Lysa Falge graduated from Port Townsend High School (PTHS) 32 years ago and began working as its assistant athletic director three years ago, but this is the year she takes over from Scott Wilson as its athletic director.
Although Falge left the state after graduating from Washington State University, she returned to Port Townsend 10 years ago to raise her family with her husband, Ben.
“Port Townsend was such a great place for me to grow up in that we decided this was what we wanted for our kids,” Falge said, “a place in this beautiful area of our country, surrounded by water, with a small and unique community that offers such diversity and creativity.”
Of their three children, the oldest graduated from PTHS in 2016, while the middle child is a two-sport athlete entering junior year, and the youngest is an eighth-grader and student of dance instructor Ling Hui.
BACK ON THE FIELD
“After moving back, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get back to the football field, where my interest in sports started when I was the statistician for my high school football team,” said Falge, whose previous seven years as an athletic trainer, at three separate high schools, came in handy when she started volunteering those same services on the PTHS football field in 2010.
It was through this work that she met Wilson, who interviewed her for the new position of PTHS assistant athletic director in 2014.
“Over the last three years, we have made a great team in promoting Redhawk pride,” Falge said. “One of my goals is to continue the great program that’s already been put into place. I don’t believe you can say it any better than Scott did; we work for the best interests of the kids.”
To that end, what Falge anticipates most eagerly is the culmination of several plans that she described as “percolating” for the past couple of years.
“As a start, I’d like to introduce our new official online store for Port Townsend High School,” Falge said. “With our relatively recent change in mascots, we’ve had a limited number of opportunities to offer official Redhawk gear for our community to purchase, but now we have an online store where you can pick an item, choose a design and customize it.”
The store also offers home delivery, and can be found online at: tinyurl.com/y8m77t2k.
Among Falge’s other aspirations are to create a “bridge” program, connecting the district’s middle school and high school sports “from Herons to Hawks,” as well as putting into place a smaller online merchandise store for Blue Heron School, for which she has served as the athletic director since 2014.
“I’m also aiming for increased Redhawk community outreach and participation,” said Falge, who serves as an adviser to 15 students who are involved in the Redhawk mentor program, helping freshmen make a successful transition into high school. “This helps promote Redhawk spirit throughout our school and community.”
Falge plans to support such feeder youth programs through collaborative events with the schools, as well as to continue encouraging all students to participate in interscholastic athletics and activities.
“Research shows that students who participate in extracurricular activities have better attendance, improved health and well-being, and better grades in school,” said Falge, who freely acknowledged the difficulty of implementing “all the great ideas that come my way.”
Falge nonetheless expressed confidence that she could carry out these goals not only with the existing level of support she has from school staff and administrators, but also with the degree of support she hopes to grow among parents, volunteers and other community members.
“It really does take a team,” Falge said.
One challenge that Falge knows she faces is the prospect of recruiting coaches.
“We live in an area that’s far from larger populations of people, who have experience and are willing to dive into the full commitment of coaching,” Falge said. “So I’m dedicated to finding younger and less experienced people to add to the mix, and getting them the training and mentoring skills to become effective coaches. It takes time to become good at anything, and coaching is one of those skills.”
For all the obstacles that lie ahead, Falge looks forward to stepping up to the next level of doing a job that she already loves.
“Not only do I get to work with amazing, interesting kids and dedicated adults every day, but I also get to support and promote the town that helped raise me,” Falge said.