Duvall the new face of BHS athletics

Annette Duvall was introduced as the new athletic director of the high school Thursday at the school board meeting.  She is replacing Neal White, who is retiring after spending 30 years as a high school coach, teacher and athletic director.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Annette Duvall was introduced as the new athletic director of the high school Thursday at the school board meeting. She is replacing Neal White, who is retiring after spending 30 years as a high school coach, teacher and athletic director.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

The Redmond AD will replace Neal White, who is retiring in June.

As long as Annette Duvall can remember, she always wanted to be part of a kindergarten through 12 grade school system.

“I have always wanted to be in a one high school public school (district) on an island,” she said. “When those opportunities open, you gotta go for them because there’s not that many around.”

Now, she’ll see her dreams become reality as Duvall is the next athletic director of Bainbridge High School.

Duvall, 44, was introduced Thursday as the new hire at the school board meeting at Blakely Elementary.

She will replace Neal White, who is retiring at the end of the school year after spending over 30 years in high school athletics and administration, including the last 23 with BHS.

“I am thankful” for the opportunity to be at Bainbridge, Duvall said. “I want to be part of the direction that Bainbridge is going towards the future.”

Duvall is currently in her fourth year as the athletic and activities director with Redmond High School, a 4A school in the Lake Washington School District.

She also spent three years as the athletic director at Cedar Park Christian in Bothell and five years at the Bear Creek School in Redmond, both of which are private Christian schools in the 1A classification.

Duvall also coached soccer for 20 years at the high school level and even spent a few years as a basketball coach at Issaquah High School.

She also serves as the president of the executive board of the Sea-King District and also served four years on the board and as president of the Washington State Secondary Athletic Administrators Association.

Duvall made the decision to switch jobs because she wanted to be more involved in activities instead of just focusing on athletics, and get more involved with the administration instead of feeling split apart from them.

She also wanted to be part of a K-12 system that feeds into one school rather than be spread out amongst several schools in a district.

While the new job excites her, she doesn’t want to get caught up in living up to White and what he’s done at Bainbridge.

“I love Neal,” she said. “I have the most respect for him, (but) I’m not Neal. I’m sure that’ll be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what it is and who you’re talking to.

“I appreciate and respect the legacy he has at Bainbridge,” she continued. “I hope I have as many years here as he has, if I could project the future. I’d love to be here as long as Neal has been here.

“His legacy and him staying (as long as he did) indicates what a quality place this is, because he’s a quality guy.”

Principal Brent Peterson said her selection came thanks to her extensive experience as an athletic director in other schools.

“She’s been very successful as an athletic director in a big, complex program at Redmond,” he said. “That was a big point in her favor.

“She also has a strong history of success as a coach. We’re excited she can relate to coaches and have that perspective of being a coach.”

What really excited Peterson was how Duvall makes the student-athlete her number one priority.

“Not only when we interviewed her, but talked to others that she’s worked with, they all said the student-athlete is the focus of the program,” he said.

What Duvall hopes to bring to the table is to continue that focus on the student-athlete and keep the high quality with all the programs involved with the school.

“I’m very passionate and very interested in making sure that the programs that I lead compliment the culture and the climate of the community that I’m representing,” she said. “I’d love to be able to take the components of those and build something that’s complimentary and an extension of the educational system in activities and athletics.”

She also wants to work with everyone in understanding the rules.

“I look forward to fine tuning some of the policies and process(es) that go on in schools so that coaches are protecting themselves with liability,” she said. “Today’s time with an athlete is different than it was 15 years ago. It’s not so much about X’s and O’s. There’s a lot of things that come into play.

“I want to make sure they enjoy the X and O part because they’ve got those (other) things taken care of. They’re protecting themselves. If something happens, they have a phone number they can call somebody. Just paying attention to process and detail and organization.”

She also feels strongly about increasing opportunity for everyone to participate in athletics or activities.

“It’s the most important thing to them and I want it to be the best experience it can be because they have four short years to have it,” she said. “That’s where my passion truly lies is in making sure that happens.”

As soon as school ends in June, Duvall wants to be on the island meeting with coaches and working with them in their respective programs.

“I’m not so nervous,” she said of the new experience. “It feels right. It’s going to be a very healthy situation. I’m looking forward to it.”

Peterson said he’s confident that Duvall will make her mark at Bainbridge and deal with the various issues she’ll face, including a possible move back to the Olympic League or staying in the Metro League.

“We’re feeling very fortunate to have someone of Annette’s caliber join the team at BHS,” he said. “It’s a great addition and we’re real optimistic about it.

“Neal left the program in great shape and now Annette gets to pick up the ball and move it forward.”

White said he feels good about Duvall being his replacement.

“I’ve known Annette for quite a while,” he said, referring to numerous conferences they’ve been at and in their dealings together as members of the Sea-King District. “She’s great. She’s got a huge background (in administration) and great experience in the position. I think very highly of her.

“I feel very comfortable with her taking over and I think our coaches should too. She’s a real good people person and she’s really hands on. I think she’ll do a great job.”

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