Under the leadership of new Athletic Director Kristen Rott, Molalla River School District will overhaul its athletics department over the next 3-5 years.
To do so, Rott is inviting interested community members to a series of meetings held over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, the first of which takes place on Nov. 4 from 6-8 p.m. in the Molalla High School commons.
"I believe to my core I was brought here by Tony Mann, MRSD Superintendent, and the Molalla River School District to help lead an effort to develop a transformational sports culture in Molalla, [Oregon]," Rott said in a letter to the community. "Transformational meaning that our student athletes should be given the type of athletic experience that leaves them changed by it.
"I am convinced that I have the passion, the experience, the vision and the energy to lead such an effort," she said. "I am equally convinced that I cannot do this alone."
No, she won't go it alone; instead, she is seeking community input through the meetings. Following the initial Nov. 4 meeting, the others are scheduled for Dec. 2, Jan. 13, Feb. 3, March 2, April 6, May 4 and June 1.
As a result of the meetings, Rott said she hopes to develop a 3-5 year strategic plan to create the "ideal athletic program" in Molalla.
The overhaul follows an uproar of complaints in June that resulted in the resignation of then Athletic Director Todd Moore. Moore said he informed administration and staff of his resignation on June 27 and, according to Mann, the board approved Mann's recommendation to hire Rott that same day.
The complaints into the athletics department addressed fundraising, communication, and a coach's use of foul language, among other concerns.
The complaints were not altogether surprising, as Mann had acknowledged some of the same issues at a board work session back in February.
"The total allocation to athletics in the Molalla River School District is one of the lowest among comparison 4A school districts," Mann said at the February meeting. He added that this was compounded with what he called "an untenable fundraising obligation that our athletes and our coaches have been experiencing."
Additionally, the athletics program may face a new challenge as Rott said it is likely MHS will move to a larger league classification as early as the 2021-2022 school year.
So, Rott said she and meeting participants intend to address nearly every facet of the athletics program including youth programs, facilities, fundraising, character development, coach development and more.
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