“There are practical parts of the job that can consume you,” Percival said. “I’d like to spend more time talking about methods of coaches and the purpose of extracurricular activities.”
The roundtable of superintendents included Ric Dressen (Edina), Deb Henton (North Branch), Dan Hoverman (Mounds View), Dennis Peterson (Minnetonka) and Todd Sesker (Faribault). They answered questions from a moderator on myriad topics related to activities directors.
Hoverman said Madison and Irondale activities director Ron Broberg “probably have the most difficult job” in the Mounds View district.
The superintendents touched on timely issues such as a coach’s dismissal and competition for students through investments in athletics.
Outcry from coaches about parent intrusion into coaching prompted legislation this spring from Rep. Dean Urdahl that was recently signed into law. The measure declared that parent complaints cannot be the sole reason for a board not to renew a coaching contract.
Henton described the expectations of providing stronger athletics programs as “a war.” Turf fields, large field houses and strong summer programs have become the norm for powerful high school programs.
“There is a lot of pressure from certain parents to do more with what we have,” Henton said.
Sesker added: “I don’t know if it’s ever going to be enough.”
An open dialogue with a superintendent, Roff said, is not a luxury every activities director enjoys.
“My superintendent came with me today,” Roff said. “But I was in Minneapolis for 25 years and literally met and had a conversation with my superintendent once.”
The roundtable capped a day several activities directors agreed fulfilled Madison’s mission and made them better.
“This is mountaintop stuff,” Roff said. “We have to go back into the valley tomorrow. But you have to have that feeling of excitement that you can make a difference. That’s another reason it’s important for all of us to do these kinds of things because we need that vision refreshment.”