poly will recruit, hire, train, and promote faculty and staff without regard to an individual’s race, color, sex, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation (including heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality), national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, uniformed service member status, marital status, pregnancy, age, medical condition and physical or mental disability (whether perceived or actual), or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. School policy also prohibits unlawful discrimination based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training.
Diversity of ideas, experiences, and identities within the school enriches the experience of everyone and inspires transformative teaching and learning. At Poly, we celebrate and value the uniqueness of each individual in the community to fulfill the school’s mission and vision.
An inclusive community fosters academic excellence and personal growth to ensure that all students are seen and heard, empowering every student to be authentic. Faculty and staff practice inclusivity and appreciation for creating a safe learning environment where differing viewpoints and multiple perspectives are expressed and honored. Conformity of thought is not required. At Poly, we value all cultures and ethnicities and the richness they bring to our shared community. Poly strives to ensure all families experience a sense of belonging and can participate fully in the life of the school.