The Leavenworth Pioneers will have a new activities director and assistant principal for the upcoming school year.

Michael Koontz will take over for James Vanek as the activities director at Leavenworth after Vanek was named associate principal. He was announced for the position at the recent Leavenworth Board of Education meeting.

Koontz, a Leavenworth graduate, comes to Leavenworth High School after previously serving as the athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Pleasant Ridge High School. He said he is very excited to return to his alma mater.

“I’m very excited,” Koontz said. “When you go into education, you wish and hope you can  give back to your alma mater and community and to do good things for them.”

Koontz said the transition has been smooth since taking the job. 

He said he already jumped right in and is excited to get going.

With Vanek still being on staff at Leavenworth High School, Koontz said it will be huge for the help that the former AD can provide.

“That will be huge,” he said. “If I have a question on anything, I’ll be able to go to him and ask anything. He’s already been a huge help so far. It’s great to have someone to lean on, to ask questions to and to always be there.”

With Koontz coming from a 3A school to a 6A school, he said the biggest thing that he can bring is the community aspect. 

“Being close to everybody,” he said. “I think I’ll be able to tie that into a bigger school. And just build the closeness of a smaller community into a bigger community. I’m excited to get going.”

He said the biggest challenges that will come from the new school is the size of the athletic program and number of sports but he reiterated that he is excited and ready to go.

One of the changes that comes from Koontz coming to Leavenworth is him also stepping down as girls’ basketball coach at Pleasant Ridge. While he enjoyed coaching the Rams, he said he is ready to move on.

“I enjoyed coaching basketball while I did it,” Koontz said. “But I think I got to a point where my kids are starting to really be involved with sports and athletics. And I know I’ll still be busy with AD stuff at Leavenworth, but it kind of gives me a step back and to be able to do more things. Of course I will miss coaching. I feel like I had a great run at Pleasant Ridge in the nine years. And it really ended on a high note last year. I’ll miss it, but I think it is a great transition right now.”