A 30,000 foot view: McKinney ISD Athletic Director, Jennifer Frazier
Many athletic directors have a straight and narrow path when it comes to the story of "how" they came to be in their position. Most played sports their whole life, became a coach, and slowly worked their way up to the top of the ladder in order to become an athletic director. However, not all athletic directors take that path. For McKinney ISD athletic director Jennifer Frazier, the path has been a winding road of navigating a career in athletics as well as raising three boys. VYPE DFW was able to meet with Frazier for an exclusive interview ahead of the school year.
Paths leading to McKinney ISD
McKinney ISD Stadium showcasing the three high school logos as well as the Mckinney ISD logo (8/17/2021).Shana Willeford (VYPE Media)
Before finding her way to McKinney ISD, Frazier began her career as a college basketball coach. From there, she left the college scene and entered the world of high school sports when she became the head basketball coach at Lake Highlands High School. After coaching at Lake Highlands, Frazier stayed at home to focus on raising her three sons, but she continued to stay busy. While raising her sons, Frazier started a select program as well as did contract work for various sports organizations.
Soon, Frazier decided that it was time to make a return to high school sports... that's when she found a home with McKinney ISD as a middle school coordinator. "Starting with McKinney ISD allowed me to be able to be with my boys, but also still allowed me to coach and influence young people- which is what I love to do," Frazier told VYPE.
Frazier is walking into her tenth year with McKinney ISD where she has served for some time as the middle school coordinator and seven years in an athletic director role. First, she was an assistant athletic director followed by an associate athletic director finally becoming the head athletic director about a year ago.
Time Management is Key
Working in athletics is not an easy career. Dedication to teams, coaches, athletes, and administrative work takes many hours and can sometimes require someone to give up the daily pleasures of their everyday life. For Frazier, however, managing an athletic career as well as a family required time management skills and being a disciplined person. "Checking yourself every day to make sure you have good work-life balance is important," said Frazier.
"The things that matter should matter every day. Prioritizing faith and family takes precedent over everything," she continued adding that her focus when she comes to work is to be great at what she does. "Every day when I come to work I try to be excellent at everything that I do in order to obtain the highest levels of success in everything that I can. It's a daily check and a daily grind."
Goals for 2021
McKinney ISD Athletic Director, Jennifer Frazier, poses infront of the pressbox (8/17/2021).Shana Willeford (VYPE Media)
After a season of uncertainty, getting back on track seems to be the common goal for many school districts across the country. Keeping kids healthy and focused while pushing towards the future is a shared desire. "Especially with COVID and coming out of COVID, I think- more than ever- our kids need to feel like they are a part of something," Frazier noted. "They need to have a sense of identity. I think that sometimes it's what helps get kids out of bed and encourages them to come to school in the morning."
Ultimately, Frazier would like to help McKinney ISD maintain an incredible atmosphere for their students then focus on competition. "Being a competitive individual and a coach at heart, I think it's obvious that we want to have success on the athletic field and athletic court," Frazier said. "But even more importantly, we want these young people to grow as individuals. You can gauge success in different ways. I'd like to make sure that we are continuing to offer incredible programs and hire coaches that are going to connect with our kids as well as want to bring value to them as people. As long as we can continue to keep the ship moving forward, then I think those things are going to continue to happen for us."
Strengths of McKinney ISD
To truly run any organization well, it has to be an organization that you are willing to buy into; a program that you're willing to dedicate time and effort to. Frazier has proven that she has no problem doing so. Some might argue that one of the strengths of McKinney ISD's athletic department is the time and dedication Frazier has put in to make sure everything continues to run smoothly- operating the McKinney way. However, Frazier believes that one of the biggest strengths of McKinney ISD athletics are the coaches.
"We have an incredible group of people. Obviously, we think our coaches have great skill sets, but they truly are just incredible human beings," Frazier said with a smile on her face. "I'm constantly reminded about how much the coaches care about our kids. They do things for our kids that most people don't know. A lot of times coaches can be judged by how much playing time a kid is or isn't getting, but a lot of people don't see what goes on behind closed doors. You don't see how coaches are always checking on students to make sure they're ok, feeling supported, and know they have someone in their corner."
Frazier went on to note the various athletes she got to talk to at McKinney ISD's fall sports media day. Even the students have expressed the way their lives have been impacted by McKinney ISD athletics. "Talking to some of the athletes was a wonderful reminder for me that we are just so blessed here at McKinney with our coaches."
The Benefits are Plenty
There's no doubt that Frazier does everything in her power to give every moment a special part of herself. She works hard, takes nothing for granted, and continues to be a force that others can look up to as well as be proud of. All of that is beneficial enough in and of itself, but Frazier was able to highlight quite a few more benefits of her role. "It's pretty cool to sit at the top and be able to watch all eight of our campuses succeed. I'm able to see the stories that you wouldn't always get to see if maybe you weren't sitting in my seat," Frazier told VYPE. "Hearing about those kids that are struggling with something, but because. a coach came up beside them or maybe they were able to finally be a part of something and how it has changed the trajectory of their lives is special."
On top of all being able to watch students' lives change for the better forever, Frazier says a huge benefit to her role is being able to see McKinney ISD blend with the community around it- after all, isn't the sense of community one of the things that sports are all about? "I get to see how friendships and working relationships make the community stronger," Frazier said. "It's something that I like to call a 30,000-foot view. I get to see a lot of things that you don't always get to see when you're at ground level."
McKinney ISD athletics has absolutely benefitted from Frazier's service to the community thus far and it's a safe bet that they will continue to sharpen their skills with such a strong leader backing them and supporting them in all that they do.