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Terri Towle tabbed as Westfield's new DSA

Westfield High School has hired Terri Towle to succeed Francis Dall as its director of student activities. Towle, who was the school’s field hockey coach, has been in the position since Jan. 7, although no formal announcement has been made by Westfield.

Dall, 54, who has been Westfield's DSA since the school opened in 2000, announced his retirement earlier this school year.

“It’s a huge commitment and definitely a big decision for me,” Towle said of taking the reins at Virginia’s largest public high school, which boasts an enrollment of around 2,900 students in grades 9-12. “But I’m excited about it. It’s a good place to be.”

Towle becomes the sixth female DSA in the 30-team Northern Region, joining Lori Barb (Lee), Noel Deskins (Wakefield), Linda Jones (South Lakes), Jeanne Kelly (Falls Church) and Carol Callaway (Washington-Lee).

Before taking over for Dall, who became Westfield’s DSA when the school opened in 2000, Towle was one of his two assistants and primarily in charge of scheduling and building use. Football Coach Tom Verbanic will continue as the other assistant. Verbanic's main responsibility is handling the athletic field maintenance.

Because the DSA job requires that she relinquish any previous head coaching duties, Towle said she became emotional when informing her field hockey team that it would have a new coach this fall. Towle had been the head coach at Westfield since 2000.

Over the past two years, Westfield has amassed the most wins of any Northern Region team (38) and posted the best winning percentage (.844). The Bulldogs have won the past two Concorde District titles, reached the 2008 region final and won the region in 2006.

“That was one of the hardest parts in the whole decision, to give up coaching,” said Towle, who will also have to give up her duties as a math teacher at the school. “I knew that going into the process.

“There’s always a chance when you apply for a job that you’re going to get it, so you have to be prepared to take it. That means you have to take everything that goes with it, the good, the bad, those are the choices that you make.”

Dall’s last day before retirement was Dec. 18, but the position had been opened to all applicants before that date. Towle said she talked the position over with her husband, Pat, and decided to apply, knowing that it could spell the end of her coaching days.

As the DSA at Westfield, Towle’s most noticeable responsibility will be the Spring Jubilee, which features Virginia AAA state championship games for lacrosse, soccer, softball and baseball.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I do feel like we have the support of our community, our coaches and our administration,” Towle said. “But when I told my team, I definitely got a little emotional. I never want to lose that connection with the kids. think that keeps you young, filled with energy.

“Now my role is just different. I can try to make their experience at Westfield one of the best they could possibly have, and I’ve got a good group of people around me to make that work. It’s certainly not a one-person job at all.”

By Jason Mackey  |  January 13, 2010; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  AAA Concorde District , Northern Region , Westfield  
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