Thomas Jefferson

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Athletically Inclined

Posted 10/31/2016 by Maddox Moran

Ann Rice shows her Spartan Spirit as new Athletic Director. photo by Mia Grijalva

TJ’s new athletic director is enthusiastic about joining the Spartan team.

The Spartan community is happy to welcome Anne Rice as its new athletic director this year. This position became available after TJ had an open spot as assistant principal, due to Mike Christoff rising to the challenge of becoming TJ’s principal. With former athletic director Andrew Skari changing roles to full-time assistant principal, TJ was in need of new leadership. This gave Rice the opportunity to be the athletic director of a very accomplished high school, and she is ready to take on the challenge.

Rice was born and raised in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from Missouri State University, as well as a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver. Rice was interested in becoming an athletic director because she grew up playing sports such as softball, soccer, basketball, and a bit of volleyball. In addition to her love for sports, she noticed that there weren’t many female athletic directors, so her hope was that if she became one, she could inspire more girls to be involved in athletics.

Rice began her teaching career in Independence, Missouri, where she coached varsity basketball and soccer and taught career and business classes. She loves snowboarding and being outdoors, which is part of the reason why she loves her job. She loves traveling and found that being involved with cultures all around the world can teach people about themselves. She decided to leave Independence, and transitioned to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to teach psychology and computers. Rice was named athletic director and the coach of boys’ and girls’ soccer, teams that made it to the national tournament and won second place. Rice’s experience in Bolivia taught her how hard it is for students who are in a completely new school environment to do things such as adapting to new languages and cultures. ”I think having that experience really taught me to emphasize even more with kids who just moved to the school, and don’t speak English yet,” Rice said,“I think living in Bolivia really helped me understand that, because I know that can be really isolating.” With a new, enriching experience in Bolivia, she set out for her new adventure: Denver. Her first educational role in Denver was a Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Electives Team Lead at DCIS at Montbello. She was also an athletic director there for three years.

Rice has been to many places, but TJ has been a whole new adventure. “Who wouldn’t want to come to TJ?” asked Rice,”It’s one of the best schools in Colorado. The athletics, the clubs, the family atmosphere. The teachers here, the kids here are so welcoming, smart and talented. It just draws people here.” Her future goal, not only as an athletic director, but also as an administrator, is to get everyone involved in some kind of extracurricular activity. “That doesn’t necessarily mean sports,” she mentioned, “but my goal is to get as many kids involved in as many things as possible. That might be a club, that might be drama or music or band. I want to see every kid involved in something.” Along with this, Rice is always working to help behind the scenes in athletics and academics alike. This includes showing up to all of the athletic events, as well as coordinating transportation, games, fundraising, and eligibility among other things. She is also an assistant principal and oversees the World Languages, Physical Education, and English Language Acquisition departments. Her favorite part of the job is going to all the sporting events, as well as seeing students achieve success on the field and in the classroom. Rice is ready to take on whatever the future may bring, and her presence in the building is welcomed by the Spartan community.