BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Not only is Ben Fry familiar with southeast Iowa’s athletic and fine arts programs, he has family in the area.
Fry is set to be approved as the next Fort Madison Community School District Activities Director at the district board of directors next meeting on June 21.
Fry will be replacing outgoing AD Jeremy Swink on July 1. Swink’s last day will be June 30.
The hiring was released Monday afternoon in a statement from FMCSD Superintendent Dr. Erin Slater. Swink announced his resignation 18 days ago.
Fry is the current Activities Director in the New London school district where he has been for the past four years. He is also a 2009 graduate of New London and has high school and collegiate coaching experience, was a four-sport athlete in high school and participated in fine arts programs at the high school, community, and professional levels.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Central College in Pella, and then a Master of Education in Athletics/Activities Administration from William Woods University in Fulton, Mo.
A public reception to welcome Fry will be held June 14 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the FMCSD Central office.
Fry is also the step-son of current Holy Trinity High School Principal Craig Huebner, and his mother Bobbi is the vocal music teacher at Danville High School. Fry said the Holy Trinity Catholic connection will prove valuable in his new role.
“It will be incredibly advantageous. Fort Madison and Holy Trinity Catholic have developed a great relationship over the past few years and have sharing agreements in several of their activities,” Fry said.
“Our ability to work together will help us to provide more quality opportunities to our student-athletes. On top of that, I see even more room for collaboration and growth in the future of both Fort Madison and Holy Trinity Catholic.”
Fry’s lack of an education degree has given him a different perspective on teacher relationships as AD.
“To be honest, that was an area I took for granted early in my career as an Activities Director. I was so focused on establishing my relationships with our coaches and athletes, that I neglected the educators that spend time with the students throughout the school day,” Fry said.
“Over time I have gained a deeper understanding of the educational process in its entirety. The relationships I can build with the educators will only help to reinforce all of the work that our coaches and directors are doing in our extracurriculars.”
As someone who participated in both athletics and fine arts, Fry said he’s impressed with Fort Madison’s assembly of extracurricular options and said his job as AD will be to help each coach and director develop and achieve at a high level.
“I look forward to the opportunity to work with each of these individuals and continue to build on the solid foundation of both the athletic and fine arts programs together.”
Fry thanked the community, administrators, and educators at New London, including Chad Wahls, Scott Kracht, Todd Palmatier, Jon Munford, Allison Lair, Deb Scott, and Jessica Boyer, for their guidance over the past four years.
Initially, he said he wants to sit down with each athletic and arts program director and discuss the current state of the respective programs, including improvements, plans and wish lists for the future.
“My plan is to work with each coach and director to help create an individualized plan for each program to help them get to a higher level,” Fry said.
“My job is to work with all of our staff members to help them achieve at a high level. Whatever I can do to help them, I’ll be jumping at the opportunity.”
Fry’s wife Morgan grew up in Mt Pleasant and currently works for Great River Health in West Burlington. The two have been married since July of 2013 and have a 3-year-old daughter and are expecting a baby boy in July. They currently live in New London.