High School hires new athletic director

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Tue., Feb. 22, 2011
New SWHS Athletic Director Christine Wanner stops by the SWHS fitness center while it is being rearranged to accommodate new equipment. Photo by Martha Marteney.
New SWHS Athletic Director Christine Wanner stops by the SWHS fitness center while it is being rearranged to accommodate new equipment. Photo by Martha Marteney.

Effective Feb. 5, South Windsor High School has a new athletic director, Christine Wanner. For nine years, Wanner worked at SWHS in the health and physical education department. She will continue to be the curriculum coordinator for the department, but will no longer teach.

“I think it will be good to have Chris in the position,” said SWHS principal Daniel Sullivan, “because she’s been at South Windsor a long time.” He also noted that she has a vision for the athletics department, and demonstrated that she can set high expectations, as seen in the physical education department.

The position of athletic director has been in flux for the past two years. Retired school administrator Greg Ziogas filled the position on an interim basis for the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, so that Wanner could finish her teaching responsibilities for the fall course schedule. “There’s just been so much change in the position over the last two years,” said Wanner. Ziogas is now the interim principal at Manchester High School.

“I’ve always been involved with athletics,” explained Wanner, who was an athlete in high school and college, and has coached Little League teams. “For me, sports is a huge path for where I’ve headed in my life, and through my life. As athletic director, she feels she will be able to contribute even more to the success of the student-athlete. In her new role, Wanner has already found that she is speaking with parents more.

“I think the communication piece is critical,” she explained. “We have some really wonderful coaches on our staff,” said Wanner, “who are committed and there for the kids.” She plans to hold pre-season meetings with all the coaches in order to draw the coaches together more as one team. She would like to see more uniformity on practice routines as well as the procedures for nominating all-state players, for example.

Sullivan supports Wanner’s goal of creating cohesion of the teams as one department. “There’s something to be gained by having people working together,” he said. He envisions that the coaches will be able to learn more from each other and support one another.

Wanner appreciates being able to take on the role of athletic director as a woman and as a female-athlete. “It’s a way to be a role model,” she added. With just a couple weeks on the job, Wanner said, “I’ve been learning a significant amount, and I’m enjoying it more and more.

For now, Wanner is learning the various facets of the position, which includes wrapping up the winter athletic season, organizing the spring athletic program and scheduling the spring games and practices. The role of athletic director has been a change, both mentally and physically, as Wanner is no longer in spending time in the gym with the kids, which she loved, but is more in an office position.

Wanner is also working on the scheduling for the fitness center. SWHS recently acquired three half-racks for weight training through the school’s budget, and the class budget donated 10 pieces of cardio equipment. The fitness center is available for any team athlete, both in-season and off-season. It is also used by the physical education staff during the day. On April 1, the Parent Advisory Council will host an auction at Nomad’s Adventure Quest to benefit the fitness center.

According to Wanner, the transition has been smooth, because the coaches knew she would be the new athletic director and have been keeping her in the loop. Also, she explained, “There’s a comfortable respect that everyone has for each other.” She has also been in a somewhat directive role as the curriculum developer.


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