The athletic fields at Searsport District High School bustle with activity as fall tryouts and the first practices of the year for soccer and cross-country teams have been underway.

And those practices have been seamless, despite a change at the helm of the school’s athletic programs late this summer.

Chris Hart of Rockport, who at the age of 28 already has an extensive background in the profession, has been named as the school’s athletic director.

Hart replaces Josh Toothaker, who also is the Dean of Students at SDHS. Toothaker held the AD position for one year before restructuring of administration took place.

In addition to his duties as AD, Hart also been hired as a physical education teacher at Searsport District Elementary School. Hart also is the AD for the middle school.

“We had a pretty honest conversation about what was on the dean of dtudent’s plate and whether or not we could juggle the athletic director and dean of students positions at the two schools,” said Toothaker, who said he did not want the school’s athletic programs to suffer due to the large workload of both positions.

“Chris is going to be great,” he said.

“I am extremely excited to be the new AD here at Searsport District Middle/High School,” said Hart. “Searsport is a tight-knit community that takes a lot of pride in their athletic programs. I am ready for the season to start and see our community members come out and support our hard-working student-athletes. Josh did a lot of great things last year here to continue to develop the culture that we have and my job is to come in here and continue to build on that.”

Hart is a 2009 Camden Hills Regional High School graduate and played baseball and basketball for the Windjammers.

He then went on and received his undergraduate degree in sports management from Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. in 2013, while later graduating from Southern New Hampshire University in 2017 in athletic administration and in 2018 in sports management.

In the past, he also has had stints as the athletic director at the University of Maine in Machias and at Camden-Rockport Middle School. He also is the president of the Camden Adult Coed Softball League.

Hart, who also has passions for playing softball as well as spending time in the fitness area weight training, said he is eager for the school year to get started.

“The thing I enjoy most about being an athletic director is the enjoyment that students get from participating in athletic programming,” he said. “Athletics gives our students another avenue to be mentored and to learn valuable life lessons. My goal is to develop pride in our school community and have that develop into a positive culture within our middle/high school.”