Alexander High School Athletic Director, John Chandler, was kind of enough to take some time and talk about his high school, how he works, and how he uses technology to run an extremely successful Athletic Department.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m John Chandler. I’m an Assistant Principal and the Athletic Director at Alexander HS in Douglasville, GA. This is my 19th year in education.
What makes Alexander HS special?
I’ve never seen support from the community like I have seen at Alexander. All the stakeholders seem to love being a part of this place and this culture. Sometimes, it seems too good to be true that a place like this can actually exist, especially since It’s so different than my prior experiences.
Why’d you get into athletic directing?
I’m actually a “band guy” and chemistry teacher by training. I have always loved the public relations aspect of school administration. At a previous school where I served as an AP, the principal there had the vision that my personality and skill set would benefit athletics. The rest is history. Coaches seem to appreciate an AD who has absolutely no knowledge of their sport but all the knowledge of how to support them and create paths to make their jobs easier by doing all the “things” other than coaching. That’s what I do. At Alexander, I am grateful that I inherited a program that was wonderfully managed under the previous AD and principal. I just had to come in and add my “flavor” to the experience.
What’s the biggest challenge you face on a day to day basis?
My biggest challenge is having enough time to manage this high-profile program, tell all the good news, be an amazingly supportive assistant principal, and make sure that I am a present and loving husband and father. Time management is critical.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is building relationships with my athletes, coaches, and parents. It’s unreal how the kids and the community have embraced me and love that I celebrate them every chance I get. Kids will come up to me and tell me a story about something that they did well. Then I ask if I can highlight their story on our social media, and they just begin to glow with excitement. I try to give everyone their 15 seconds of fame.
How do you see technology continuing to be apart of sports, specifically at the high school level?
Everything now is driven by technology. Successful people find ways to leverage technology to capture and keep the attention of this generation. While I don’t use social media for personal use, I have found that it is extremely beneficial to use it for our Athletic Department. I have twitter and Instagram for our students, because those are their platforms. And I use Facebook for our parents. I post stories and highlights on all 3 so that everyone gets our message. The feedback has been incredible.
Is there something you like the most about VNN?
When Brandon met with me about VNN, I immediately saw the benefit of having a centralized hub to create stories, report scores, and generate revenue…all under one roof. The added benefit was saving time! By linking twitter and Facebook, I am able to post the stories on those platforms simply by creating the story on my VNN site. That’s been great. I also love the partnership with BoxOut Sports. Everyone thinks I am a graphic artist. Little do they know, those templates are amazing. Now my coaches are chomping at the bit to get involved in creating posts.
What’s the one thing you wish we could improve on?
Honestly, I don’t any points to critique or a wish list for things that could be better. I am getting exactly what was promised, what I asked for, and what I expected.
How do you communicate effectively with your coaches and teams?
I believe in instant access to me, so we often use text, GroupMe, and of course, email.
Anything else that you want to share with us.
If there is any school or AD who is on the fence about getting a website, I highly recommend VNN as a product to consider. The customization for cell phone adaptability is a major plus! Accessing information on a computer is not as pervasive as it once was, so a phone-ready website is the way to go. It will enhance and supplement your social media presence. There are no character limits, and it hits all your platforms at once. Plus, the advertisements generate revenue. That’s always a nice thing!
Thanks to John and Alexander High School for taking the time to answer some questions about how they operate their Athletic Department! Look for more of these interviews in the future.