Aaron Moreno is settling into his new administrative position as assistant principal and athletic director at Milwaukie High School.
Moreno, 35, comes to Milwaukie after 12 years as a teacher with Portland Public Schools.
Last year, Moreno taught second grade at Capitol Hill Elementary School in Southwest Portland where he was also a principal's intern. He also previously served as an assistant wrestling coach at Beaverton and Westview High School as well as coached for the Westview youth football program.
Making the jump from an elementary school teacher to high school administrator will require an adjustment period, Moreno said.
"I'm wearing two hats with the assistant principal and athletic director roles," Moreno said. "They're both very much about promoting school vision, and I'm able to add value through academic rigor, but then also enrich students' lives through athletics.
"Right now, I'm taking it day by day There's a lot to do, especially with camps starting, getting all our athletes registered, and getter all our coaches' paperwork together."
A 2000 graduate of Beaverton High School, Moreno was a three-sport athelte in football, wrestling and baseball. He played on the Beavers' 1999 Class 6A state championship football team under Faustin Riley, but then saw his athletic career cut short when he sustained a fractured vertebrae in his lower back while wrestling as a senior.
Moreno continued his education first at Portland Community College, and then at Portland State, and eventually earned his master's degree from PSU.
As part of his administrative internship, Moreno worked closely with Beaverton High School athletic director Mike Blok.
"Just being able to work with Mike kind of fired up that competitive nature in me, and being able to focus on student athletes really sparked something in me," Moreno said.
In taking over as Milwaukie's athletic director, Moreno is replacing K.T. Emerson, who stepped to down to begin work toward a doctorate.
"Yes, it's a jump, and the learning curve is steep," Moreno said. "One of our assistant principals, Tim Taylor, said it's 'kind of like drinking water from a fire hose,' but I'm excited thinking about the potential there is to have a bigger impact.
"For me, kids are kids. They need to be nurtured no matter what age. I've had a lot of success with high school kids through coaching wrestling and other things, so I'm excited to work with these kids."
Moreno said Milwaukie has an immediate need to hire a junior varsity volleyball coach to work with head coach Melissa Brant.
"Aside from that, I want to connect with all our fall coaches and figure out how I can be a part of the great things they have going on and support them," Moreno said. "That will be one direction. And then next will be enmeshing myself in the community and with our staff.
"People in Milwaukie are proud of Milwaukie, and that's helpful. They're there to support. That's good."