Edmonds-Woodway’s Angie McGuire new school district athletic director

(Photo courtesy Angie McGuire)

When the Edmonds School District was looking to fill its open position of athletic director, it didn’t have to look far. Angie McGuire, the longtime athletic director for Edmonds-Woodway High School, has been hired to replace Julie Stroncek, who retired after nine years as the district’s AD.

McGuire has been with the school district for 25 years, teaching English at the high school and also serving a stint as head coach for girls basketball. She has been the Warriors’ athletic director since 2011, replacing then Edmonds-Woodway AD Stroncek when she was promoted to lead the district’s athletic programs.

“It will definitely be a shift,” McGuire said, especially after working exclusively at EWHS for so long. “I have loved being there coaching, and teaching English full-time when I started was my dream job,” added McGuire, who is an Edmonds native and also graduated from Edmonds-Woodway. “Moving to this (new) position, once again for where I’m at right now, it’s 100% my dream job — it’s exciting.”

McGuire played basketball and volleyball at Edmonds High School and then at EWHS after Edmonds and Woodway high schools merged during her senior year.  She later went on to play college basketball at Western Washington University. In addition, her husband teaches in the Edmonds School District, where their three teenage children also attend school.

In 2015, McGuire established an athletic hall of fame at Edmonds-Woodway, which recognizes notable athletes, coaches and teams throughout the years from all three of those schools.

Angie McGuire stands in front of the school history display located outside the EWHS library. (2015 file photo)

“I’m a product of the Edmonds School District, so I’ve always felt very fortunate to be able to teach and coach and be an athletic director in the community that I’m from and the district that my own kids are a part of – that meant a lot to me and I can’t imagine doing this anywhere else,” she said. “I’ve spent 25 years dedicated to building and supporting programs in this community and I just have a huge passion for athletics and what it gives our students,” she said.

McGuire believes one of the most important aspects of sports is the lessons that participants learn, which they can then carry forward in life. “You learn how to work with other people, make new friends, work together and take feedback constructively, and you learn to work hard even when you don’t want to,” she said. “I think as educators we see it — we see those skills transfer into other areas of students’ lives.”

She added, “My passion is how we can provide programs that are meaningful and positive, where we look at the whole child and help them grow into the best people that they can be.”

After a year of disruptions and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McGuire acknowledged facing a challenging situation in her new job and said she feels those experiences and lessons that athletics can provide will be particularly important for students. “Any of our middle school students this year, they won’t even know what middle school sports look like or feel like, so that’s going to be a huge thing to get off the ground I think for our district,” she said, noting that high school sports at least had an abbreviated season this past spring.

“Last spring was so challenging to run three sport seasons in a semester and so when I look to this year, I take a deep breath and I think, ‘Thank goodness we have full length seasons,’” she said. “Right now the challenge is the unknown and if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last year it’s just kind of being flexible and being able to adjust to what’s happening in Snohomish County.”

For this upcoming school year, “(We’re) really just wanting to encourage students to come out for sports, especially our non-cut (rosters) sports where anyone who wants to be a part of them can,” McGuire added. “I’m really hoping that we see our participation numbers go up, especially because we will have full seasons to offer our students, which is really exciting.”

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) governs secondary education athletics and school sports in Washington state. Regularly scheduled full seasons for sports are currently planned to be reinstated beginning this fall at both the middle school and high school levels. The WIAA is expected to release its updated health guidelines for participating in sports prior to the beginning of the school year.

“I think the biggest challenge is waiting for information to see if we would need to make any changes, but overall I’m really optimistic about our students being in school and having full- length seasons,” McGuire noted. “I felt very fortunate that our high school students had that (abbreviated spring season for sports) last year, I’m really excited about getting our middle school sports back up and running.”

Besides providing life lessons, McGuire said another important element sports offer “is getting our kids moving.” Participation in school athletics can help students “get them back active and moving and feeling good” after more than a year of dealing with the pandemic’s effects, she said.

McGuire added that students shouldn’t be wary of going out for sports this year even if they haven’t participated in them for some time.

“I think the big message that we send has to be it’s OK if you haven’t played a sport in a couple of years and your skill level you might be unsure about it or you might have some hesitation,” she said. “That’s normal for all of us after this pandemic when we return to things we haven’t done in a while. But I’m really hoping that that doesn’t deter students from participating because our coaches recognize that and they’re going to be ready for it and make it a good experience for students.”

Providing support for coaches across all of the grades throughout the district will be a priority and “just focusing on making this year as great as we can for student athletes,” McGuire said. “These students have been through so much that our focus (has to be) their social, emotional health – having fun getting out there and competing with their friends.”

McGuire said her predecessor Stroncek helped prepare her well for the demands she will face as the school district’s athletic director. “She was phenomenal, and so it’s a huge honor to take over that position and I just am really grateful that I had the opportunity to work with her for so many years,” she added. “She’s got big shoes to fill but I feel that I’m up for the challenge.”

Stroncek served as a good example of how to fairly approach the district’s various schools located across its individual communities,” McGuire said. “All of our schools are different, high schools and middle schools, and so I think I look to her, the way that she led and would hope to do the exact same thing and really be invested in each community in a positive way and be supportive in building programs,” McGuire said.

While McGuire relishes the opportunities of her new position, she said it is also somewhat bittersweet. “I have loved being in the high school and I have loved teaching and working with students every day, that part about it I will definitely miss,” she added. “I’ve always had a huge passion for teaching, I have a huge passion for athletics and it will be really nice to just focus all of my energy in one area…so I’m excited about that.”

She noted that being the school district’s athletic director presents her with an opportunity for expanded outreach. “The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is really being able to work with the coaches and help support their programs and support their student athletes in their communities,” McGuire said.

— By Nathan Blackwell

  1. You’ll do a terrific job, Angie. You get kids! You work hard and you’ll also be fair to all sport programs. I like your attitude about simply getting kids moving again, post pandemic. Lucky Edmonds School District.

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