Amie Howard has been the Athletic Director at Allatoona High School for four years. She has been in education for 15 years. Her husband, John, is also an AD in Bartow County. She is a much-loved administrator and she can be found cheering for her Bucs at nearly every Allatoona sporting event. We recently asked her to slow down for a minute and answer a few questions. Here is what she had to say.
“When you play a sport,” she said, “everything about individual achievement is meant to go away, and the team is the most important thing. In every part of life you will be on a team. Sometimes you are a visible part and sometimes you aren’t, but you still belong. Athletics makes that happen on a scale that can’t be matched anywhere else.”
“I also believe in the power of collaboration,” she said. “Anytime I have a issue that I have never tackled before, I reach out to other ADs in the county and state, as well as the rest of my administration team. Getting as many different perspectives as possible on an issue is never a bad thing.”
Amie also teaches perspective and collaboration to her students and athletes. “We have an athletic leadership group comprised of around 75 student-athletes,” she explained. “When I can be in front of those kids using resources to make them better leaders, my life makes sense. My coaches are amazing and do their best to make them not only great athletes, but better people; and this is often seen in the hallways rather than on the field. Watching our athletes embrace this leadership role even when no one is looking is my greatest reward.”
She believes that failure and change are two inevitable aspects of life, and that sports provide a unique training ground in how to deal with these challenges. “Failure is a part of life, and change is a part of life,” she said. “Coaches come and go, life takes you to new schools, teams look different each year, and there is always someone out there better than you that could take your place. It is uncomfortable, but athletics teaches you that sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to get better.”
Amie experienced a major discomfort in her own life at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Her three-year-old son, Rhys, died in a tragic accident on Labor Day. “I lost one of the most important pieces of my world,” she said emotionally, “but God used that moment to remind me of my ‘why,’ and I am forever grateful.”
“My ‘why,’ meaning my entire purpose and goal, is for the kids to have the best high school experience possible,” she said. “Life is going to be hard enough for them when they get older, so while we have a chance to help and teach them—and as they get to know themselves—we should take advantage of that and do our best to build them up so they know they are capable of anything!”
Her family’s loss, difficult and trying as it was, solidified Amie’s love for her school. “Allatoona is the best school in the state,” she said confidently. “I truly believe that, and it’s not because we are good at sports; it’s because we are good at people. The staff at my school wants to make the kids better in all aspects of their lives. I believe that we have one of the best schools to create a good all-around student, and this makes me all the prouder to be a Buccaneer.”
The love and support she and her family received during the time after her son’s death showed Amie that the lessons are being learned and lived out. “After Rhys died,” she said, “so many athletes, coaches, and community members showed support to my family that I still have a hard time understanding it all. The kids were able to see my pain and they wanted to make it better. It made me realize even more that our jobs aren’t about winning and losing, but rather teaching them—and sometimes them teaching us—how to be better people.”
Favorite food? My momma’s cubed steak with gravy, homemade mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, homemade biscuits, and lemon meringue pie for dessert.
Favorite vacation or travel spot? Germany is hands-down the best place I have ever been able to explore. A close second would be anywhere that has a beach.
Hidden talent? I can juggle. Does that count? (Yes, it definitely counts!)
Morning person or night owl? Night owl most definitely.
First job? Keeping official score for an adult softball league at a ballpark. I got paid $5 a game.
What other profession would you like to attempt? Wedding planner. I don’t know why; it just seems like fun.