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Home Schools Rye Schools Board of Ed INTERVIEW: Rye's New Athletic Director, Susan Reid Dullea

INTERVIEW: Rye’s New Athletic Director, Susan Reid Dullea

Susan Dullea Rye High School Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics

(PHOTO: Susan Reid Dullea, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Credit: @RyeAthletics)

In May, Rye schools welcomed our new athletic director. MyRye.com sat down – virtually of course – with our new AD and asked her questions about her career, what she likes to do with her free time and what it is like being one of a handful of female athletic directors.

Your name: Susan Reid Dullea, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, Rye Schools

MyRye.com: Tell us about sports in your own life and the influence of one of your mentors, Martha Slack.

Dullea: Sports played an integral part of who I am today, as a person. The lessons learned of character, compassion, challenges of winning and losing, as well as my personal style of leadership, sport shaped me. As a role model, Martha Slack has been a consistent mentor and friend. Martha served as director of Health PE and Athletics at Massena HS (my alma mater). Not only was she my AD as a student, she continued to be a fixture in my life. As I progressed in the world of athletics, she has always been there as a support. I certainly wouldn’t be the AD I am today without her constant influence.

Most athletic directors are men. What has your career journey been like as one of the handful of female A.D.s?

Dullea: As an Athletic Administrator of 16 years, I am not defined by my gender certainly, but in my ability as a leader. I have never felt “different” as colleagues as certainly have supported me for my actions not my gender. Yes, as a female, we work in a male dominated profession however, my journey has been positive. It is my hope that I can encourage more young professionals to join our profession.

You have spoken about broad student participation in athletics and the desire to start a student athletic advisory committee. Tell us more.

Dullea: I believe in order for students to feel a true connection to their experience in interscholastic athletics there has to be more than “just” their experience during their season(s). As the leader of the department I want students to know me and I them. A Student Athletic Advisory Committee is a great way to empower students and their HS experience.

What drew you to Rye?

Dullea: Rye is a strong academic and athletic community. The importance of the word “student” is essential. In the small time I have been here I can see the processes in place, the overall community support, and the structure of the leadership is motivating. As I begin to meet staff, students, and community members, it amazes me how much love there is for the school. The line “In Pursuit of Excellence” is clearly a standard that this “community” strives for.

What are your three top priorities for the 2020-2021 school year? And broadly, what is your approach with dealing with the myriad of unknowns related to the pandemic? 

Dullea:

  1. Complete my entry plan- It is essential that I get to know the needs of the community.
  2. Establish relationships with students, teachers, and our coaching staff. A little more specific to the people I work with most.
  3. Complete an overall assessment of the athletic department from present policies, facilities planning (short and long term), and financial responsibilities to name a few. In order to set benchmarks it is important to know where to begin.

My approach to the pandemic: One day at a time-, unfortunately we do not have control of when interscholastic athletics may begin, only the Governor along with the DOH guidelines. As of now there are no interscholastic athletics permitted, with a start date of September 21st looming ahead. No matter what happens, it will be important for us as leaders to be support our students locally.

Most people have followed the recent Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ activity and news in Rye and around the world. What is your prescription for students, teachers and staff? How can the schools – and athletics – make the best positive contribution?

Dullea: Athletics is a great opportunity to look at key opportunities regarding citizenship and leadership. I do not think there is a “prescription” per say however, athletics provides a platform to look at many social issues and what “we” are doing as a department to contribute. The SAAC I mentioned would be a great committee to look deeper upon our core values as a department, and what “we” can do to educate and support the global picture.

By your own description, an athletic director has huge demands on one’s time including evenings and weekends. In the moments you get some free time, what are some of your hobbies and passions?

Dullea: Free time- yes when you do your job to the best of your abilities, there is little time for down time. In my 16 years, I have certainly learned it is about balance and trying to keep that balance for physical, emotional, and mental health. I obviously have a love for sport so I do enjoy attending events, especially college level sports. I love to keep active and workout, and take the outdoors in any chance I get. My family and friends are important to me so of course any opportunity to spend time with them is my priority!

Have you been to the Rye – Harrison football game?

Dullea: I have not been to the game. As the Section One Football Chair I however I am very aware of the “event”.

How much Garnet gear do you have already?

Dullea: At this time, I have limited gear, but my wardrobe is growing. As an Athletic Director it doesn’t take long for your wardrobe to turn to athletic gear!

Thank you, Susan! Welcome to Rye!

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