Kara Powell has spent recent weeks helping Ocean Park Elementary School wrap up its school year (graduation was Saturday), transitioning to her new role as Ilwaco High School athletic director, getting to know IHS coaches, and reviewing resumes and conducting interviews for coaching vacancies.
“It was pretty recently that I found out about the opening,” Powell said near the end of a school day last week at her Ocean Park office. “Being a sports lover, I saw it as a good opportunity.” The hiring process went quickly, and she dived right in. “I’m already immersed in it,” she said.
During her college years, Powell coached swim teams at Malin, Oregon for ages 5-18. At Colton High School, where she served as principal starting in 2011, Powell coached the softball and volleyball teams. Powell sees that background, and her career as a teacher and administrator, as good preparation for her role at Ilwaco.
“I’m still working with students, staff, parents and community members,” she said. An athletic director’s job, like a principal’s, is focused on “organization and communication,” she added. “I’ve been a principal for 11 years. I’m used to student discipline. I’ll just be applying my experience in a different realm.”
At Ilwaco, Powell will also serve as assistant principal, working with principal Dave Tobin. “We’re going to work closely together on everything – student discipline, teacher evaluation, staff development,” she said.
Correspondingly, Tobin has been involved in the process of searching for coaching hires for open positions, just as he was under her predecessor, Kevin McNulty. The immediate priority is to fill the fall sports openings. Powell and Tobin have conducted interviews and already zeroed in on their top candidates for the head and assistant volleyball positions, though the hires cannot be announced until the process is complete. For the head football position, Powell says, they have applicants and are sorting resumes.
Ilwaco will soon have to have new boys and girls soccer programs up and running, with coaches hired. The only teams in Ilwaco’s 2B Pacific League that play boys soccer are Life Christian, which is in Tacoma and plays its soccer in the SeaTac league, and a combined Raymond and South Bend squad, which plays in the 1A Evergreen League. Ilwaco, too, will play its boys soccer in the Evergreen League, which also includes Elma, Hoquiam, Forks, Tenino and Montesano. The girls soccer team will join a 2B league with an assortment of Pacific and Central League schools. Wrestling positions will have to be filled in time for the winter sports season.
McNulty has helped with soccer arrangements and worked to create a smooth transition, Powell said. Her summer will include attendance at an August athletic directors’ workshop at Chehalis and the league athletic directors’ meeting.