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Award-winning SKHS trainer leaves for NK school district

It was time for a new challenge.

That’s how longtime South Kitsap High School certified athletic trainer and teacher Patrick Olsen explained his move during the summer to the North Kitsap School District.

Olsen, 42, took a job in administration, where he will oversee the career and technical-education programs at Kingston and North Kitsap high schools and Kingston and Poulsbo middle schools.

During his previous stint in NKSD from 1992-94, Olsen was encouraged by former North Kitsap High School football coach Jerry Parrish to earn his administrative certificate to give him perspective on how they work.

Olsen said that was one reason behind him accepting the new position in addition to the opportunity “to affect a wider range of students and teachers.” He said he will oversee 28 teachers and approximately 35 programs.

“It’s been a learning process,” said Olsen, adding that he is trying to coordinate new programs, and working with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and teachers more than in the past.

In his 16 years at South, Olsen built arguably the state’s premier high-school athletic-medicine program. The Wolves won 10 state athletic-medicine championships, including eight consecutive, during his tenure.

He also had several students place in the top 10 at the national championships at South.

Olsen was recognized as the state athletic-medicine teacher of the year during the 2009-10 school year.

“To me the program was always student-based,” he said, adding that he appreciates the support of the late Dale Green, a former SKSD administrator, and many of the coaches Olsen worked with. “It was doing everything we could do to prepare them for the really world. That program isn’t known because of me ... it’s known because of the time and dedication the students put in.”

Katie Finnie, who turns 24 in October, assumes Olsen’s former position. She graduated from South Kitsap in 2005 and earned a bachelor’s degree in athletic medicine in ’09 from Eastern Washington University.

“My vision for the program is to continue the legacy he built here,” said Finnie, adding that Olsen served as a mentor to her in both high school and college. “I just hope that I can fill the shoes that he’s left here.”

Olsen is confident Finnie will be able to do that.

“She’s a wonderful person and has worked really hard,” he said. “I knew she would carry it on, take care of the kids and help students get to the next level.”

Olsen plans to maintain his residence in South Kitsap and his two children — Matthew, who turns 13 in September, and RaeAnne, 11 — will remain in SKSD. He said his new position, which requires minimal night and weekend work, will enable him to spend more time with them.

But Olsen, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington State in 1991 and his master’s in athletic training from Ohio University the following year, said he never will be too far from his professional roots. He plans to perform some freelance work in that field this year.

“I loved the practice of medicine,” Olsen said. “Obviously I won’t go completely away from that. I might just end up in the classroom again.”

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