Coming out of college with a business degree, Timothy Ballaret immediately jumped into a career as a stockbroker and financial planner and started up his own firm.

But it wasn’t what he really wanted.

“I realized that’s not where my passion lied,” he said. “That financial world was not where I wanted to continue my career.”

His true interest was mentoring youths through athletics, which he had done as a volunteer coach in park leagues and other recreational settings.

So Ballaret changed course and charted a path into athletic administration that recently landed him at Santa Monica High School as its new athletic director.

“This was my opportunity to come in, especially at a program as storied as Santa Monica, grow the program, and bring it to new levels and new heights,” he said. “When the opening came up, it was something I couldn’t resist applying for. It’s a dream-come-true type of job.”

Ballaret replaces Al Trundle, a longtime Santa Monica-Malibu school district employee who remains on staff as an advisor at the high school.

Ballaret arrives at Samohi after a three-year stint at Our Community School, a K-8 public charter school in Chatsworth where he served as a teacher and coach. He taught math and science and also coached boys basketball and flag football, among other duties.

Previously, Ballaret worked for five years at the private Mary Immaculate School in Pacoima.

Although his experience is primarily at the middle school level, he had long envisioned working at a high school. And he found one with a large student body, a rich athletic tradition and the potential for growth in up-and-coming sports.

“The opportunity to come into a school like Santa Monica was too good to pass up,” he said.

Ballaret acknowledged that his work in the field has come in lower grades and at smaller schools, but he believes his experiences in coaching, education and financial management have prepared him for his role at Samohi.

He hopes to continue developing the Vikings’ athletic program while exploring additional opportunities for students. He named lacrosse as a sport with ample potential for growth in the near future.

“My goal is to have a well-rounded program,” he said. “I don’t want Samohi to be known as a one-sport or two-sport school. I want kids to come out and play, and I want Samohi to be in the news for many different sports. That’s my long-term goal: to have that kind of reputation that we are an all-around excellent sports school.”

Ballaret, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, earned his business degree from USC with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship.

With a few coaching gigs under his belt, he secured a job as a coach at Mary Immaculate, where he eventually took on teaching responsibilities as well.

Then, after receiving a master’s in education from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, Ballaret weaved his way into an administrative role before moving on to Our Community School.

Ballaret noted the importance of athletics to the development and mental growth of students.

“For some, it’s a motivating factor to do well in school,” he said. “It helps to build a well-rounded student. They learn not just how to play a sport, but how to be a teammate, how to have confidence, how to have good practice habits, how to be a leader. You learn so many different skills. Going through an athletic program can help you in all aspects of life, whether it’s in athletics or business or the arts.”

Ballaret, who started his current job in mid-August, has spent his first few weeks on the job getting organized, meeting colleagues and making sure everything is in place for the fall sports season.

“Everything’s going great,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute that I’ve been here since I stepped on campus.”

jeff@www.smdp.com

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