By the year 2030, the Northwest ISD is projected to have 10 high schools. If you think about it, that isn’t too far off. We’re only 15 years away.
But let’s focus on the now. The district is preparing for its third high school to open this coming fall with V.R. Eaton. While technically it’s in the Fort Worth city limits, the school is well within the NISD boundary lines.
As difficult as it is to build an administration team, it’s equally challenging to find the right coaches for the sports. Northwest Athletic Director Susan Elza has to take care of the head football coach and athletic coordinator position first.
Interviews for that job are expected to take place Wednesday and Thursday. A name should be presented to the school board at its Jan. 29 meeting. The first day the new football coach would start is Feb. 9. There’s probably a little wiggle room there.
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Elza said she doesn’t necessarily have to have a coach who has opened a school in the past. But it doesn’t hurt either. Interviews with the unnamed handful of finalists will determine who can be the right fit.
“Really, you’re a product of your own experience,” Elza said. “If you have someone who has experience opening a school, it’s hard not to look at that. Opening a school is a challenge. You’re not only building a program, but then you have to make sure your timeline for the equipment is on schedule to arrive and then your facilities are where they need to be.”
Like Byron Nelson’s inception in 2009, Eaton will begin the same way opening with ninth and 10th grades. It will play a junior varsity schedule for its team sports in 2015-2016. But it will play a varsity schedule in the individual sports, such as tennis, golf and swimming.
Whatever it ends up as in the 2016 realignment is not definite. But early indications will are is that it willl be a Class 5A school. Northwest high school will take the brunt of the hit as it could lose between 250-300 students. Byron Nelson is losing about 88.
That probably means when the 2016 realignment is released, Northwest could be on the border to drop down as a 5A school. Nelson should remain at 6A.
Elza has been conducting the head football coach and head volleyball coaching searches with the consultation of a committee since the jobs were posted recently. Once those positions are filled, the district will then proactively search for boys and girls basketball coaches, softball and baseball coaches when those sports are toward the end of their respective postseasons.
The philosophy makes sense. If there’s a coach who has a team in the playoffs and wants to move, it’s better to wait for him or her. Still, the new head football coach is going to have to hire his offensive and defensive coordinators. After all, he needs a chance to lay the foundation for what he wants instructed within his program.
Change like this can always be a little uncomfortable, because the Northwest and Byron Nelson coaches are dealing with players they know they won’t see after the 2014-2015 school year. Elza understands how difficult that balance can be. But she maintained the mission was putting the student athletes first.
“We want to do by right by the kids,” Elza said. “What we want is to provide a quality athletic experience at both Northwest and Nelson. Sure, it’s delicate. But we have great leaders at both schools. I’m really proud of the way they have handled it. It’s going to be a boost for theirs and the kids’ success.”