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One of the first issues Ann Stewart will have to deal with on her new job is the issue she created.
Stewart was named the new athletic director at Los Alamos High School Thursday. She will take over for Vicki Nelms when she officially vacates her job July 1 to take a similar job in Clackamas, Ore.
Stewart is the Hilltoppers’ girls basketball head coach, but will be stepping down from that job to give her full attention to the AD’s office.
With summer coming up and summer being a key time for player development, there might seem like a rush to get that position filled, but Stewart said she’s not going to jump into any decisions.
“We’re not going to be in a hurry,” Stewart said of filling her soon-to-be old job. “We’re not going to pick whoever comes around. We’ve got things covered for the summer program. We want to find the right person for the job.”
Stewart holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Grand Canyon University and during her career in education has been a teacher and coach at several spots around the state, including Albuquerque, Bloomfield and Alamogordo.
She is also a 1991 graduate of LAHS.
Before Nelms’ departure next month, Stewart said she plans to pick her brain as much as possible.
Nelms was hired just before the 2007-08 academic year and has done much of the prep work prior to her departure, so Stewart said there won’t be a ton of urgent matters she will have to attend to in her first days on the job.
“Right now, most of the schedules are taken care of for next year,” Stewart said. “All of fall and winter stuff is taken care of.”
This year, Los Alamos is scheduled to move up one classification, to 5A, although the majority of this year’s 4A schools will be moving up as well.
Perhaps the biggest change Los Alamos will have is in its own district. Santa Fe will be moving from Class 4A to Class 6A. The vacancy created by the departure of Santa Fe will be filled by Albuquerque’s Del Norte High School.
During the summer, Stewart will meet with the school’s coaches individually to find out their needs, then have a general coaches meeting prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year.
Stewart came to prominence in the athletic department during the 2012-13 girls basketball season.
She took over the program after former head coach Tarah Logan departed abruptly that January, a position she held for all of last season, with the Hilltoppers going 13-16 last season and getting an at-large bid into the Class 4A playoffs.
Prior to that, she had a short stint as the Hilltoppers’ boys golf coach.
Now, running the entire department, Stewart said she’s ready to go.
“I’m obviously excited for the opportunity,” she said. “I’m anxious to get in there and get my feet wet. I’ll learn what I can from Vicki…but I’ve got big shoes to fill.”