‘She don’t back down at all’: Ronald Reagan High School’s first female athletic director has been making waves for 12 years

What's Right with Our Schools

PFAFFTOWN, N.C. — March is Women’s History Month, and schools all over the Triad are learning about strong female role models from the past. But at Ronald Reagan High School in Pfafftown, students have to look no further than their own school to find a role model of their own.

Athletic Director Alexis McCoy is making history in her right way. When Reagan opened in 2005, McCoy was a math teacher and soccer coach. But for the last 12 years, she has walked the halls and sports fields as the school’s first female athletic director, the only one in the district and one of very few in the state. McCoy says it was an easy decision.

“I love kids, and I love seeing them, you know, grow,” McCoy said. “And so I didn’t want to just have one team to focus on. I wanted to help a lot. So I decided to give it a try. And here I am, 12 years later, I’m still doing it, you know, and every year has its challenges, every day has its challenges, but it’s still in the end to see the kids being successful, not only on the court or in the field, in the classroom. It’s a great experience.”

She’s making a difference in what was traditionally a man’s field.

“I’ve put some of my own stamps on it and everything,” she said. “I work well with the other ADs, even though I am the only female. But I think that being the only female, I give a different perspective sometimes to some situations. And I think that that helps everybody not just my school.”

Reagan Principal Brad Royal continually sings her praises.

“I think she’s the best athletic director I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “And she’s the only female athletic director that I’ve ever worked with throughout my years in high school, as well as middle school. But just unbelievable representative for females to look up to as a role model, because she’s, again, caring and humble is another way I would describe her. Yet, she also don’t back down at all, which is so impressive. I mean, she’s going to advocate for what’s in the best interest of children, no matter what.”

That’s because she says the first rule of her job is that her kids come first. And they are her kids.

“It’s a joke. I have one son, and everyone says why don’t you have any more? And I always say, ‘Well, I have 540 others because they’re my Reagan kids,'” McCoy said. “Because I do, I care about them.”

That means some long hours and often sleepless nights. But she says that goes along with the job. And COVID hasn’t made it any easier.

“It can be very overwhelming at times,” she said. “But the end result is about getting the kids out there to play. They’re the ones that are important. They’re the ones that need this because it’s a mental health thing. And so you do everything you can to make sure that it’s done, but it’s done right. And so it might take a little bit more effort. It might take a little bit more time, but the end result is the kids are being able to compete.”

And that’s what matters most.

“Because,” she says. “Everything you do, whether its painting the field or mowing the grass, it’s for the kids.” 

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