Despite some pushback, board approves new NK A.D.

Despite some support to keep interim North Kitsap High School interim athletic director Anh Tran, the school board approved at its May 23 meeting for William Rodgers to take over as the school’s A.D. effective July 1.

A few people spoke in support of Tran keeping the A.D. position and questioned the equity of the hiring process during public comments.

“It’s really taken me and a lot of people by surprise,” NKHS booster Kevin Hogan said. “I know the school is looking for somebody who’s got the personality, skills, attributes and experience to do this job. Well, it seems like we have one already. This was not a transparent process.”

Genie Elton, the mother of an NKHS student and baseball player Alex Elton, spoke on behalf of her son. “Mr. Tran was and continues to be a positive force,” she said. “I’ve seen him at sporting events all year long, including after the fact that he realized he would likely be losing his position. It really pains me to see how sad my son was for him to witness for the first time in his life the disappointment of learning that unfair things happen to people who are doing a good job.”

Mindy Belhiba-Rovira said: “I have concerns that affinity bias, implicit bias and/or personal relationships outside of work may have figured into the decision not to rehire Mr. Tran and that it wasn’t a fair, equitable or transparent hiring and interview process. I have concerns because I believe he was employed as a placeholder until the position was reclassified and the salary increased. Despite claims that he wasn’t qualified, that is untrue. He is.

“What would it look like if Mr. Tran had stronger relationships with those in the hiring committee and other decision-makers? Would he have gotten the job? We will never know,” she said.

Tran has been a math teacher at various schools, A.D. at Poulsbo Middle and coached golf at Kingston and North Kitsap high schools. He took over the NKHS A.D. job last year in place of Matt Stanford. He will return to a teaching position in the district, NKSD representative Jenn Markaryan said.

Although Rodgers has not been an A.D. he has experience in King County as the Leadership Engagement officer for the Boys and Girls Club, executive director of the Ballard Boys and Girls Club and the Seattle Supersonics outreach manager. Most recently, he worked in campus security at Poulsbo Middle School and also helped coach sports there.

Rodgers said in a statement he is honored to be hired for the administrative position as the schools have a tradition of academic and athletic excellence. “I hope to provide leadership for our amazing student-athletes and talented coaches to allow them to achieve their goals.”

NKHS principal Megan Sawicki and Poulsbo Middle School principal Josh Emmons said in a combined statement that Rodgers’ proven track record in managing youth sports programs, coordinating activities and building strong community relationships “position him as an ideal leader for our athletic programs.”