Not only will Mount Baker have a new classification for the 2011-12 school year, it will have a new athletic director. As of Sunday, July 1, former Mount Baker Junior High principal Derek Forbes will take over the role from Brenda Terpstra, who has led the Mountaineers' athletic program for the past 10 years.
Terpstra will remain at the high school, but will move back into the classroom fulltime to teach Physical Education classes in Personal Fitness and Conditioning.
The move became necessary because of budget cuts in the district, Terpstra said.
"It is what it is," Terpstra said. "I love the Mount Baker School District, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to support the district. We all know budget situation is tough right now, and a lot of people have lost there jobs at school districts around the area. I still have mine, and if the worst thing is I have to go back and teach kids again, that's great. It's what I originally got into this business for, so that's not a problem for me."
Forbes moves to assistant principal, and part of his duties will be overseeing the athletic department. Steve King will be the principal for students in grades 7 through 12, and Byron Gerard will continue to be an assistant principal, according to an email from Terpstra.
"We're all going to have to take on bigger roles, but what's most important is we do the best we can for our kids," Terpstra said.
Terpstra said she has no plans to immediately get back into coaching, as she instead plans to focus on getting ready to teach class again and help Forbes in any way she can.
"This has been a great opportunity for me," Terpstra said. "There's been a lot of learning on my part as I've gotten to know the community in a different way, gotten to know the kids in a different way, gotten to know the coaches, the teachers and the administration. The biggest thing about everybody here is putting the kids first. Our coaches are very professional and do a great job for our kids. They don't get the credit they deserve, and at the same time they get a whole lot of blame they don't deserve."
During her tenure, Terpstra worked with athletic directors from around Whatcom and Skagit Counties to form the three-classification, 14-team Northwest Conference.
For the first six years of that arrangement, Mount Baker was one of the smallest Class 2A schools in the state, but starting this fall the Mountaineers will compete in Class 1A.
"It was exciting when we started talking about forming the conference," Terpstra said. "We were a little apprehensive at first, because we felt we had a good thing going with the old Whatcom County League. But the superintendents saw that times were getting tough and they came to us and said we need to do something to cut down on the costs and transportation. It was a lot of fun to work with a great set of athletic directors to do what was best for everybody. I think it's been a very good move, not just for the financial reasons, but competitively."
Terpstra leaves as the only female athletic director in Whatcom County and one of the few in the state.
"I've always been in the minority," Terpstra said. "It would be nice to see more women involved. We certainly know they're capable. Most of the women I worked with were excellent ADs, as were the men. The most important thing is if you care about the kids. But I feel I was treated really well."
Forbes could not be reached for comment on Monday, June 25.
"I know he's hard working and he's looking forward to this opportunity," Terpstra said. "I know he will do well."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2271.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.