Tukwila Director of Athletics, Activities and Transportation J.D. Hill | Coffee With

In the hallways of Foster High School, he’s simply J.D. the AD, but there’s much more to J.D. Hill, director of Athletics, Activities and Transportation for the Tukwila School District. Hill comes from an extensive sports background. He played football, basketball and track in high school, then played football at the University of Washington. His father and three brothers all played college football and had some time in the NFL.

J.D. Hill

In the hallways of Foster High School, he’s simply J.D. the AD, but there’s much more to J.D. Hill, director of Athletics, Activities and Transportation for the Tukwila School District.

Hill comes from an extensive sports background. He played football, basketball and track in high school, then played football at the University of Washington. His father and three brothers all played college football and had some time in the NFL.

“Growing up with a dad in the NFL really motivated myself and my siblings,” Hill said. “We saw it as a way to get an education and better our circumstances.”

This is his sixth year in Tukwila, and his focus and challenges involve much more than just wins and losses on the field or in the gym.

“The No. 1 focus for me as an athletic director is to build a sense of community where it is a safe place for kids to grow,” Hill said. “We have the most diverse school district in the country, so I’ve designed our athletic programs as an extension of our students’ families and our school. Since our school does not look traditional, our approach is not traditional.”

Hill said many of Foster’s girls cannot participate in sports for cultural reasons, so he has to be flexible and willing to consider more options than other schools. That leads to one of Foster’s biggest challenges, finding enough kids to turn out.

“I do not have the luxury of waiting for kids to turn out,” Hill said. “I have to convince them and recruit kids daily in the hallways and during lunch time.”

Foster also started a bit of an unconventional sport last year: badminton. More than 30 girls turned out for the team.

“This is why we have to think outside the box and identify what our student interests are,” Hill said.

Another big win for Hill and Foster was the introduction of a girls swim team last year for the first time in the school’s history. The team was a success, sharing the Kennedy coaching staff and practice time. This year the team took another step forward and hired Amy Kindell as a coach for the Bulldogs.

Kindell joins a unique coaching group at Foster. Hill encourages the Bulldog coaches to attend all out-of-season events, to help build relationships with athletes.

“They know they can count on us,” he said.

 

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