Ask the AD - Rita Boule, Montgomery Blair High School

This summer, CSZ will be doing a segment on the WICKipedia entitled "Ask the AD". In this feature, we'll be conducting Q&A's with various athletic directors around Maryland to learn more about how different high schools run their athletic programs, and what to expect from them in the future.

Today we're featuring Rita Boule from Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County! During our conversation, Rita spoke with us about how she got started at Blair, her favorite parts of the job, and the unique challenges of being the AD at one of the largest public schools in Maryland!

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County Sports Zone:How did you become athletic director at Blair? How did your appointment come about?

Rita Boule:I was at John F. Kennedy for 17 years and had coached 43 teams when I was there. In addition to coaching, I was also the assistant AD for the last four years. I worked with the AD at Kennedy, Ken Cudd, on many of the AD responsibilities. I also started working at the MCPS Athletics workshop where we develop all of the schedules, handbook, etc., during the summer and I took the AD practicum class.

CSZ:How has the job changed since you started? How has it stayed the same?

RB:There is a lot more paperwork! But technology has started to make that a more efficient process at the same time. I spend more time at my job doing AD things after school when I thought I would spend less. But those are the times I get to see coaches and teams and be out there with the community- my favorite parts of being an AD!

CSZ:How would you rate this past year for Blair Athletics? Were there a couple highlights that stand out?

RB:I would rate it a 9.5! We are never perfect, but I feel Blair Athletics keep improving. It was a good program before I got there and has continued to get better.

I am super excited for the community building things we do now all together such as one athletics celebration at the end of the year and working together in concessions throughout the year. It has created a feel of "one athletics program", which is our vision. We also work together in community service and brought back alumni in various ways.

Some teams did exceptionally well which is great too - boys soccer, varsity softball, boys tennis and football to name some. And we have tons of individual accomplishments in track, swim and dive and tennis. Above all else, the average GPA of Blair Athletics is a 3.23 which is something to be proud of for so many reasons.

CSZ:What're a couple things you've accomplished while Blair athletic director that you are most proud of?

RB:I think the coaching staff is outstanding. Not only are they terrific coaches for the most part, but they are good teachers and positive role models. They each care about Blair, the community, their program and they are selfless. So I am proud of the department through and through. That is just good and patient decision-making with our administration.

I am proud of the one athletics celebration and proud of the feel of the program. It is hard to put into words but the Blair community knows that the student-athletes are in competent hands and are expected to be ladies and gentlemen first, students second and athletes third. This creates a positive environment which then makes it fun to go to work!

CSZ:What do you enjoy most about your job?

RB:The kids first and foremost. Secondly, the relationships I have with the Blair staff and Blair coaches. Then I would put working with the community to make us better as third. But the kids are first. Seeing them progress, start reaching their potential, becoming aware of their capabilities, and grow as a person is the most awesome experience a teach, coach or AD can ever have, and why we go into education and coaching.

CSZ:You've had plenty of teams make deep postseason runs during your time at Blair. When you have a team making a playoff push and going to states, what is the atmosphere like around the school? How does the athletic department try to enhance the atmosphere?

RB:I truly think it lifts up the whole school and adds an energy and excitement to the school day. Kids walk around a little taller and maybe a few more Blair shirts come out and are put on. We try to make announcements, tweet, and do special things for that team during that time.

CSZ:Blair has the biggest student population in Montgomery County and one of the biggest in Maryland. How does that make the job of being athletic director at Blair unique from other high schools?

RB:It is unique for sure. The magnet program is a huge part of Blair, with about 700 kids and that too makes Blair unique. The physical school is huge and it's hard to make sure we are reaching everyone.

The problem is kids can get lost in all of it and not be a part of the school. I think that we've started doing a better job getting to those populations of kids and making sure they know we want them in athletics and we want them to be a part of the school. We are working hard to eliminate barriers!

CSZ:Is there anything exciting or new we should be on the look out for from Blair's athletic department?

RB:Schools should be excited that we are coming for them. We plan on putting our best efforts out on that playing surface each and every time. And we have energy and good coaching and our priorities aligned so that we are prepared. That makes for a contender in every aspect of life, especially athletics!
July 14th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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