TOWNSHEND -- With hundreds of students returning to Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School this week, Marty Testo has had his hands full.
And things are unlikely to slow down for the school's new director of athletics and activities, a job that requires oversight of a wide variety of co-curricular programs including athletics, drama and music.
But Testo said he's getting plenty of help and enjoying the hectic start of his first school year in Townshend.
"It's been going well," he said. "There are great people here. I've received a ton of support from the community."
As a former admissions counselor at New Hampshire's Keene State College, Testo already was familiar with Leland & Gray.
"I've been visiting this school for the last four or five years," he said.
What enticed him to apply for a job at Leland & Gray was the school's extensive list of activities. He counts 52 such programs.
"The offerings for a small school in southern Vermont are really amazing," Testo said.
Testo previously had worked as athletics and activities director and as a physical-education teacher at Hinsdale High School in New Hampshire.
He has a bachelor's degree in education from Keene State -- where he continues to serve as associate head baseball coach -- and also earned a master's degree in athletic administration from Springfield College.
So he brings what school administrators termed "a wealth of
First and foremost, Testo wants to ensure that all students from grades seven through 12 know what activities are available. So he's been speaking at orientations and also sent a letter to the district's families.
"You want to get the word out. We want our kids to understand what we have here for them," Testo said. "We want them to have choices."
When it comes to athletics, Testo said he advocates for "development at the middle-school level with the goal of participating and winning at the varsity level." He said coaches at both levels will "constantly be in communication" to coordinate their programs.
For Leland & Gray's youngest students, Testo said, "my goal is for our kids to understand the participation factor and learn how to play the game."
Testo started work July 1. Administrators said a 15-member hiring committee that included students, staff and parents helped to select the new director.
"I'm excited to be here. I really am," Testo said.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.