Nearing the halfway point of his first year at La Crescent-Hokah High School, Josh Mallicoat already knows he made the right decision.
Mallicoat came to La Crescent from West Salem, where he spent a year as principal at the high school, to fill the assistant principal and activities director position. Before he moved to West Salem, Mallicoat worked as a high school principal in Iowa for eight years.
The biggest reason for Mallicoat’s move was to be closer to his children, he said, who both attend school in the district. His son, Ty, is a high school junior, and his daughter, Allie, is an eighth-grader.
Mallicoat said the La Crescent-Hokah position also offered him the opportunity pursue aspects of his job that he feels most passionate about, working with students and athletics. After spending almost 10 years working as a principal, Mallicoat said it was refreshing to get so much face time with students.
He said the La Crescent-Hokah administrators have done a lot to help him feel at home in his first year, and make an effort to collaborate with him. He said that Superintendent Kevin Cardille and High School Principal Steve Smith have both offered to cover for him at home events if he ever wants to catch one of his kids play.
“Quite honestly I couldn’t be happier to be working with the people that I am,” he said. “Both Steve Smith and Kevin Cardille are wonderful people and great leaders, and I really enjoy working with them and getting their perspective on things, and then also getting to share my perspective with them.”
The sense of support and welcoming temperament from district staff isn’t limited to the administrators, Mallicoat said, and the teachers and students at La Crescent-Hokah High School also get credit for creating the hopeful vibe around the hallways. He said it also didn’t hurt that the district passed a huge operational levy to start the school year.
“It certainly helps just knowing the community rallied around the school, and made a commitment and statement that said, ‘hey, our schools are important to us,” Mallicoat said.
It works out nicely that the most time consuming aspect of Mallicoat’s current position happens to be in a subject he has deep admiration for, sports. He was a dedicated high school athlete and went on to pitch some innings of college baseball.
“I’ve always enjoyed virtually every sport, and so it’s fun from my standpoint, being able to be involved in all components of the sports here,” Mallicoat said, saying he enjoys working with everyone down to the officials to the trainers.
He said he quickly learned this year how much scheduling goes into running an activities department, as he’s responsible for setting the details of each event.
“My approach is that I want to put on a good sporting event for the athlete and the coaches and spectators,” he said.
“There’s a lot of moving pieces, and I never really realized that as a building principal, how much work and detail goes into the athletic director position.”
Although scheduling keeps him busy, Mallicoat said he makes an effort to always be the places where he can help. That’s why you’ll find him at just about every Lancer home game.
“I’m at virtually every activity, for pretty much the whole time,” Mallicoat said. “ I don’t want other people having to deal with something that might come up at an event. I think it’s important for me to be there.”
Although Mallicoat was hired on an interim status, Cardille said the district plans to lock him down for the future.
“I think he’s been a great asset for us,” Cardille said, adding that the interim status was given because of the district’s financial standing at the time. “He came here because he wanted to be here, and I’m really glad about that.”