Kyle Williams returns to Brookline


Contributed by 2005 Murivan Yearbook

Kyle Williams played baseball in Brookline during his elementary and high school years. He later returned to the Public Schools of Brookline to work as a paraprofessional and physical education teacher before returning this year as athletic director.

In an office, barren of decoration and boxes still stacked in the corner, newly appointed athletic director Kyle Williams sits already at work. Although his position may be new, his presence in Brookline is not. Twenty years ago, Williams roamed these very halls as a student of the class of ‘05. Twelve years ago, he returned to the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) as a special education paraprofessional and later a physical education teacher. Eight years ago, he joined former Athletic Director Pete Rittenburg as his Assistant Athletic Director.

In August of this past summer, Williams was selected by a search committee composed of nine individuals. Williams said he thinks of this new role as his “dream job,” partially because it can be seen as the top of his field but also for sentimental reasons.

“I have a lot of coursework, practical experience and certifications that lead me to this work,” Williams said. “But it’s also very personal, having lived it as a student, as a captain, as a coach and as an administrator.”

Williams said that as an athletic director, he is responsible for all interscholastic athletics. With a department that nearly 70 percent of students participate in, Williams is also in charge of scheduling facilities and fields, transportation methods and the employment of coaches. He said part of the position is also developing student athletes and understanding their involvement in academics as well.

“A big part of the athletic director’s role is also recognizing that we’re an academic institution and trying to tie athletics and academics together,” Williams said. “The experience for the students here is stronger when those two are tied together.”

In his initiative to further merge those two components, Williams is instituting a four-year program called ‘Developing Character and Leadership in Sport.’ He said his vision is for freshmen to enter and learn the meaning of being a “Warrior,” and be able to graduate having lived that experience.

“My hope is that students may also find the benefit of leadership and their sense of belonging through sports, in addition to them participating on the field,” Williams said.

One element of the program is to meet with elected captains on a team by team basis. Williams said he wants to have discussions with them regarding their thoughts and opinions on different matters.

“It’s important that we work to develop our leaders and get feedback from them. I want to open a two-way dialogue with our students, ideally all of them, but we’re going to start with the captains or upper-class leaders because they have the immediate perspective of having been in the program for awhile and being put in a position of leadership,” Williams said.

Williams said he will put a strong emphasis on building relationships with the coaching staff. Williams said since 70 percent of teams participate off campus, it feels as though everyone is on an island separate from the high school. He hopes to bridge that distance by sharing information, implementing workshops with coaches and by being present.

“In the afternoon, you’ll find us driving all over Brookline: over four miles up to Skyline, a mile over to Downes, we’ll go up a few miles to Larz Anderson. That’s just the nature of the work. The more that we can get out there, see our athletes, see our coaches and see our families, the more valued they feel,” Williams said. “The simple act of showing up to 30 minutes of a swim meet is meaningful. People like to feel their hard work validated and being seen as part of something bigger than themselves.”

As an alum, Williams said he wants to start putting together a project in which other people within the alumni community speak to current athletes about how athletics impacted their lives personally and professionally. He said he hopes it will validate the work of the coaches and students and contribute to their excitement.

“I’m excited to try to build that sense of wanting to be a Warrior, wanting to grow up to be a Warrior,” Williams said. “I’m excited about getting people excited to come to Brookline High School and once they’re here, getting them excited to come to school, attend classes and attend athletic events. Once they’re leaving here, I want them to feel proud to have been a Warrior and proud to carry that as an alum.”

Williams said that although he has spent a great deal of his life in Brookline, he still has a lot to learn in terms of what has changed within the students, staff and faculty. He said that this year will mainly serve for reflection, review and introspective surveying.

“Anytime you have a change in leadership, it’s a great opportunity because any sort of transition brings with it an opportunity for change and hopefully optimism and engagement,” Williams said.