The Greater Amsterdam School District will be getting its new athletic director just in time for the holidays.
Stephen J. Nolan was approved by the GASD Board of Education at its November meeting to be the district's new Coordinator of Physical Education, Health and Interscholastic Sports, filling the vacancy created when Brian Mazza left the position at the end of October to become the assistant director of the HFM BOCES Adirondack Academy. Retired GASD athletic director Bob Noto has served in an interim capacity since Mazza's departure.
Nolan, currently the athletic director and high school assistant principal at the Carthage Central School District outside Watertown, will start in Amsterdam on Dec. 22.
"Two months is a pretty quick turnaround, and we were fortunate to find someone with Steve's experience to be able to step into the role," said GASD Director of Data/Personnel Michele Downing.
Nolan has been a teacher, coach and administrator for nearly 30 years. Though he's spent the last four years at Carthage in Section III, his professional roots are in the schools in the northern half of Section II. Nolan spent 14 years as a teacher and coach in the Queensbury Union Free School District, then moved on to administrative positions at South Glens Falls and Warrensburg.
When his role as athletic director and assistant principal at Warrensburg High School was due to be cut to a half-time position because of low enrollment, Nolan made the decision to leave the section and accept his current position at Carthage. However, he said he always had an eye on returning to Section II and held Amsterdam in high regard.
"I wanted to stay in athletics, and unfortunately at that time there weren't jobs in Section II, so I came out to Section III and landed the job in Carthage. I've been here about five years, always with the thought in the back of my mind of getting back to Section II in the right position," Nolan said.
"When I started teaching, we competed against Amsterdam in a number of sports and I knew some people that coached there and worked there. It was always a place I held in high regard for their academics and athletics," he added. "When the position opened up, to get back home around family and to get into a good school district like that, I put my hat in the ring and was fortunate enough to get the job."
Nolan earned a master's in education with a focus on sport science and adapted physical education from Castleton University in Vermont. He also earned a bachelor's in education and physical education from the State University of New York at Cortland, and received his School Administrator and Supervisor certification from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
He was approved by the board for a four-year period at a salary of $91,191 per year.
Nolan was selected from a field of candidates after meeting with Downing, GASD Superintendent Dr. Vicma "Vicky" Ramos, along with a committee including other district administrators and teachers. Downing said that Nolan's background and experience made him an ideal choice to fill the district's vacancy.
"He has solid experience in the physical education world," Downing said. "He's involved in the section, he's on one of the NYSPHSAA steering committees. He was involved in PEP (Carol E. White Physical Education Program) grants when he went to Carthage and he's able to help us wrap up our PEP grant as well. He has experience as an AD, and Carthage is a similar size as Amsterdam."
Downing said the district should have a smooth transition into Nolan's tenure, thanks to the preparation Mazza did prior to leaving the district and Noto's work in two months as the interim AD.
"Bob Noto's been doing a great job in holding down the fort, and Brian Mazza did an excellent job wrapping things up before he left," Downing said. "We're very lucky that the flow has been pretty smooth with this transition."
In coming to Amsterdam and the Foothills Council, Nolan will reconnect with a number of familiar faces from his career.
"Of the ADs that are currently working in the Foothills, I've actually coached one, one was my student teacher way back when and a couple of guys I've coached against when they were playing," Nolan said. "It's just like going back home with guys that I've had a relationship with. It feels like a good fit for us all."
Contact ADAM SHINDER at firstname.lastname@example.org