For any school district, the focus and ultimate success of its athletic program depends greatly on the leadership provided by the district’s athletic director. This year, that leadership is being provided by a new athletic director - Jose Esquivias.
Originally from San Diego, California, this is Esquivias’s third year teaching at Primero. “The highlight of my 10 years of coaching is leading students and developing a youth football organization that served over 150 football participants and over 30 cheerleaders,” says Esquivias. “That youth football organization went on to win the San Diego High School Region Championship, placed second in the state playoffs, and berthed playoff bids for two years. The results of this success created a second wave of playoff appearances, with players developing into positive citizens that care about their community. I have also worked in athletic youth development programs at various locations ranging from for-profit to nonprofit organizations.”
Primero K-12 Principal Blake Byall is confident that Esquivias is the perfect addition to the administrative team in the district.“Jose is the embodiment of dedicating oneself for the greater good. You find this drive and passion in certain political figures, leaders of social-change groups, and religious zealots, but it is much more rare to be seen in public education employees,” says Byall. “Everything this guy does is borne from the desire to improve those around him, and in so doing, raise the level of the entire entity in which he is a part.”
As an already-established presence at Primero, Esquivias has been able to develop several clear-cut goals for the 2019/2020 school year. “Primero is an outstanding school. I am thankful that I get to work with a supportive and talented staff. The following are the goals that I have outlines for Primero’s athletics:
— Increase participation in all activities and athletics.
— Involve athletes in the community through service, contributing to the greater good of society.
— Enhance player safety through wise nutrition choices, such as utilizing the salad bar during lunch time. “Food at Primero is PAID FOR all students and staff,” says Esquivias.
— Keep athletes safe.
Esquivias has been able to draw upon his existing knowledge of the students at Primero and the school culture in order to construct goals that are geared specifically towards each of the district’s grade level cohorts. “The current high school cohort of athletes has overcome great challenges, and has an opportunity to rise up and build Primero into greatness,” says Esquivias. “We have continuity with our high school volleyball coach Josette Andrews, a powerful core of football players, and a new, expanding cross country team under the leadership of Mike Duran. We also welcomed our new middle school and high school cheer coach Kristen Alfonso, and our team has been walking around as if they were hit with a lightning bolt, such great energy!”
Middle & elementary school sports
“Last year, the middle school athletic program increased student participation in football, volleyball, basketball, and track. We are now looking to establish cross country and wrestling teams,” Esquivias states. “Our middle school sports teams have incredible promise, and we have key players waiting to be leaders as we look towards the future.”
One of the strategies that Esquivias is implementing is building momentum in the middle and elementary grade athletics programs, developing athletes with the budding skills necessary to perform competitively in the higher grades. “The elementary school will register a volleyball team, basketball team, and a wrestling team this year. The continuous training that is provided by Primero has established success for these impactful programs. In addition to the student participation making this valuable, we have an amazing facility that sits as a gold mine in the middle of the mountains.”
“Our program is going to adapt a ‘It’s not about me, it’s about the team,’ mentality as our students learn to help others and get better,” says Esquivias. “I am excited about this year, and I look forward to our new wave of students, our new gymnasium, and our returning students, especially the leadership being provided by our senior class. Primero been steadily investing in our athletics programs, and the 21st Century Grant at our school has been the driving factor. As a part of this program, last year we started our Wrestling Club, Soccer Club, and our Training Club. This year, we will be adding our Youth Volleyball Club. Youth Development is going to be the key to our competitive success,” says Esquivias.
Secret weapon —community support
Esquivias also plans to tap into one of Primero’s secret weapons for success this season — the fans. “Family and friends of Primero’s athletes have accelerated their support in the past few years, and we look forward to having more and more fans come to cheer at our games. Everyone is the area is welcomed. We have upgraded our concessions and look forward to utilizing our new gym to enjoy volleyball and basketball games.”
“Our community has been extremely supportive of our recent development, and we want to be sure to thank all the local businesses that have contributed to these efforts” says Esquivias, who recognizes that the success of the athletic programs go hand-in-hand with the success of academics and other extra-curricular activities as well — with an emphasis being placed on developing well-rounded student leaders. “We would like to invite everyone in our community to attend all of our events, including our science fair, elementary musicals, and our middle school and high school sporting events,” says Esquivias.
“We are looking for Primero Alumni to sign up for an Alumni Club; if interested please email your name, year graduated, sports played, and any accolades to firstname.lastname@example.org. WE BARK TOGETHER.”