KEY MOMENT – The well-traveled Herrera family gathered in the key at Landy James Gymnasium during a break in a recent Lady Braves summer workout. From left to right are: Alex, 26, who plays basketball professionally in Germany; Kathy, the new La Conner Middle & High Schools Assistant Principal and Athletic Director; Makayla, an incoming eighth grader; Chris, a State champion hoopster at his alma mater Ignacio High in Colorado; and Morgan, coming off a solid sophomore campaign with the Ignacio Lady Bobcats. – Photo courtesy of Bill Reynolds
b here last week more than a thousand miles from where she had worked since 2005. She already feels right at home. Formerly a teacher, coach and administrator in southwest Colorado, Herrera launched a new career July 2 as assistant principal and athletic director at La Conner Middle and High Schools. She hails from Ignacio, near the famed Four Corners, and where the Southern Ute Tribal Council offices are located. “Ignacio could be a sister city to La Conner,” she says. “This is a perfect fit for us.” It helps that she and husband Chris lived in the Pacific Northwest when he served in the Navy at Bremerton aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz. Now they are back, with two daughters, Morgan and Makayla, who will attend La Conner Schools, and a son, Alex, 26, here until August before departing for Europe, where he is a pro basketball player. Another son, Nicholas, 20, is employed in the oil industry in West Texas. Herrera is looking forward to the dual role with La Conner schools, one that will require her to multi-task on a daily basis. On the administrative side, Herrera says she will work with Principal Todd Torgeson in areas ranging from instructional leadership to student conduct. “My goal,” says Herrera, who was an elementary school principal at Ignacio, “is to build relationships with parents and within the community to help our students reach their potential.” That was Herrera’s hallmark with Ignacio, where she was known to don a Dr. Seuss hat and administer oaths to students prompting them to read more. Herrera was also a successful track-and-field coach at Ignacio, where her charges included seven-time Colorado State Meet placer Michelle Simmons. Prior to that, she played collegiate basketball at Mesa State in Grand Junction, Colorado and the University of Central Florida. Sports administration, with its focus on scheduling, budgeting and supervision of programs, has long intrigued Herrera. “I’ve always wanted to be an athletic director,” she says. Herrera was an interested observer during a recent Lady Braves’ basketball session at Landy James Gymnasium, where her daughters began learning head coach Scott Novak’s system. Makayla is an incoming eighth grader. Morgan is coming off a sophomore campaign at Ignacio where she averaged nearly 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five steals per game. “The girls are liking it here,” says Herrera. “This is the first time they’ve moved, and they’re acclimating really well.” Which, for the Herreras, is truly a family thing.