Toppenish’s Tuttle is new Quincy AD
Kaycie Tuttle, an instructional coach for the Toppenish School District, is the new assistant principal and athletic director at Quincy High School.
The decision was announced last week, and the hiring of the 32-year-old Tuttle as a first-time athletic director and vice-principal stunned some, not least of all Tuttle herself.
“I was shocked and excited,” she said. “I didn’t feel I did well in the interview and in the writing process.”
Tuttle said that she felt some candidates had “a leg up” on her, in terms of experience, and declared herself relieved that it hadn’t hurt her chances.
Tuttle beat out Andrew Craig of Rathdrum, Idaho, Scott Swartz of Othello High School, and Matthew Tait of Waterville High School.
Tuttle will start as athletic director and vice-principal on Aug. 1. A graduate of Eastmont High School, Tuttle went on to graduate from Eastern Washington University and earn her teaching credentials at Washington State University.
Tuttle said she had always wanted to be an athletic director.
She added that her first preference is to live in Quincy, but if home-hunting fizzles, she might commute from East Wenatchee for a bit.
“I hope to find a place in Quincy sooner than later,” she said, “Because there’s going to be a lot of long nights and early mornings and I don’t want to have to drive a half-hour like I did the past two years.”
Tuttle commutes from Yakima to her work in Toppenish. She said she didn’t think changing her loyalties from Toppenish to the Jacks would be too much trouble, since she wasn’t in Toppenish too long.
“I was only there two years, so I didn’t get the chance to know a whole lot of people,” she said.
First task for the new AD will be to meet with the coaches, she said. She will also work with outgoing athletic director Bill Alexander, and that will help her plenty, she added.
Asked what she thought made her the chosen candidate, she said she had no idea. “I think the community really appreciated what I had to say at that social thing,” Tuttle said of a meet-and-greet at Quincy High School the week before the announcement. “That helped me out a lot.”
Superintendent of Quincy schools John Boyd highlighted Tuttle’s time as an instructional coach, and what that will mean for Quincy’s staff.
“She will be able to coach teachers and help them grow as professionals,” Boyd said, adding that the feedback from the community at the meet-and-greet spoke well about Tuttle.
Tuttle replaces Alexander, who held the job for more than two decades.
“I will do everything I can to help the new athletic director be the best athletic director she can be,” Alexander said.
Asked about whether replacing one of the longest-tenured athletic directors in the league with a first-timer gave him pause, Boyd said that what gave him confidence is that Alexander will help mentor Tuttle one period a day for a year.
“It gave us flexibility in the hiring process, knowing that this person would have one year to learn under Coach Alex,” he said. “He wanted to take a step back and pay attention to his health but he’s very invested in making sure that athletics are running well.”
Tuttle, Boyd said, will have her work cut out for her, but “at some point you gotta give people with potential an opportunity,” he added.
Tuttle said she would like to imitate Alexander’s longevity on the job.
“This is my dream job,” Tuttle said. “I don’t plan on leaving any time soon. If they will have me that long, I will stay.”
Tuttle is a runner who has wanted to be a teacher since she was in kindergarten. Her great-grandmother was a teacher, as well as one uncle and one aunt. She’s the only teacher out of three sisters, one who lives in Spokane and another in East Wenatchee.
“The thing I love about teaching is to see the lightbulb go off,” she said. “That ‘a-ha!’ moment when the kid gets a skill that they didn’t have before.”
Tuttle said she looks forward to learning and trying something new.
Her internship at the middle school level included some athletic-director work, so she’s familiar with some of the tasks, “but not at this level,” she said.
“We think she has potential, we think she has the right background and experience to be successful with some support,” Boyd said of his new hire. “We feel good.”
— Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org