LAKE MILLS — Classes are set to commence at Lakeside Lutheran High School on Monday, meaning plenty of first-year students will officially be Warriors.
New activities director Todd Jahns has something in common with these freshman.
No, Jahns will not be enrolled in English or Algebra.
But he will be in a new place and in a brand new role.
After over 25 years teaching, the bulk of which came at Jackson Kettle Moraine Lutheran, Jahns is now an administrator for the first time.
He has officially been on the job for a month and used the summer to get acclimated with Lakeside’s culture, staff and students.
“I feel somewhat comfortable with the way things go here. There’s a real positive vibe and a there’s a real love and care for the school among the people here,” Jahns said. “Now moving forward, the next biggest thing is just make sure everything that has been done and everything the school does continues on without interruption. Kirk (DeNoyer) just had a great system in place and people know what they’re supposed to do. Making sure there is no drop in service or responsibility is my biggest concern right now that we continue everything as is.”
After five years at KML, Jahns took over the boys basketball program and posted a 268-174 record, including a WIAA Division 3 state tournament berth which was the first in school history.
Time as a coach prepared Jahns for this position. It also taught him what really makes a successful leader or coach, and it isn’t who can preside over a swing offense or point out holes to penetrate in a zone defense.
“In your younger days, you think you know everything and are going to make these big changes. You learn that it’s a business where you build relationships with kids,” Jahns said. “It’s not anything one person does or that the coaches are the guy with the smartest offense or most creative play. A coach is the guy who is a mentor to his players and who develops relationships with his players and coaches. Together, they work through a season and try to make something good happen. I learned 10-15 years in, every coach wants to win more then the next guy and that was me.
“You learn there’s more to high school sports then just winning. High school sports are still part of education. This falls in line with my philosophy as activities director. Kids have to benefit, grown and learn intangible lessons about life by playing sports. I don’t think there’s a better way you can do that. You are teaching kids to be young adults. When you put that as a priority along with competing and playing to the very best of your ability, giving maximum effort, as a coach you gain a measure of contentment that you don’t often get if you only make winning your goal.”
As activities director, Jahns will get to blend his love for sports and teaching.
“For me personally, I am looking forward to a new challenge,” said Jahns, who recently moved to the area with his wife. “I’m a 30-plus year veteran teacher but I feel like a freshman going into the hallway. I’m in a new school I haven’t been in and a new role I haven’t been in. It’s fresh and exciting. Instead of stagnating in a position and doing the same thing over and over. I get the opportunity here, and I feel very blessed with that, to go into a new role in something that I love. I love sports and teaching and I get to combine them and look at things from more of an administrative role then just the education side of it. Instead of just leading a basketball program, I now get to lead a basketball program, an athletic department and the activities of a school.”
On the field, court or course, Jahns can’t help but be excited for the new things to come such as the annual rivalry with Lake Mills.
“The excitement of being here,” Jahns said of what he is looking forward to this school year. “When you learn things and see things being done differently. It’s been shared with me the healthy, competitive and friendly rivalries that exist between Lakeside Lutheran and Lake Mills. I have not had that before so I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”
Jahns is excited to share his past experiences and continue implementing an education-based experience in sports for current and future Warriors.
“I’m hoping to use the experience that I’ve had as a player in high school and college, as a young teacher and as a coach for many years and share those with the people here,” Jahns said. “Work with them to provide an education-based experience in athletics that kids will remember and learn and grow from. That’s why we are here.”