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The Lake News Online
  • The Man Behind the Purple Curtain: Jeff Whitney

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  • He can be seen at nearly every event held at Camdenton during the school year.
    He's at the games, the recitals and at the school constantly.
    He works tirelessly to facilitate whatever the school needs to host their events.
    That man is Jeff Whitney, the activities director for Camdenton.
    But who is the man who works endlessly to build sports schedules for the Lakers and reschedules all of those games cancelled due to weather?
    Mr. Whitney has served the Camdenton school district for the last 21 years, the last eight of which he has been the activities director for the Lakers high school and middle school.
    Whitney started out at Camdenton teaching middle school science and coaching and took over the position of athletic director when Bob Shore retired.
    Whitney served as an assistant coach for football and track when he came to Camdenton.
    Before taking the job in Camdenton, he had worked at Lockwood High School for four years, where he coached baseball, football and assisted with basketball and track.
    "I got a lot of experience there, in  a lot of different sports," Whitney said. "It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed both coaching and teaching."
    Whitney got into coaching because of his background and love for athletics, which he said drew him to coaching.
    "For me, I had some really great coaches growing up," Whitney said. "I think most coaches had coaches and teachers growing up that they admired and respected. Coaches and teachers have a tremendous amount of influence on kids, and it's a huge responsibility. It's also very enjoyable, though."
    Whitney's role as activities director involve scheduling, getting officials, working with the various organizations and clubs, and overseeing anything that is a MSHSAA activity for the middle school and high school.
    Whitney doesn't care to spend much time in the limelight, preferring to work quietly behind the scenes. He attributes much of his success to the coaches and employees of Camdenton schools, especially his assistant, Sharon Arnold, whom Whitney cannot seem to stress enough as an integral part of the activities program.
    "I don't know if there really is a typical day, and that's one of the fun things about this job," Whitney said. "One of the great thing about this job is that I get to work with some really great coaches, teachers and directors. They do a terrific job, and make this a really great job."
    Whitney's day involves scheduling the events up to two years in advance, all while handling the current events on a day-to-day basis.
    And now, for his efforts over the past eight years, Whitney is being honored by the Missouri Interscholastic Administrators Association (MIAAA). Whitney will be given the State Award of Merit on Saturday, April 7.
    Page 2 of 2 - The award will be presented during the state conference for athletic administrators at Tan-Tar-A Resort.  This award is provided annually by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) for recognition of meritorious dedication to high school and middle school athletics.
    Whitney has been a member ad supporter of the NIAAA for almost a decade and currently serves as the President of the MIAAA.
    "I'm humbled by even being thought of to receive it," Whitney said. "I've always been an under-the-radar type of guy. But I'm very proud to receive it on behalf of the Camdenton school district."
    Out of school, Whitney is a supportive family man, dedicated to his wife Melinda and their two children. Melinda and Jeff both share a passion for education, as both are educators at Camdenton.
    When asked about any memories that stood out in his mind, Whitney said that obviously the district and state championships come to mind, but the ordinary day-to-day things, like coaches supporting and caring about the kids are, to him, the big things.
    His drive and passion comes from a desire to make a difference for the kids, and hopes that they can give them the skills and memories to use for a lifetime.
    "I don't think of it as coming to work, I see it as coming to school," Whitney said. "I'm very proud to say that, and proud to be an educator. I've never second-guessed my career choice, and I'm very fortunate to do what I do."
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