Cameron Johnson: teacher turned administrator


Aaron Toney

Cameron Johnson smiling in his office.

Aaron Toney, A&E Editor



Everyone on a sports team here at Big Sky has games, or matches that they go to, they get on a bus and go, get where they’re going, win hopefully and then come back. But how? Who sets up the meet with other teams and schools? Who pays for the gas for the bus? These are questions that students may ask when getting on those buses and beach liners. That is where the Athletic Directors comes in.

“I think we have always had that Assistant Principal-slash-Athletic Director, and across the state there are a variety of high schools that have that same model. And I think those models lean more toward the Athletic Director side of it and not so much that Assistant Principal side of it but you are an administrator in that way,” Said Assistant Principal-slash-Athletic Director Cameron Johnson.

“Hellgate has their own Assistant Principal-slash-Athletic Director and Sentinel has a teacher slash athletic director, he is like a teacher on special assignment”. And then Loyola has their own, I don’t know how they set up their system as a private school but I think they have their own,” Johnson said.

Some may think being an Assistant Principal is harder than being an Athletic Director or vice versa, but who is to say what job is bigger or more important? “I think that they are comparable, I don’t think there is one that is necessarily bigger. I think what it does is there is just certain days where you have more focus on one thing over another. You know a day might be full of student discipline and facilities issues and for a while there we had heating issues. And I was running around trying to deal with the heat track system,” Johnson Said.

“And then there days where we are planning for multiple events. We have like a soccer game, volleyball and a JV football game all on one day. So it’s just trying to coordinate for all of those events, make sure all of the teams are taken care of, that I have supervision at all of them, you know that I have bookkeepers at all of them, the scoreboard operators are there. So I think really that there is not a bigger job it just depends on like the day”. Johnson Said.

All that sounds like quite a roll to take on, some may think why, why take on such a position? And why did Mr. Johnson take on that roll?

“Well you know I’ve taught here for about nine years now, Educational leadership, like administration was always kind of an interest of mine. Because at some point in classroom you reach a point where you’re teaching and maybe you want a little more and want to try something different,” Said Johnson.

“I think the timing of it was great because I had just finished my degree and license for the principal ship and admin leadership. And giving the transitions administratively in our building but also as a school district it opened up and so it’s kind of like, let’s try this because it’s kind of like my next step as an educator,” Johnson said.

“I think it’s a unique role so I don’t know if I bit off more than I can chew. Some days it’s like the flood doors are opening and others you know you’re managing but it’s constant. Big Sky, unfortunately has had multiple athletic directors other the last few years. And that makes the continuity of something really challenging”. Said Johnson.

“And what is interesting to me, I didn’t realize but it’s also like a duh, we have been doing this for so long, and when I say we I mean the state of Montana and double A’s that there are somethings that are just kind of programmed. Like schedules are on a year to year rotation or like a four year rotation so it’s like schedule A B C D with home and away flip flops and who plays who, those are just kind of preprogrammed and we just recycle schedule,” said Johnson.

But with anything routine or preprogrammed, there are complications with it, things that make that routine job a little harder to manage and ultimately more fun and interesting.

“You know what’s changing things is that Butte is going to be joining our western conference next year because Belgrade is becoming a double A and then Bozeman is getting a second high school in 2020 so that’s going to change the double A’s we are all preparing for that,” said Johnson.

“So Butte is becoming a western double a school so we will play them more often or compete against them more often. And Belgrade is going to be a double a on the eastern part of the state so we won’t be playing them as often but they will be a factor in things, and I think things will get really interesting when Bozeman splits and has two double a high schools  with what they are projecting, that’s kind of this new wrinkle in this new part of the equation in the scheduling and  athletic director-ing if you want to call it that, turn it into a verb,” Johnson Said with a playful banter.

And with all of that in play it will be interesting to see some of the other jobs Mr. Johnson can do and that he can knock out of the park.

Cameron Johnson in his office.
Aaron Toney
Cameron Johnson in his office.