New Laurel Schools Activities Director seeks to build strong foundation in schools, community

By 
Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, July 2, 2020
New Laurel Schools Activities Director Dominick Vergara brings experience and passion to the position with an eye on building trust and relationships in the district and community. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

New Laurel Schools Activities Director Dominick Vergara brings experience and passion to the position with an eye on building trust and relationships in the district and community. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

Incoming Laurel School District Activities Director Dominick Vergara is happy to be in Laurel and eager to be a part of Laurel’s sports legacy.

The Greeley, Colo. native moved back to Montana this summer with his wife and two–year–old daughter where he was working for Schwan Financial Group in Aberdeen, South Dakota as a marketing and planning manager.

Vergara was a three-sport athlete in high school and tried to walk on the football team at the University of Hawaii before transferring to Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD to play football. After graduating he student–taught and was football coach at Lead–Deadwood High School before taking a position in Thompson Falls, Mont.

“I applied to 60 high school PE and coaching positions before taking a job in Thompson Falls where I spent a year,” Vergara said. “I had always wanted to be an Athletic Director so I enrolled at MSU–Billings to study Sports Management for my Master’s degree.”

While at MSU–B he taught several Human and Health Performance classes as an adjunct professor and explored various AD options at the collegiate level. He spent three years traveling around Montana and Wyoming as an Admissions Counselor for Rocky Mountain College.

“I loved meeting all the kids. It was fun and I had high recruitment numbers,” he said.

Vergara continued to pursue his dream and was hired in Custer as the AD and K–12 PE teacher while commuting to night classes at RMC where he earned his second Masters degree in Educational Leadership.

He then worked at Elder Grove School as AD, Assistant Principal and Health Education teacher for two years before taking the AD and Transportation Director position at Miles City (Custer County) High School for two years.

Vergara said his most recent job at Schwan Financial Group was similar in some ways to being an AD because the job was team orientated.

He said he is thrilled to be in Laurel and wants to be here for a long time.

“I see the pride and passion in the schools and community that ranges from administrators and staff to bus drivers, custodians and secretaries. I’m here for the kids and the community. I consider myself a servant leader: I serve the Laurel community and the kids. I will work hard from 8–5 so the kids can play hard from 5–9.”

Vergara cites Hall of Fame collegiate basketball coach Don Meyer as a role model.

“He was the winningest NCAA basketball coach (until surpassed by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in 2011) and influenced other top coaches by leading by example. He said ‘always pick up trash’ and do the dirty jobs. That’s really big for me.”

Vergara said he is “a system guy” and doesn’t want to overhaul anything, just tweak things as necessary from year to year. He understands the importance of community involvement and teamwork within the school district and said his main goal is to build a solid foundation in the activities department.

“Life is a team sport and all activities are equal. I am focusing on trust and building relationships in the district and community. I want sustainability for the Laurel community and the kids by creating a solid foundation and building on what (former Activities Director) Roger Heimbigner has done. We need to get the right people in the right seats on the train.”

Addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s to come this fall he said, “We are planning as if it is a regular season. I want teams and the community to embrace a new competitive advantage and be in the best possible position coming into the fall sports season. I’ve been telling the coaches to control what we can control. We are following all the Montana High School Association and Yellowstone County health recommendations and I am in contact with the administrators on a weekly basis,” he said. “We had a good June after the facilities and fields opened for training and individual practice. We are using contact tracing forms at open gyms and practice and no kids have gotten sick.”

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Thursday, August 6, 2020
First Thursday, 5 p.m., City of Laurel Council Chamber
Monday, August 10, 2020
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