NCHSAA
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4 Questions: A Conversation with…Debra Bryant

 

            Debra Bryant has served since 2004 as the athletic director at Lejeune High School, an NCHSAA member school located on the Marine base in Onslow County.

            Debra is an outstanding athletic director who also has to deal with some different situations because of the uniqueness of her school.  She has been a successful coach in various sports at Lejeune, including track and field and women’s basketball, and was previously been recognized as Teacher of the Year in the Lejeune schools.

          An avid racquetball player and 10-time N.C. state singles open champion in that sport, she is a graduate of Jacksonville High School who went to graduate from Jamestown College in 1984, where she played fast pitch softball, volleyball, tennis, ran cross country and was a varsity cheerleader! She later earned her masters degree at East Carolina.  She received the Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award from the NCHSAA in 2013.

 

 

You work at Lejeune High School, a Department of Defense school unlike many other member schools of the NCHSAA that are part of a local school system.  What are some of the primary differences in terms of how Lejeune operates as opposed to other NCHSAA member schools?

Our major difference in procedures from other member schools concerns the mobile nature of our students and their parents. We must be constantly aware of the nature of the service those parents are giving to military missions worldwide. Our mission involves implementing policies to help level the educational playing field for military children as they move from one state, or country, to another.  Our coaches also have to reapply each year for their coaching jobs.  It is called an extra duty assignment. The base security level may also be of concern.  For each level of security, the procedure changes for spectators to be able to access the base.   

 

What are some of the biggest challenges that you have to deal with at your school that may be unique due to the military presence, students coming in due to their parent(s) being stationed there, etc.?

Most military children attend schools operated by local education agencies, with varying policies that affect a child’s transition to a new school when moving from state to state. A national effort to address these issues has resulted in more than 40 states adopting the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The compact is designed to smooth out administrative issues involved in moving from one school to another, but it doesn’t address quality of education in any one school.

With the transient population, I often have a difficult time trying to get official transcripts in a timely manner. There are lots of different situations: a student may have transferred in with a block schedule and we have eight classes, accelerated withdrawals, many single families due to deployment can create a hardship for students attending practices or even participating on teams, students may have already participated in that sport for the year and family emergencies may take the family out of country.

 

What is your best memory of high school athletics personally, from your own involvement in them?

Lejeune High School has a very transient population.  Most of the time the coaches will not know who they will be coaching from season to season. A successful season to me is being able to coach a group of girls who are able to be competitive, have a winning season and also have fun doing it. Being a part of a women’s state track championship team, 11 conference championships and five regional championships, along with a women’s basketball regional and sectional champ are just a few of the highlights of my career here at Lejeune.   Lejeune was also the recipient of the Coastal Plains 1-A Wells Fargo Conference Cup in 2013-2014.  We had not won this award since the 1980’s.

 

In your limited spare time, what are some of the activities you are involved in away from athletics?

My time away from school revolves in large part around the North Carolina Racquetball Association, where I am currently serving as the president. I am involved with racquetball on the national level as the co-chair of the USA Racquetball Association Referee Director and serve on the national women’s racquetball committee.  As a participant in racquetball, I have won several state and national titles as well as Female Player of the Year.  I am also the Ektelon Regional Coordinator for North Carolina and South Carolina and the racquetball pro at Courts Plus.  I enjoy many different fitness activities as well as scuba diving, reading, knitting, crocheting, and stained glass.