For 10-year Dupo teacher Jill Puckett, her new position as the Dupo Athletic Director is a sort of homecoming in disguise.
“I’m just really excited to be back at my home school,” Puckett explained.
The Columbia native and Gibault Catholic High School grad has been teaching at Dupo for 10 years, but has been coaching girls varsity basketball at Gibault for two years, along with junior varsity volleyball.
Puckett said even though she has continued to teach junior high and high school health and high school P.E., she has felt a sort of disconnect with her students as a coach in a different district.
“I think this is going to bring me back,” Puckett added. “I think it is going to be good for the school.”
That is because Puckett is stepping into a role previously occupied by Kraig Roth — who also serves as the district’s special education coordinator and is a teacher, as well.
She says she is looking forward to seeing how things can be done better, as she is better able to pay attention to the details and isn’t being pulled in as many directions.
“I know it’s going to be challenging, but I am always up for a challenge,” Puckett told the Republic-Times, adding that she is looking forward to taking better inventory and cleaning things up a bit, as well as improving things like the athletic banquet into a more formal awards ceremony.
“The community won’t notice some of the things, but the kids will,” Puckett explained. “And that’s what matters.”
Puckett, who began her new position on July 1, also comes into the 2013-14 school year alongside new Dupo football coach Tim Nelson — former Alton-Marquette head coach.
She said Nelson and some of the other coaches have inspired her and the athletic programs to connect with their students through social media — something the kids really seem to respond to. The football program, along with others, plan to set up program Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to keep the students and community up-to-date.
“This is so new to me, I’m pretty excited,” Puckett said.
Puckett will continue to teach health and P.E. as well.