Thursday June 01, 2017
Dedicated, driven, compassionate, committed, and personable. These are just a few of the words that former Milton High School students used to describe their outgoing athletic director. But, Milton’s loss has become South Burlington’s gain. Michael Jabour is coming home to his alma mater as the district’s new activities director.
The head of the 6-12 athletic department in Milton, Jabour used his enthusiasm, positivity, and sense of humor to transform the athletic culture and improve the school climate in just three short years. After bringing positive change to the Milton schools, Jabour has decided to take the next step in his professional journey. As South Burlington’s activities director, he will oversee hundreds of students in nearly 60 interscholastic sports teams and another 47 co-curricular clubs and activities.
Jabour is a 2005 graduate of South Burlington High School (SBHS) where he was a football and track standout. He was a resident of South Burlington through his school years, attending Rick Marcotte Central School before moving onto Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School and SBHS. An all-around athlete, Jabour started playing football for the South Burlington Dolphins as a third grader, played youth soccer and baseball, and played hockey with CSB. Jabour participated in a variety of sports at SBHS before seriously settling into football and track. In 2004, his football team won the state championship and in the spring, he set a state record and captured an individual state championship in the 100-meter-dash.
Jabour went on to play D2 football at American International College, before making his way back to Vermont. After a successful stint with the Vermont Ice Storm semi-professional football team, Jabour landed at Castleton where he would continue his college football career and graduate with a degree in sports administration. His career began at Woodstock Union High School as an assistant athletic director, where he also coached track and field, football, and basketball. After two and a half years there, Jabour was ready for an opportunity to lead an athletic department.
He found himself in Milton the following year and it took no time at all for him to make his mark. As athletic director, Jabour’s first move was to unite the school. He had shirts printed for each of the students, which read, “This is Milton, We are One.” He worked with administrators, coaches, students, and community members to establish up-to-date academic and training policies in order to maximize learning and student success. He balanced his time at the middle and high schools in order to develop relationships with all of the students, and not just athletes. He even spent time subbing, when the opportunity presented itself, to increase his interactions with students. So that he could focus all of his time on the education and experience of the student athletes at Milton High School, Jabour collaborated with school officials to improve the efficiency of the athletic fields operations. He also made it a focus to get to know all faculty and staff in the buildings to improve the quality of communication and transparency for student academic success. Developing strong relationships with parents in the district, he connected the community with his patience and open-minded approach. Jabour’s office has also doubled up as a dining room during lunch periods as students of all ages flock to his office to spend time with him. He has found a way to successfully balance a culture in which student-athletes feel safe, supported, and welcomed while also being held accountable for their actions on the field and in the classroom. These are only a handful of experiences and qualities that Jabour brings to South Burlington.
After a rigorous selection process, Jabour emerged as the best candidate to lead South Burlington schools into the future, due to his student-centered mindset. “Mike was our first choice because of his obvious passion for the students,” school nurse, parent of former student-athletes, and member of the hiring committee, Caryl Davidson, said. “He clearly has a student first approach. He was very articulate, positive, confident, energetic, and seems to be a genuinely happy person. I believe his student-centered, ‘can-do’ attitude fits in perfectly for South Burlington,” she added.
Phil Surks, another committee member and science teacher in the high school, agreed. “Mike was simply the most student-centered candidate that we met. He holds student activities in the same regard as athletics. His organization and communication skills are off the charts,” he said. Their assessment of the incoming activities director was exactly what he has demonstrated over the last three years in Milton.
In addition to his leadership over all of the high school sports teams, clubs and activities, and related budgets and scheduling, Jabour will also collaborate with the middle school activities coordinator to provide the most accessible and age appropriate program for students in grades six through eight.
Given the enormous responsibilities of this position, high school principal Patrick Burke believes that Jabour’s experience and practice made him the right leader for the job. “Mr. Jabour’s past athletic administrative experiences at Woodstock and Milton High Schools earned him a reputation as an educational leader who places the needs of all students at the center of his practice. The hiring process was quite competitive but, the committee and site visit teams agreed that that Mr. Jabour is exactly the type of leader South Burlington needs now and into the future,” he added.
While it feels bittersweet to leave Milton for South Burlington, Jabour is very excited about the opportunity. “It’s surreal,” he said. “This is the job I always wanted. I’m honored and excited to be the next activities director for South Burlington.” He added, “I would like to thank Milton Town School District, the community, students and coaches. Their support has given me the confidence to move on with my career where I feel I can be successful. The past three years at Milton have been amazing and I wouldn’t be where I am without their support.”
Jabour hopes to use his experience as a former South Burlington student-athlete to further develop an outstanding co-curricular culture for the school community. He stated that he wants to bring energy, school-spirit and unity to the school, all of which he experienced when he attended South Burlington. In his desire to follow in the footsteps of former SBHS activities directors Michael O’Day and Ed Hockenbury, Jabour asserted that his focus is to, “Produce competitive teams that are also respected among the community and by our opponents.”
As of July 1, Michael Jabour will be the new leader of the pack. In taking over the supervision of more than 80 percent of the student population who participate in over 100 sports, clubs and activities, Jabour understands the importance and real purpose of co-curricular activities, and will work tirelessly to ensure that all students will find success on the field, stage and classroom. South Burlington’s students will be in good hands.
SOURCE: Drew Gordon, Correspondent