MORTON — Think of him as an athletics director for non-sports activities.
That's one way to explain Patrick Mainieri's new job of director of student activities and engagement in the K-12 Morton School District, a role he'll assume starting in the 2018-19 school year.
The new, administration-level position has a goal of connecting each Morton student in grades 5 to 12 to an extracurricular activity that "fosters a connection to the school community and increases college and career readiness," according to the job description.
Mainieri, 34, who has served as the district's fine arts coordinator, Morton High School's assistant director of bands and a music teacher in the district since 2015, is ready for the challenge of his new job.
"Are there clubs or organizations we need to start that we don't know about?" he said. "That's what I need to find out. I especially need to connect with students who constantly end up in the dean's office because of disciplinary and other issues. Maybe there's something they're interested in that would connect them to their school."
Getting more students involved in extracurricular activities isn't the only responsibility in Mainieri's new role.
He's also "charged with developing, implementing, directing, monitoring, evaluating and promoting the high school's activities and clubs and the district's visual and performing arts programs, representing the programs within the community, and providing administrative supervision and technical support," the job description says.
Mainieri will continue with his fine arts coordinator duties, which include overseeing K-12 fine arts programming and managing the Bertha Frank Performing Arts Center, located in the high school.
"I was the district's first fine arts coordinator, so being the first person to hold a job isn't new for me," Mainieri said. "It's a patient process when you start. Much of your first year is spent establishing baselines and gathering information.
"I hope other school districts will see the importance Morton is placing on extracurricular activities outside of sports and my new position becomes a model," he said. "Extracurriculars are an important part of education. They teach values like responsibility, punctuality and teamwork."
The Morton School Board approved Mainieri's appointment May 15. He'll be getting a 34 percent salary increase, from $50,000 to $67,000.
Mainieri earned a bachelor's degree in music education and a master's degree in school leadership with a concentration on secondary administration from Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
Before coming to Morton, he was a high school and middle school band director for seven years (2006 to 2013) in South Carolina, and he was the marching and visual coordinator for Clemson University's Tiger Band from 2010 to 2014.
In 2013, the South Carolina Music Educators Association named him the Outstanding Young Music Educator of the Year.
Morton Superintendent Jeff Hill thinks Mainieri is a perfect fit for the new position.
"Mr. Mainieri has a passion for students, organization and a belief that a student's involvement with extracurricular activities is essential to the student's success," he said.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.