New AD meeting challenge of pandemic, new school

This Summer, the SJC community welcomed Dennis Hart to fill the role of Athletic Director (AD). Mr. Hart filled the role after former AD Coach Griffin made the move back to IMG Academy in Florida. Prior to SJC, he served as the AD for at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania his alma Mater. Before he became an AD he spent time coaching the basketball and baseball teams at St. Joe’s, teaching history and being the department chair, and serving as the Dean of Students. His passion of sports along with his interest of leadership made him want to be an AD. 

Being from Philadelphia, where he’s lived all his life, Mr. Hart wanted to take a new professional challenge which is why he came to SJC looking for a new adventure. The city was enticing to him as he’s been to DC many times. He also loved the amazing history and competition that’s in the WCAC as his former school competed against Good Counsel, DeMatha and Gonzaga in non-conference competition.

He also wanted the chance to work in a coed setting as well as getting the chance to see his daughters go to high school (his daughter Olivia is in 10th grade at SJC and his other daughter, who is currently a 7th grader, will be a freshman here in 2 years. He was also intrigued about working in athletics as a mission driven school that teaches leadership, achievement and service along with the opportunity to lead the storied athletic program at SJC. 

Transitioning to a new school can be challenging at times. Hart described the transition as energizing since its a new school and, even though there is a pandemic going on, he’s believed ever since getting the job this where he was meant to be. While athletics aren’t the same during pandemic he’s proud of how the students and staff have handled themselves as they’ve gotten the chance to come to campus to workout.

Even though COVID-19 has caused adjustments in daily life, Hart has seen it as the opportunity to get creative while finding ways to engage the students while challenging themselves to compete, build camraderie and develop confidence. In terms of challenges of adjusting to DC, it’s been a challenge at times to learn the area especially because of restrictions and his daughters having to adjust to meeting new people virtually through distance learning at new schools. Other then that Hart is excited for the opportunities that will occur as the year develops on.

Outside of school, Hart is a huge sports fans especially of Philadelphia teams. He also loves the outdoors and is very active. He considers himself a huge music fan of all types but he hasn’t listened to much country music yet.

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