Thu, Sep 01 2011 02:08 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The San Diego Section’s search for a new commissioner ended Tuesday morning with the announcement that Sweetwater Union High School District athletics coordinator Jerry Schniepp officially had been handed the reins to the job.
Schniepp, 48, assumes his new position as the section’s top administrator for high school athletics on Sept. 1.
“I’m very excited,” Schniepp said. “It’s going to be a challenge. I realize that. But we have a unique opportunity to take a good hard look at how we do things in San Diego County.”
Dennis Ackerman, who served a 10-year stint as section commissioner, announced his retirement on Jan. 14. He will remain in office until Oct. 3 to facilitate the transition.
Schniepp was among six finalists for the job.
Among Schniepp’s first tasks will be to select an assistant commissioner and secretary for the local CIF office.
Bill McLaughlin, who served as assistant commissioner, retired in June.
Longtime CIF secretary Jeanette Brewer also has retired.
“Seventy-five percent of the section’s administrative office will be new,” said Schniepp, a Bonita resident.
In many ways, Schniepp sees this administrative changing of the guard as a new beginning for the section, especially in how it conducts business and is perceived throughout the region.
Schniepp feels he has a strong background of involvement in high school athletics to successfully fill his new post.
He has served as the Sweetwater district athletics coordinator for the past five years after previously serving in the same position in the Grossmont Union High School District.
Between those two jobs, he served as the principal at Santana High School. He coached the Helix High School baseball team from 1988 to 1997, winning one section championship in 1988, finishing runner-up in the CIF finals the following year and winning four league championship titles.
“I really like being involved in athletics,” Schniepp said. “When this job opened up in the Sweetwater district, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.”
Schniepp said nothing has been discussed at this point about his replacement as the Sweetwater district’s athletics coordinator.
“Right now, I will try to juggle both jobs,” he said.
As the San Diego Section commissioner, Schniepp’s primary responsibilities will be to carry out policies established by the San Diego Section Board of Managers and enforcing rules, including those concerning eligibility, transfers and recruiting issues.
Schniepp said one of the first priorities he will establish once he is on the job will be to form committees to review both the section hierarchy and its policies.
“I addressed several areas in my first interview that I feel we need to focus on,” he said. “My first plan of action is to form six or seven committees to deal with specific areas in San Diego County we need to look at.”
The San Diego Board of Managers currently sets the by-laws within the section. It is comprised of school district superintendents, or their designees . Schniepp said that arrangement is unique within the state. He said other sections’ boards of managers are comprised of coaches, principals, athletic directors and superintendents.
“The first thing we need to look at is the governance of CIF and see how closely it resembles the groups it serves,” Schniepp said. “We need to find out if our governing body accurately reflects our students and schools.”
A couple of other areas Schniepp said he is committed to addressing are recruiting concerns between private and public schools and finding ways to get more adult women and minorities involved in high school sports.
“We need to see if we need to change the ways we’re doing things or if we’ve been doing things right all along,” he said.
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