ELLINWOOD — USD 355 Ellinwood School District has hired a new athletic director, Derek Schoenthaler, who moved to Ellinwood three weeks ago.
Ellinwood is similar to the community he grew up. “I grew up in Ellis and was active in sports, including football, wrestling and track,” said the AD.
In fact, just about any outdoor activity is a hobby, including golf and snowboarding. Schoenthaler also loves music of any kind and just returned from a concert at Red Rocks, Colo.
He is excited to begin working on the big transition the district has coming up to the Central Prairie League and 8-man football. With the fresh start in the new league, Schoenthaler wants to build on the programs already in existence.
He is also pleased with the move of the school to iPads and the efforts of the school to use 21st century technology.
“I have a vast collaboration of experience from college,” and after college, said Schoenthaler. “It gives me a board spectrum of knowledge.” He worked in sports at the college level, high school level and as a recreation director.
He is also excited about working with the new recreation programs being developed in Ellinwood. Having been a rec director, he can work with the programs to prepare kids for the school experience.
Schoenthaler has spent a lot of time in the education system. He went to college at K-State, majoring in kinesiology, but working in the athletic department. “That was my first real introduction to athletic administration,” he said. He found that was what he enjoyed doing, and with six hours short of a graduate degree, he realized organic chemistry required for premed was not his field of interest.
So, Schoenthaler went to Wichita State University for his master’s degree, majoring in Sports Administration. “I enjoyed that program quite a bit,” he said. “While I was going to WSU, I worked as an assistant AD at USD 295 and 266.”
While he was doing that he realized he wanted to work in high school athletics versus college. In high school athletics, he can do a bit of everything whereas in college athletics, “you pick one avenue.”
He then went back to WSU for a teaching certificate, teaching and coaching at Maize and WSU. After that, he worked as the recreation director and coached at Plainville.
“I realized I missed being around kids,” he said.
He will be teaching P.E. and Character Education.
The most rewarding aspect of working with kids, he said, was passing on experience and encouraging them. He enjoys watching them grow.
Schoenthaler is single and has one younger brother who just got married. “The pressure’s on,” he said.