When current Mount View High School athletic director Dan Fitzpatrick announced last year his plans to retire at the end of the 2009-10 school year, that set in motion the search for his replacement. That search ended May 10.

After an extensive selection process, Chuck Karter was selected as the school’s next athletic director in a vote by the Maine School Administrative District 3 School Board. He will begin his new job on July 1.

Karter had to compete in what MSAD 3 Superintendent Joe Mattos described as a “very selective” application process that included 31 applicants. Only seven of those who applied were interviewed for the position.

Karter is excited about the job, which will include leading both the high school and middle school sports programs, especially the people he will work with. “I think what I’ve gained so far is a brief introduction to the types of people that are involved in the school district,” he said. “I think they are very passionate and I really appreciate that.”

“I’ve never met a harder working, more passionate group of parents … I’m anxious to work with all of them.”

People are especially important to Karter. After all, working with different people and different ages groups is his profession.

“We’re in the people business,” he said of educators. “We don’t make shoes and we don’t make cars. We make people and it’s going to be about the people that I work with first and foremost.”

Karter lives in Fairfield, a 25-minute commute away from Thorndike. He lives with his daughter, Emily, a junior at Waterville High School, and wife, Allison. He also has a son, Chase, who is a freshman at the University of Maine in Farmington. Emily plays soccer, basketball, and runs track for the Purple Panthers. Chase played basketball and soccer for Lawrence High School.

Karter said he liked the new athletic position position from the start. When he looked at the job description he knew that his personal beliefs about athletic education meshed with the district’s. He said the plan for the district is “student centered and they are really looking at what is best for the kids and the best ways to teach them how to have critical skills and thinking skills as they go out into the world.”

That plan is “primarily what I have been doing my entire life,” he said. “My whole career has been centered around servicing youth and families within an organization.”

Karter is no stranger to working with youngsters. Since 1985, when he graduated from the University of Maine in Farmington with a degree in Community Health Education, he has been working with children.

His work has revolved around the YMCA, specifically the Waterville YMCA where he started as a youth coordinator and worked his way up to his last position as the chief operations officer at the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville.

Throughout his career, he coached, operated camps, taught, and directed much of the operations in the facility, among other things. He also has extensive training in YMCA programs and methods.

So, Karter is no stranger to management and athletics either. “I love athletics,” he said. “I love everything about it. I like to feel I’m a student at a game, I like to look beyond the Xs and Os and want to be a part of that.”

Karter played sports growing up. In high school he participated in basketball, soccer and track and, when attended college, he played soccer. There, he even won a most valuable player award.

He said those athletic experiences taught him a strong work ethic. “One thing I learned in college, I think I learned what it took to be successful,” he said. “I wasn’t a star by any right, but I worked hard enough to achieve [National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics] honors for my play. Really, primarily, it was my work and my work ethic.”

Karter wants to pass down that lesson. Although he said it was too soon to have a clear-cut path to follow, Karter knows the direction he wants to take the programs.

He thinks that athletics can compliment the activities in the classroom to help develop well-rounded young men and women. “My background in athletics has really taught me more than reading and writing, as much as I hate to say that,” Karter said.

He said that he learned many social skills such as interpersonal communications, leadership, responsibility, respect, and how to be a good teammate on the court and field.

Through sports, Karter wants to deepen student’s formal education. “What we want to do in the athletic department is to strengthen what they are doing in the classroom.”

He sees his position as an educator and is dedicated to “making sure that [the students] have what they need, a good foundation, values, and those critical thinking skills that are going to take them into the future.”

In the end, Karter is excited to be working with the district. He is enthusiastic about the job and those that will surround it and has high hopes for the future.

“I’m very exited to move foreword with this; I’m nothing but excited,” he said. “This is the future for me and I look to hold hands with the district and my goal is to make Mount View well respected within the conference and hopefully throughout the state.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.