By Brian Eller - firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Kenny Rinker admits his career was at a crossroads a few months ago.
After 32 years as an educator, Rinker knew he wanted to be involved in something outside the classroom, but still wanted to be involved with the students he's come to cherish.
Last week, Rinker found his perfect position. After serving as Central High School's assistant athletic director last year, Rinker was selected to become the Falcons' new athletic director. Rinker will take the place of Susan Flemming, who stepped down in April.
"I'm ecstatic and very honored and humbled that the administration at Central felt like I was the best candidate for the job," Rinker said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge, and it's definitely going to be a good learning curve for me."
Rinker has been involved with athletics and education for more than three decades, stretching back to when he would referee basketball games after his college days. Rinker's first teaching job was at Central, where he stayed for two years before moving on to jobs at Stonewall Jackson High School and Harrisonburg High School.
Following his stints at Stonewall and Harrisonburg, Rinker moved back to Central, where he has been a teacher for 23 years. During that time, the 54-year-old served as the school's head football coach, softball coach and then worked as a baseball and softball umpire.
Now, he'll take the reins of the Falcons' entire athletic program and oversee several sports with the help of his staff.
The job can be intimidating, Rinker admits, but fortunately for him, Flemming has been there to help make the process a smooth transition. Flemming has been involved with Central for more than 30 years and had the distinction of being the first female athletic director in Shenandoah County.
"Coach Flemming was one of the most organized individuals I've ever been around," Rinker said. "And me not being the most organized individual at times really makes me aware of the fact that I need to be more organized."
The tutelage Flemming has provided is something Rinker says has helped tremendously and will continue to help next school year. The two have already begun planning out the duties of the position on a month-to-month basis and this spring, Flemming has been giving some of her duties to Rinker, allowing him to get an idea for the responsibilities the position entails.
"Basically what we're doing is starting to go month by month and seeing what's required," Rinker said. "She's shown me and of course will continue to show me things, but right now I'm going through the transition. She's been a big help and [is] going to be a big help in the months to come."
In addition to a new athletic director, Central will feature a new head boys basketball coach this winter. Roger Wilkins announced he was stepping down around the same time Flemming made her decision, yet another challenge Rinker will face in his new position. He's ready, Rinker said, and despite the added responsibilities, excited to be in charge of the athletics.
"It's something I wanted to pursue," he said. "I've been in education for 32 years, been in the classroom for 32 years and I'm not ready to retire yet. I wanted to do something different than the classroom, and this opportunity will give me a chance to be involved with education and athletics."