Steve Emmert to succeed Larry Johnson as SHHS AD

Junior High Vice Principal Steve Emmert will be Sweet Home High School’s new athletic director and assistant principal next school year.

He succeeds Larry Johnson, the man who inspired much of Emmert’s career. Johnson will retire at the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

“Larry Johnson was my seventh-grade PE teacher,” Coach Emmert said. “From that time on I would say he’s always been one of my mentors. I’ve admired him and respected him as a person,” the job he has done and the impact he has had on Sweet Home’s youth. “Seeing someone do that job well made the job appealing to me.”

Emmert, formerly an English teacher and volleyball coach at Sweet Home High School, took the junior high position because that was the job that was available when he earned his administration credentials.

“I’ve really loved it,” Emmert said. Now in his second year there, he has enjoyed working with the junior high staff, Principal Hal Huschka and the students.

“Hal’s become a good friend,” Emmert said. “I feel like I’ve learned a tremendous amount under his leadership. Quite truthfully, the high school is where my kids are, and the high school is where the majority of my background is, and it is the age group that I enjoy the most.”

Coach Emmert enjoys new challenges, he said. When a door opened up for the athletic director’s position, he knew it wouldn’t open up again soon.

“Like any new job, the learning curve will be huge,” Emmert said. The junior high job presented a steep learning curve last year, but this year has been much easier. At the high school, though, “Larry’s done such a great job for so many years, I think initially, nobody going into that job will look good.”

Johnson is leaving a hard act to follow, Emmert said.

Emmert coached under Johnson for many years, he said. Johnson knows coaching and “my hope is to continue to do things the way Larry has.”

Emmert loves athletics. He had spent 17 years coaching volleyball.

“I think they’re an extremely valuable part of our education system.,” Emmert said. “I think athletics are what keeps some kids in school.”

Emmert has enjoyed getting a glimpse of his new job by taking on athletic director duties at the junior high, and he is looking forward to working with juniors and seniors, attendance and discipline issues and overseeing the facilities.

“I look back now, and as much as I miss coaching, I understand why things worked out,” Emmert said.

He was involved in coaching the Sweet Home volleyball program for 15 or 16 years. He was varsity coach for seven or eight years before becoming an administrator, who are not permitted to coach district teams.

“I’m really proud of (Coach Heide Nichol),” Emmert said of his successor. “She has done just a phenomenal job with the program.”

Emmert has taught for 18 years, starting with one year in Medford. He took a six-year hiatus while he was an associate pastor at Community Chapel.

“I learned some things to help me in the job that I wouldn’t have had, had I just worked in the classroom,” Emmert said. That included working with adults and collaboration as well as administrative duties. In the classroom, unfortunately, there is not much time to collaborate with other adults. He also learned teamwork and leadership skills there.

That has helped him at the junior high where his position as vice principal, was a team position. Leadership decisions there being made with the principal and counselor.

“I think Pat runs the high school in a similar fashion, a lot of teamwork,” Emmert said. That’s one reason he never pursued elementary school administration, which is mostly a solo job. “I like teamwork.”