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Activities Director Arkfeld Stepping Down

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

Scott Arkfeld has resigned as Glenwood Community High School activities director and assistant principal, effective at the end the current school year.
Arkfeld, who has served in his current position for six years, handed in his resignation on Feb. 17. It was accepted by the Glenwood School District Board of Directors at their monthly meeting on Monday.

In an interview last week, Arkfeld, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, said he felt like the time was right for him to step down.

“My daughter is a freshman in high school this year in Papillion and I was not able to make it to as many games as I’d been able to,” said Arkfeld, who lives in Papillion. “(GCHS Principal) Kerry (Newman) has been very flexible working with my schedule, but obviously, sometimes you can’t be flexible because I do have a job to do. This year has been tough. I think after six years, it just sort of caught up with me. ”

Arkfeld stopped short of saying he was “burned out” but did say he was definitely looking to lighten his work load.

“The hours, the drive, being away from home, it can be challenging,” Arkfeld said. “It’s a demanding job but I knew that coming in when I made the switch six years ago. I just feel at this time, with me not willing to move to Glenwood, I guess it’s best I give the opportunity to someone else who will be able to do the job.”

Arkfeld said living in Glenwood was never a part of the job, nor was it requested by the district when he was hired.

“But it is common sense that being part of the district is being involved in the community,” Arkfeld said. “There’s things you have to do to be visible. And I said from day one, if me not living here ever becomes an issue or hurts my ability to do my job effectively, I will step down. I don’t think it has. I think I put in the hours and effort I needed to, but I think if I had continued to stay here I would not have been able to do that effectively. I guess that’s where I made the decision to step down.”

Arkfeld said he has interviewed for other positions in the Omaha-Metro area but does not have a new job lined up. Ideally, he said, he would like to find a position in middle school administration in Omaha or Papillion. Arkfeld's wife is a teacher in the Papillion School District and both of his children attend school in the district.

In Arkfeld’s six years as activities director, the Rams have seen significant improvements in it’s overall athletic and extracurricular activities and in facilities. When Arkfeld took over, Glenwood ranked near the bottom of the Hawkeye 10 Conference Sportsmanship Rankings. Glenwood was near the top of those same rankings this past season. The school won its first ever state baseball crown in 2010 and followed that up with a state track title in 2011, it’s first in over over two decades. The girls and boys basketball and soccer programs have also made significant strides. Both the boys and girls soccer teams qualified for state last year, and the girls basketball team made their first state tournament in over 30 years this past season.

“The state championships are awesome,” Arkfeld said. “But I hope I’ve established some consistency in the programs with accountability and equity and a sense of pride in all activities. I think we’ve brought in some great coaches and that shows in the success.

Arkfeld's biggest regret? The Glenwood football program.

A former standout quarterback at Harlan and head football coach at Omaha Brownell-Talbot, Arkfeld had hoped to invigorate a Ram football program with just two state playoff appearances all time. The Rams reached the post-season just once in Arkfeld's six years as AD, losing in a 2009 sub-state game.

“Football sets the stage for the atmosphere at the start of your school year and your fall sports. Cross country does well and with that, it really helps. But that’s not your ‘Friday Night Lights,’” Arkfeld said “You hate to put one sport above another, but in reality, that’s the one the student body is involved in. And having a student body wanting to go and expecting a win is something I wish we could have had here in football. Hopefully it will get there. Just not in my time.”

But beyond the success on the field and the court, Arkfeld sees improvement in the number of students he sees having “good experiences.”

“Winning is important, but it’s not as important as good experiences the kids have,” Arkfeld said. “I’m hoping that is one thing the coaches will learn from me, that the kids have positive experiences while learning how to play the game. And the wins will take care of themselves.”

The district is currently advertising internally for Arkfeld’s replacement. Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray said he would prefer to seek a candidate from inside the district before pursuing outside applicants.

Arkfeld himself said he would like to see the district consider Jeff Bissen, current dean of students at the high school.

“I hope Jeff applies,” Arkfeld said. “He has that passion and he’s similar to me in the aspect he works hard and doesn’t want to go home until things are taken care of. He believes in professionalism and he’s a hard worker.”

Embray said finding a suitable replacement for Arkfeld won’t be easy.

“Scott has been a very valuable team member to the district and he’s provided a lot of good leadership for the district in terms of moving our programs forward,” Embray said.