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The Rockmart High School volleyball team welcomes two new coaches as they begin their summer conditioning.

Rockmart High School teacher Krissie Jackson will be leading as the new head varsity coach, with Rockmart Middle School drama and theatre teacher James Schroeder as the new JV coach.

Jackson graduated from Chamblee High School where she was involved in cheerleading, swimming, volleyball, and track and field.

She then began her college career by attending Georgia State University, where at the time, she worked for a doctor’s office while completing her core classes.

Jackson then realized that she wanted to help kids stay in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle rather than help to treat those who were already sick. She then made the decision to study physical education and health instead of nursing.

She went on to obtain three degrees in physical education and health: a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University, a master’s degree from Jacksonville State University, and an educational specialist (EdS) degree. Jackson is also National Board Certified.

Jackson worked for Cobb County Schools as a physical education and health teacher from the time of college graduation until two years ago when she began working at Rockmart High School as a supply teacher.

Although she enjoyed her new role at Rockmart, she missed the teamwork and camaraderie that was experienced during her time coaching performance jump rope teams and high school swim teams. That is when she mentioned that she would like to take on a role as an assistant sports coach, specifically volleyball. The head varsity volleyball coach position was then offered to her.

“I love sports, teamwork, improvement, and being a family,” Jackson said. “I also love that this school is such a community school and has so much school pride.”

Tryouts for the volleyball teams were held in late May and the varsity and JV teams both began their summer conditioning and practice last week.

Jackson already has plans and goals for the upcoming season, including implementing more team bonding activities and hosting a summer camp with a collegiate or club-level coach so that the JV players who are new to the sport can gain experience and the varsity players can strengthen their skills before entering the season when school starts in August.

“I believe that kids should be a part of this school, which is why I’ve been encouraging girls who aren’t involved in anything to try out for volleyball,” Jackson said.

After the team ended their 2018 season being ranked fifth in the region and having a 1-32 (1-5 7-AA) season record, Jackson hopes to improve the team’s statistics by bringing new leadership.

“I don’t want to win three games this year as an improvement, though, I want to win the Region title,” Jackson said. “You have to reach for the stars.”

“We have great athletes, a great school, and a great community here,” she added. “All of the other sports teams are doing it and we can do it, too.”

Schroeder has many of the same ideas and personally has an interest and love for the sport as he grew up playing with his family.

He attended Rome High School and grew up watching his parents play USVBA volley-ball and in other leagues, and his parents trained both him and his brother to play, too.

His main sport was soccer, though. Schroeder played the goalie position for club, school, and even collegiate-level soccer teams, and stated that many of the soccer and volleyball drills are similar. Schroeder attended Reinhardt University and Shorter College after high school, where he played soccer all four years.

He added that he continues to participate in playing recreational volleyball, specifically in summer camp tournaments.

Schroeder first taught at Model for three years before coming to Polk County, where he has taught for the past seven years. As well, he has coached varsity soccer for eight years, including time spent at Rome High School and Armuchee High School.

Schroeder was already looking forward to helping the now former head varsity coach, Casey Born, with the upcoming season, and when a new coach was hired, he agreed to remain in the assistant’s position. For the 2019 season, Schroeder will now not only serve as Jackson’s assistant, but also as the head JV coach.

“I am looking forward to teaching the great game of volleyball and competing at a high level, as well as experiencing the bonding and team chemistry that will build throughout the season,” Schroeder said.

“My goals for this season are to see development of fundamentals and teamwork,” he added.

“I don’t have a goal for a total number of wins, but I’m so excited about forming a strong core, playing as hard as we can against all competition, and enjoying what we are doing,” Schroeder said.

Look for information to come soon about a kids volleyball camp that will be hosted as a fundraiser for the high school team, as well as the 2019 varsity and JV season schedule.