Brett Mayer has hit the ground running in her first few days as the Crosby-Ironton Rangers activities director.
Who better to help her on her way than former C-I cross country and track and field coach Roger Twigg.
Mayer takes the baton from the departed Dave Niemi, who accepted a full time AD position at Becker High School. Mayer’s first day was Monday, but she said it’s been a seamless transition so far.
“It hasn’t been really difficult,” said Mayer, a graduate of Minot (N.D.) High School, the University of Minnesota, Morris, and St. Cloud State University. “I’m finding out that Dave was extremely detail-oriented and left everything in order.
“Roger Twigg was doing it in the interim so everything was laid out and ready for me. I was welcomed to a very organized system. So my first few days have not been difficult at all.”
Mayer taught and coached the last three years at Minot High School. She was a varsity assistant cross country and assistant softball coach and taught social studies. She will continue to teach social studies along with her AD responsibilities. That was something that appealed to her.
“I love the fact that I could still teach,” said Mayer. “That was a big part of it for me. I loved coaching and working with kids. I knew I wanted to continue to do that. I like the idea of having the day-to-day, hands-on classroom time.”
A love for teaching was one of the main selling points for C-I School Board chair and former volleyball coach Barb Neprud.
“I sat in on the interview process and there were three different areas that really sold me on her,” said Neprud. “The first was her passion for teaching. Her enthusiasm, overall, for teaching world history and knowing first and foremost that students need to understand what is happening in the world around them was a big asset. She majored in world history and did a year volunteering with Amicorp. She realized she wanted to work with kids so she went back and got her teaching degree. So her teaching is as important to her as the AD part. So that was a double bang. We really hit gold with this hire.
“The second thing that impressed me concerning athletics was I sensed a real commitment to each student-athlete and individual. She wants to make certain each student grows and reaches their potential.
“Thirdly, my vote went to her because she has tremendous organizational skills. That will keep us top-notch across the state. She will be an asset to the coaching staff. She has hit the ground running and people in the community will see what type of an individual she is. She is high energy and she’s ready to commit full-time and become a Ranger.”
Mayer isn’t concerned about balancing both jobs and she also likes being involved with the activities, and not just athletics. In high school, Mayer played golf in the fall, hockey in the winter and track and field in spring, but was also active in band.
“I’m very excited because band was a big part of who I was,” said Mayer. “In Minot, I was in charge of the student council and worked with our achievement letters, which highlighted and honored students not in athletics, but still contributed to the school’s image. Those students were also allowed to earn letters like athletes do.
“I’m very excited about that balance. Being a classroom teacher will give me a chance to interact with all the students, whether they are in sports or not.”
A goal of most activities directors is to get as many students involved in extra-curricular activities. Lately, one major deterrent of that has been rising activity fees. Mayer is well aware of the problem and hopes to continue to find ways to make C-I activities affordable and available to all students.
“Activity fees are much higher than what I have seen, but I student taught in Minnesota so I was aware that they were an issue,” said Mayer. “No. 1, I think I need to be an advocate for activities and help people realize why they are so important so we can continue to have that community support and not burden the kids who decide to do activities.
“Hopefully through that we can boost attendance and moral and student involvement. I think certainly keeping pride in our schools and showing people the value of being involved in these activities brings will help with that. Rising fees is a concern and that’s something that would be my goal, is to keep them as low as possible.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.