Ask the AD - Heather Podosek, Paint Branch High School

This summer, just like we did last 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 Heather Podosek from Paint Branch High School in Montgomery County! Heather spoke with us about a variety of topics, including what she enjoys most about her job!

Heather at work

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

Heather Podosek:I have been coaching at Paint Branch since 1998. When Hank Gallotta retired I gave it some thought of applying for the position- but I was not ready to give up coaching basketball. Good decision all around because my 2008 team went undefeated and won a state championship and Paint Branch was able to hire Jeff Sullivan, the new MCPS Director of Athletics, as their AD. He was an amazing AD and will be an amazing director of athletics!

When Jeff Sullivan was appointed the AD of Clarksburg, I decided that it was finally time to hang up my whistle and apply for the position. Giving up coaching students to coaching up our coaches was an amazing opportunity. I was appointed as the athletic director of Paint Branch in 2010. I am truly blessed to be a Panther for life!

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

HP:The number one biggest change is the technology and social media. Instant information is at the tip of our fingers and we have to be ready to deal with the impact from both. Each year there are changes and improvements in our education of coaches and athletes, our technology and paperwork for MCPS athletics.

As the athletic director you must be able to continue to learn and refine your program for the betterment of our student-athletes, coaches and community. Each year, with input from my coaching staff, administration and assistant AD, we re-evaluate our program and make changes to make athletics an amazing part of the high school experience. As our community changes, we must change to meet the needs of all of our stake holders- constantly learning, changing and improving! We must be able to reach all of our stakeholders.

CSZ:What do you enjoy most about your job?

HP:That's easy- seeing the growth, improvement and maturity of our student athletes on and off the field. It is such a joy to watch their development from ninth graders to graduating seniors! I love working with our coaching staff and our community! There is something very special at Paint Branch- a special bond!

CSZ:What're a couple keys to running a successful athletics program?

HP:Love for your job! Organization, communication and commitment! Be transparent, honest and hold your program above the line!

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

HP:Last year we were able to show a good deal of improvement in some of our programs that have had some struggles the past few years! Our field hockey and girls lacrosse teams saw success after slow starts and went deeper in the playoffs. Boys basketball made huge strides and our girls team battled tons of injuries to advance far into the playoffs. Boys lacrosse had a very difficult start but kept their focus and finished strong! Cross country and track graduated a lot of key athletes but were able to develop many of the younger athletes and do very well.

I am extremely proud of the toughness of all our teams and their commitment to bringing back the NEC Consortium cup to Paint Branch. It was the closest competition to date between the varsity teams from Paint Branch, Blake and Springbrook, and our teams battled to the end to win the cup!

CSZ:How do you view the athletic director's role within the community of a high school?

HP:The athletic department of a high school has the ability to unite, energize and support our community! We look forward to offering opportunities for all of our community members to be a part of the "Panthers", from contests, homecoming, clinics, camps and special events!

CSZ:Do you have any favorite teams or athletic moments from your time at Paint Branch?

HP:So many moments- as a coach winning our first regional title in girl basketball in 1998 at Blair and of course the two state titles for the girls basketball teams.

Some of my favorite moments as an AD are when we had our "End of an Era" final basketball game when we invited everyone from 1969-2012 to the game. It was amazing to be able to re-connect and here about what Paint Branch meant to them! Our first home football and basketball games because of the excitement it generated. Honoring the 1972 state football championship team! Then the special events we host through out the years.

CSZ:Is there anything exciting or new from the Paint Branch athletics department that we should be on the look out for?

HP:We have "re-branded" the Paint Branch Panthers and we are rolling it out the start of this year! Check out the new look!
July 18th, 2017By: Wick Eisenberg

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