Scott Pierce thought he had served his final school year as an athletic director.
But an opportunity at Baxter High School turned out to be too good to turn down.
“I was pretty adamant about getting out of the AD world. But once I saw this come open, they worked with me on giving me some other things that I enjoy, too,” Pierce said. “I love it so far. I feel valued and trusted already. I think I’m going to really enjoy it here.”
Pierce took over as Baxter’s Activities Director on July 1. He also will serve as the school’s strength and conditioning coach, at-risk coordinator and teach one period per day of athletic enhancement (PE).
Pierce begins his first year at Baxter in the same building as a familiar face. He graduated from Grinnell High School in 2007 with Baxter Elementary Principal Zach Hasselbrink, who also has coached several years in the district.
Pierce played quarterback for Grinnell and then advanced his football career to Iowa Central Community College and Graceland University.
Pierce’s first official teaching role came in 2014 when he accepted and served as a physical education teacher for six years at Perry High School.
During his six years as a PE teacher, he also was the school’s strength and conditioning coordinator. He was the head middle school football coach for one year and was a high school assistant coach in track and field, cross country and soccer.
Pierce spent the past two school years as Perry’s Activities Director.
“That position restricted things that I absolutely love,” Pierce said. “The tie-in between athletic director and multiple positions was a big selling point to Baxter. I get to teach one athletic enhancement class and they’ve already trusted me to take over the strength and conditioning program, which is my passion.
“I also get to be a success coordinator. That gives me the opportunity to work with students one-on-one even more.”
Pierce said he started doing some of the strength and conditioning stuff in June and then went to three days a week in July after his temporary move to Grinnell.
Pierce and his wife Hannah hope to eventually buy or build a home in Baxter. They have two young daughters — Hattie (3) and Millie (1).
“I am transitioning into the AD role. Once you do it for a few years, you know the job, but now it’s all about policies of each school,” Pierce said. “Every school is different. I have a ton of help. Things are super smooth so far.”
His top priorities in his first year as Baxter’s AD are to understand the systems at Baxter, start building relationships with the coaches and getting to know the staff.
He also wants to transition the athletic schedules from rSchool to Varsity Bound.
“I’ll plan to update rSchool for this full year,” Pierce said. “To ease the parents’ hearts about the situation, at least they will still be updated.”
When it comes to coaching, Pierce will focus on his role as the school’s strength and conditioning coach.
He wants to eventually advance the program so the elementary and middle school aligns with the high school. And he wants to split the high school into boys and girls and do his best to keep families in town when it comes to strength and conditioning.
“It’s the one thing I feel like I can bring to the district,” Pierce said. “I know they are going out of town for (strength and conditioning), but I hope by offering it to them here it becomes a one-team aspect. It will be a process.”