As Interim Athletic Director (AD) J. Wayne Shierant prepares to leave the Sag Harbor School District next month, it appears as if the search for a full time, permanent AD may soon be coming to a close.
Last Friday, November 16, an interview committee for the position — formally called the Director of Athletics, Health, Nutrition, Wellness, and Personnel — met with five preliminary candidates. According to Shierant, the contenders included two current Athletic Directors, one former AD with 10 years of experience and two physical education teachers.
At a district board of education (BOE) meeting on Monday, November 19, Interim Superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso announced the interview committee had narrowed the finalists down to two.
“We have a couple of finalists that right now are being recommended,” he said. “We are hoping in the last week of November to interview two finalists and then [make] a recommendation to the board of education again, hopefully before the beginning of December.”
While Dr. Bonuso said that the board of education could not “share too many more specifics” about the individual candidates, he did note, “we had some good people we were meeting.”
He also added: “We are not just going to recommend finalists because we must move along. We will only recommend finalists if we are confident they are very good candidates, and that’s the [sense] I’m getting from the interview committee.”
At a previous BOE meeting on November 14, Shierant said that the potential ADs were “all viable candidates at this point in time, and hopefully from there we’ll get a good athletic director.”
“This, in my opinion, is an excellent opportunity, a good job. I know a few of the applicants personally, and I think you’re going to be in good shape when this is said and done,” he said.
At the meeting, the BOE noted that advertisements for the athletic director ran in local newspapers and on several websites, including that of Section XI, the governing body of high school athletics in Suffolk County. Applicants “from near and far” submitted their resumes, not just from neighboring towns, Dr. Bonuso added.
However, a few of the finalists for the position are “local guys,” Shierant said, noting that employing someone familiar with the area might be to the district’s advantage.
“When you come to the East End, you have to understand the culture. You have to have had some familiarity with how the sports are run out here,” he noted.
In previous meetings, the board of education has expressed their hope to employ a committed, long-term athletic director.
“My hope for you is that you have someone who will come here and finish their careers here on a long-term basis,” agreed Shierant.
“You have a very, very good staff. They just need direction and a little bit of guidance, that’s all it is,” he added. “So again, I think when this works out, you guys are going to be fine.”
In any event, Shierant noted, the AD should “absolutely” be ready to take over his responsibilities come January 2013.
“He’ll be able to hit the ground running,” he said.
The search for an AD appears to be particularly relevant in light of a recent presentation made about sports participation by Shierant at a BOE meeting on November 14. As it turns out, students at Pierson Middle/High School are avid athletes.
Over the course of the fall, winter and spring seasons, students at Pierson play on 12 varsity teams, 10 junior varsity teams and 15 middle school teams. Some of those teams include students from East Hampton High School, the Ross School and the Bridgehampton School.
“I think the amount of participation you have here is exemplary,” said Shierant.
According to Shierant, the number of individual students enrolled in sports is estimated at 373, which Shierant said accounts for 83 percent of the school.
“You’ve got a really good cross-section of your student body participating in athletics throughout the course of the year,” Shierant said. “For a small school, you guys do good, I’m telling you.”