VISD superintendent Robert Jaklich talks about all things sports
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Victoria Independent School District Superintendent Robert Jaklich sat down with the Advocate to discuss athletics within the district.
He's a former basketball coach at San Antonio Holmes who transitioned into administration in 1994 so he could spend more time with his family.
As superintendent, Jaklich uses athletics to shape his view on running a school district, as well as an avenue to meet students, and stakeholders in the community.
He recently sat down with me to discuss athletics-related issues in the district, whether at the high school level or below. On the day we spoke, Jaklich visited with students at Aloe Elementary, where he won a four square competition.
Below are some of the best answers from an Oct. 19 conversation.
Will Brown:Why do you like to go to so many athletic events?
Robert Jaklich: One of the things I want to share with you is, if you look in my office - and I don't know if you have been in a superintendent's office previously to this - but when superintendent's come in we don't spend money on a superintendent. We put our money on campuses and in schools where we can support our kids.
But, we have to let everyone know that there is a new focus and a new administration. What we did here and what I wanted everyone to know is our focus is on "every child, every classroom, every day." Our commitment is going to be to the students of the Victoria ISD. So if you look on my wall, all you will see are pictures of students.
If you look behind you, all you will see are pictures of students. If you look on the side, you will see every child, every classroom, every day. What that reminds everyone is every decision that is made in this room, whether it's with our board of trustees, whether it's with our staff, whether it includes our parents, it all comes down to what are we going to do that is in the best interests of our students. .
If we make decisions in the best interest of our kids, adults will be happy. We have to remember, it's not about what's convenient for adults. It's about what's great for kids.
As a new superintendent, how do I know what's going of if I'm not out there, if I'm not seeing first-hand? How can I better support our coaches, our staff, our parents and our students if I'm not seeing what they are doing on a daily basis? .
When I go to events it gives parents an opportunity to visit with me, to share things, their concerns, or things we need to take a look at. It gives them access to the superintendent, which maybe they never had before. It allows me to learn the community and also to learn our family and friends in the Victoria ISD.
Brown: I bring up Harlandale ISD, because the first interaction a lot of people in this community may have had with you, or heard of the name Robert Jaklich, was back in April. Unfortunately, it was two soccer teams with two great seasons and someone's season ended. Do you think that was your introduction in some ways, and have people brought that incident up to you?
Jaklich: As a leader in any organization, you always have what you call defining moments. Defining moments, what they do is they don't make character, at that time, they display character.
As a superintendent, as a principal, as a coach, as a teacher, as any adult in an organization there are certain things you cannot control, they just happen. What you can control is how you deal with them.
I think it's really important to know we are going to do two things in the Victoria ISD: we're always going to do things right and we're always going to do the right thing. No matter what the difficult situation is, no matter what is brought to our doorstep that is not going to change what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.
Brown: When did you want to get into administration?
Jaklich: As you go through your life, one door opens and another door closes. I never thought I would be an administrator.
I loved coaching. It was a great job. I loved being a head basketball coach. Well, my son was heading into seventh grade and at that time I was a head basketball coach at a school where my son wouldn't be attending.
I had to make a decision: do we address and change our practice schedule, so I could go watch my son play his games, which were Thursday afternoons and then maybe bring in our basketball team on Thursday nights instead? Or do I want to say 'You know what? All these years, my family supported me in coaching and came to all my games.'
My son since he was 5-years-old was on the bench. He started off as the water boy, then he was the stat boy, then he did the book. He did everything else on the bench working with the kids, so he grew up around basketball. Now it was my time to say 'You know what, I really want to stay and focus on my son.'
I had an opportunity to get into administration at the time, it was a great offer. I went back to school prior to that to get my administrative certification, so I became an assistant principal the seventh grade year of my son so I could make all is games. I have no regrets. My son is now an assistant coach at the same school where I was the head basketball coach.
Brown: Facilities. There are some two nice gyms and some strong facilities in this district, but do you think there are areas for improvement for the athletic programs at East or West in your opinion, and what might those be?
Jaklich: Let's look at our district as a whole. You have to look at our stadium. We have an artificial turf, which in four, or five, years is going to be time to replace the artificial turf. So, we're already putting money aside to be able to save, so when that time comes we're going to make the decision to get the best field for our kids that we could possibly have. Now, that field may not be developed yet. It will be very interesting to see what route we go there.
The other instance we have is we have a track, but no lights. We have lights, around our football field, but we have no track. We have to determine is that is something we want to pursue. We are going to study that in the future, so we could hold track meets in the evenings, we could hold district track meets, we could have other schools hold their track meets at our facilities and that could be a way to generate additional dollars. There are some ways that we can take a look at improving down the line.
Most importantly, we have to not only take a look at our facilities for athletics where we are playing competitively, but we have to go our schools and look at our fields. We have to look at the opportunity for the community to use the fields that we have. How good are those fields so those younger students coming up have a place to play, be outside and practice their sports so by the time they get to high school and middle school they have the skills and opportunities to be successful?