Andrew Flaherty

The Milton School Board has hired a former Oxbow Union teacher and coach to serve as the district’s athletic director, starting July 1.

Andrew Flaherty accepted a one-year, $74,800 contract for the AD position, currently held by interim AD Trevor Wagar, a Milton High School physical education teacher and coach. This will be Flaherty’s first athletic director job at a public school, he said.

Flaherty currently teaches social studies at a high school in Sheldon, Iowa. There, he received his administrator’s license and also holds the same in Vermont, his résumé shows.

Board chairman Mike Joseph wouldn’t say how many applicants the search committee interviewed but confirmed Flaherty was chosen from a “sizeable, healthy list,” particularly for having those certifications.

“We feel it gives the person in the role a higher level of authority in making decisions,” he said.

Indeed, the school board has previously discussed elevating the AD to an administrator position, a concept trustees will discuss with incoming superintendent Amy Rex, who also starts in July. Flaherty’s admin license “allows us to look at that a little more closely,” Joseph said.

Joseph also appreciated Flaherty’s coaching background, which includes stints leading the Oxbow Union High School’s varsity girl’s soccer team, plus Upper Valley Lightning soccer in Norwich and Twin Valley hockey in New Hampshire. He also has collegiate experience, assistant-coaching the Dordt College women’s soccer team in Sioux Center, Iowa.

This gives him a “been there, done that” perspective, Joseph said, which will allow Milton coaches to learn from Flaherty’s experience.

Beyond that, Flaherty has served as athletic director for a Pennsylvania summer camp, where he did everything from preparing budgets to lining and mowing fields. He’s also been a classroom teacher for 7.5 years.

“An AD’s job is not an easy job,” Joseph said. “You’re basically an educator to these students that are now athletes. We wanted someone who can give them the experience they need from an educational perspective.”

Interim AD Wagar decided not to apply for the position, opting to return to his former role teaching P.E. since he and his wife have a baby on the way. He served on the hiring committee, however, and said Flaherty has the social personality needed to be a successful AD.

He thinks Flaherty will build relationships with student-athletes and push them to succeed. And if Flaherty needs help, Wagar said he’ll be just down the hall to offer guidance.

Flaherty said when he starts this summer, he’ll focus on meeting the community, including students who don’t participate in athletics. He doesn’t have any specific goals for his first year, saying he plans to review the student handbook and make a list of possible recommendations.

“Early on, it’s just settling in and getting a sense of the things the school does really well,” he said. “The first couple weeks is hopefully being in the halls a lot and getting names down, from teachers to students to parents. It will take a while.”

Overall, Flaherty vowed to be present and accessible and is looking forward to getting to know the town.

“Milton is a town that is ready to do a lot of good things,” he said, pointing to the Yellowjackets’ recent winter sports successes. “I’m excited about that.”