HARWICH ─ An online search and an extensive athletic background led Karen Guillemette to a new adventure, one she is most excited to begin. In a few weeks, Guillemette will venture to Cape Cod to become the interim Athletic Director for the Monomoy Regional School District.
“Being an AD has been a career goal of mine for the past two years,” said Guillemette, who was chosen for the post from among more than 30 applicants. “It's something I've been working towards.”
As part of her long list of athletic accomplishments, which include competing in high school and college sports, as well as a master's degree in physical education, Guillemette has been an assistant AD for seven years with Bishop Fenwick, a private Catholic high school in Peabody.
She has been with Bishop Fenwick for the past decade, where she has taught health and wellness while serving as the department chair. She has coached varsity girls lacrosse and soccer, and is currently wrapping up her final season with the team. Prior to her employment at Bishop Fenwick, Guillemette was the head women's soccer coach at Wheelock College.
What drew her to Monomoy was the chance to help the athletics department there shine.
“I just think it's such an amazing opportunity, with it being a new school, and a clean slate to put a stamp on a program,” Guillemette said. “Those kinds of opportunities don't come along very often.”
Although her focus has primarily been off-Cape, her initial experiences in her new district have been positive.
“It's a great community,” she said. “It seems like the high school and middle school are heading in the right direction. It's such an exciting time for them as a school, let alone as an AD for both schools. It seems like a great time to be getting in down there.”
Monomoy Principal Bill Burkhead said the school is equally enthusiastic about Guillemette, who will succeed former AD Brendan Case, who resigned suddenly roughly a month ago. Burkhead said Guillemette made a more than favorable impression on the hiring committee.
“One characteristic I base a quality hire on is the reaction, opinions and energy of the hiring committee to an applicant once they've interviewed,” he said. “In Karen's case, the representative group on the committee was excited, enthused, and thoroughly impressed with Karen's philosophy on athletics, her demeanor, her vision and how well she represented herself. The reaction in the room was one of unanimous excitement and agreement.”
Burkhead added that Guillemette's history spoke volumes.
“Karen has worked with and for some of my former colleagues in the AD world,” he said. “I reached out to a few whom I know and trust and the feedback was the same about Karen: great moral character, enthusiasm, strong work ethic, well organized, a 'people person,' lover of sports and doing what's best for kids. All indicators point to Karen as a visionary leader, who will take our athletic program to the next level.”
While Guillemette will miss coaching, and said she has “thoroughly enjoyed” her time doing so, she is ready for the next step in her career.
“I'm ready to take an active role mentoring coaches, mentoring student leaders,” she said. “I'm at a point in my career where I'm ready to hang up the whistle and take on some new challenges. I'm very excited to get started and make my mark.”
Because Guillemette is finishing out the 2016 season with her soccer team, Kathy Andrews, former AD of Chatham Middle School, is filling in.
To ensure stability within the athletic programs at both Monomoy Regional High School and Monomoy Middle School, both of which Guillemette will oversee, Superintendent Scott Carpenter said in a letter to district families that her contract runs through June 2018.
“I am quite confident that her background and enthusiasm will serve us well for the next 20 months,” he said. “And hopefully long beyond that.”