Kristen Rott enjoyed her time at Wilsonville High School, coaching volleyball and teaching social studies, but she is looking forward to the opportunity to serve even more students as Molalla's athletic director.
"I'm just really passionate about these big systems that support a wide variety of student athletes," Rott says. "Sometimes if you're on one team or just in the classroom, you have an impact on your caseload or your group of students, but when you step into that administrative role, all of a sudden that impact can be so much greater."
Rott says she has wanted to be a school administrator since she was a student at King Elementary in Oregon City.
"I loved my principal (Carol Kemhus) and I loved what she did and how she connected students with learning and the school and the community," Rott says.
Rott, whose maiden name is Forristall, also loved basketball.
At Oregon City High School, Rott was part of four state championship teams and named a McDonald's All-American and the Gatorade state player of the year after her senior season.
"I fell in love with the sport (basketball) at an early age and there were some great systems in place there that you could keep playing at a very high level," Rott says. "Athletics was just an important part of growing up for me."
After high school, Rott says she wanted to play basketball anywhere east of the Mississippi and considered Vanderbilt, Boston College and Indiana.
"Then you go on your official visits and you fall in love with your own state," says Rott, who signed with the University of Oregon in 2004 and was a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection after her first season.
But Rott did not play as much her sophomore year. Meanwhile, she was being recruited by the Ducks' volleyball coach – Jim Moore.
"He offered me a scholarship and I said, 'I play basketball, stop it,'" Rott recalls. "The next basketball season came around and I put in all the work in the offseason and I wasn't in the starting lineup again and I just knew that my basketball career was not meant to finish at Oregon."
A day after announcing her decision to leave the Ducks basketball program, Moore called, asking Rott if she was ready to play volleyball.
"I just switched right then and there," Rott says. "You go through those hard experiences because they just prepare you for what's next. It was really challenging at the time, but looking back it was one of the greatest experiences I got to go through because it just made me prepared for all the other trials that come along."
In her first volleyball season since high school, Rott started 26 matches and played in all 33. At middle blocker, she led the team in blocks (117), blocks average (1.04), block solos (12) and block assists (105). The Ducks advanced to the Sweet 16 in both her junior and senior seasons.
"I was just excited to be part of a program that wanted to compete at a high level," Rott says.
After graduating from Oregon with a bachelor's degree in history, Rott went back to basketball and achieved a lifelong goal of playing professionally. But after only half a season in Germany, she returned to Eugene to begin work on a master's degree in education and curriculum.
"It was not a lifestyle for me," Rott recalls of playing basketball overseas. "I was ready to start moving forward and finding a career and all those things."
While back at Oregon, Rott served as a volunteer assistant volleyball coach under Moore. She then coached volleyball for a season at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia while her husband worked on earning his physician assistant license.
They moved to Aurora six years ago when Rott was hired as the head volleyball coach at Wilsonville. After two years at the high school, she became the co-director of the associated student body.
Two years ago, Rott resigned as volleyball coach to pursue her administrative license.
Searching for assistant principal and athletic director jobs, Rott says she found the right fit in Molalla.
"Going into the interviews, looking through the board policies, the values just lined up with mine seamlessly," Rott says. "It's nice to be at a place where at the heart of it you believe some of the same things."
Rott says she believes in four key elements – academic excellence; recruiting, retaining and training educators; communicating with the community; and being a good steward of funds coming into the school.
"If you're going to take care of kids, if you're going to take care of a school and move it towards excellence, you have to take care of those four components," she says.
Building relationships are also important.
"This is a community where they care about kids so we want to make sure that we are appreciating those individuals that are volunteering time and trying to grow the program," Rott says. "So it's about supporting those relationships."
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