The Lion's Tale

Interim Athletic Director position filled

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Interim Athletic Director Becky Silberman sits in her office preparing for the upcoming school year.

Interim Athletic Director Becky Silberman sits in her office preparing for the upcoming school year.

Photo by Sophia Miller

Photo by Sophia Miller

Interim Athletic Director Becky Silberman sits in her office preparing for the upcoming school year.

Devira Friedman, Sports Editor

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Former physical education teacher Becky Silberman will be the Interim Athletic Director for the 2018-2019 school year.  This was announced on June 19 by High School Principal and Associate Head of School Dr. Marc Lindner announced in an email.

Last spring, former JDS athletic director Mike Riley was placed on leave after being charged with sexual abuse offenses. The abrupt job opening led Lindner and the rest of the administration to search for a replacement. The interim position was made available to JDS faculty and was eventually given to Silberman. In the fall, Lindner plans to begin the search for a permanent athletic director. 

According to Lindner, Silberman fits the position because she is organized and a hard worker. Lindner also values Silberman’s collaborative skills, which is especially important as her role requires working both with the JDS community and with other schools’ athletic departments. Additionally, she has already worked in the school’s athletic department for seven years and knows “what some of the priorities are for our athletic programs.” 

Senior Rayna Armon was coached by Silberman in basketball for the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 school years and agrees with Lindner that Silberman is a good match for the position. Similar to Lindner, Armon praises Silberman’s organizational skills, and she believes that Silberman will succeed because she makes an effort to spend time with students. 

“Athletic directors are not just the people behind the scenes but they are also people who come to games and shoot a ball,” Armon said. 

As Silberman steps into this role, she leaves behind many of her old responsibilities. While she will still coach girls varsity basketball in the winter, Silberman will no longer coach girls middle school volleyball in the fall. Although she is disappointed that she will no longer coach this team, she is excited to have the opportunity to watch all the other fall sports teams compete, which is something that her schedule did not permit in the past. 

As a result of scheduling complications, Silberman will no longer be a leader for the Mechitza Ashkenazi Zman Kodesh and will not teach any sections of middle school PE. She will, however, remain a grade advisor for the class of 2021. 

Silberman appreciates that this new role allows her to be involved with sports she previously had no experience with. 

“I know a lot of our student athletes but I honestly don’t understand the way most of those sports work, so it’s been cool talking to the coaches and learning about them,” Silberman said. 

Looking ahead to this coming school year, Silberman anticipates that the most challenging part will be staying on top of all of her obligations such as scheduling, ordering equipment and managing buses and coaches. Additionally, she is expected to represent JDS at meetings with other schools in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference

In addition to keeping up with the everyday responsibilities that come with being athletic director, Silberman has several long-term goals that she wishes to accomplish. She aspires to increase alumni involvement in the athletic program and wants to target “people who felt connected to athletics but not so much to other aspects of the school so they feel like they have a place to come back to.” 

One way she plans to achieve this is by creating an alumni basketball game in which former athletes can return to the JDS courts to play against current students. 

Silberman also wants to get JDS more involved in the larger Jewish community, which she hopes to accomplish by scheduling games in various sports against other Jewish schools such as Beth Tefillah in Baltimore. 

Finally, Silberman hopes to bring more attention to the athletic program and students’ achievements. She wants “to show off a little bit,” like on the new JDS athletics Twitter account, so that both people inside the JDS community and outside know what the students have accomplished. 

“Nobody knows who is breaking records in cross country and track, how many points people are scoring,” Silberman said. 

This school year, Lindner is looking forward to seeing the changes that Silberman will make to the athletic department. 

“[Silberman] has really good ideas and some vision for what the program can be and what it might become and ways for us to think about improving it and growing it,” Lindner said. 

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