After six years at Kimball High, Joseph Graham is taking the next step in his career in education.
Graham will take the job as Kimball High’s athletic director starting with the 2020-21 school year. He replaces Ben Trombley, who is stepping down from the job because of family obligations but staying at Kimball High as a graphic arts teacher and coach for the track and field and cross-country teams.
For Graham, 29, taking on the job as athletic director is a natural part of his progression as a career educator who sees the value of athletics in the educational experience.
“I have a lot of background in sports and I enjoyed playing sports growing up. I knew that we had a need. Our athletic director was stepping down and I wanted to take on the challenge,” he said. “I wanted to take on more of an administrative role at the school. It’s a step I wanted to take to try to better myself.”
Graham grew up playing baseball and also played some football before graduating from Manteca High in 2009. He earned an associate degree in social and behavioral science from Modesto Junior College and received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he also earned his teaching credential for social studies. He returned to UOP to obtain his master’s degree in educational administration and leadership, as well as an administrative services credential.
While at Kimball High, in addition to teaching social studies and serving as chairman of the physical education department, he has been head coach for the freshman football team and assistant coach for the varsity baseball team.
As athletic director, Graham will manage coaches and schedules, interact with referees and Valley Oak League and California Interscholastic Federation officials, and be the liaison between the school and its student-athletes and their parents.
The job takes up about two class periods of the day, and Graham sees his new role as an opportunity to serve in a range of capacities.
“It lets teachers who want to get into administration, who want to work their way up to be assistant principals or principals, to take that stepping stone in order to get some experience to work their way up,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a learning experience, definitely, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and seeing how we can improve Kimball sports and make Kimball a better place to come play sports at.”
Among his initial tasks will be to coordinate the start of the 2020-21 sports season, which will be affected by COVID-19 and the resulting school shutdowns as Tracy Unified School District, along with schools across the country, strives to protect students from the coronavirus.
“I have been told that as of this moment, that summer practices and camps and everything like that that happen on campus are being canceled,” he said.
“I’ve been told by the principal that, hopefully, we can start doing practices when we get back in August,” Graham added, but he said that definitive word on when teams can gather again would come from the state and TUSD administrators. “Nothing is confirmed. Everything is up in the air.”