News Feature

Castine & Penobscot
Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 30, 2012
Former MMA coach to head schools’ phys. ed. programs

Katrina Dagan

Katrina Dagan

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

Katrina Dagan, hired to teach physical education at the Adams School and Penobscot Community School for 2012-13, plans to bring a few changes to the elementary school athletic classes.

“Let’s plan with what we have, and expand for next year,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “Obviously, [both schools] don’t have big budgets.”

Dagan said that being organized and goal-driven—both important to coaching sports teams—will help her achieve changes in “the direction I want to go in.”

She envisions widening the range of activities offered to both schools, based on the individual strengths of their communities.

“[Penobscot] has a pretty strong athletic program right now,” Dagan said, with a school gym and accessible playing fields, while Castine has the benefit of using MMA facilities.

Dagan plans to bring golf to both schools, with equipment borrowed from the Castine Golf Club, dance to Adams School (Penobscot incorporated Zumba classes last year) and sports clinics to both schools.

“I have pretty good ties to students and coaches at MMA,” she said. “I feel if I ask [for help], I’ll hear yes more than no.”

Dagan believes in teaching children how to compete in school sports.

“To train, to do better—I think that’s a great lesson for kids,” Dagan said. “To learn to compete, not to be afraid to lose, and put the time into being successful. I’m a firm believer you get what you earn. It’s never to early to learn that.”

Dagan, who moved to Castine in 2000 as an assistant coach to Maine Maritime Academy girls’ basketball, softball and soccer teams, holds a degree in education and will also teach health science in both schools. She left her MMA position to fill the vacancies at the Castine and Penobscot schools, which call for three days in Penobscot and two days in Castine.

“I think health is so important to kids at this stage in their life,” she said. She plans to focus on nutrition (“What does healthy eating mean? Why choose to eat healthy?”), hygiene, decision making skills, peer pressure and, in the older grades, cover human development and drug/alcohol/substance abuse education.

With two school-age children, Dagan said “I thought it was a good way to get back to a normal schedule.”