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Eric Peterson, Published April 10 2012

Longtime activities directors in Fargo-Moorhead schools to step aside

Fargo - Having worked four decades in education, Ed Lockwood figures it’s time to let loose.

“I’m going to learn how to play,” said Lockwood, the activities director for Fargo Public Schools. “I’ve worked hard for 42 years, and now it’s time to play hard.”

Lockwood, 65, is set to retire this summer after spending the past 21 years in the Fargo Public Schools. He’s been an athletic director for the past 34 years. In 1991, Lockwood was named the athletic director at Fargo South before he took the job as district activities director in 2003.

Moorhead High athletic director Don Hulbert, another longtime fixture on the area high school sports scene, is also leaving this summer.

Hulbert, 64, is taking a leave of absence for 2012-13 that will bridge into his retirement.

“This is a job that is all encompassing and it absorbs virtually every waking hour of your day almost and weekend it seems,” Hulbert said. “It is a good time to step away for me.”

Hulbert, like Lockwood, has served 42 years in teaching, coaching or administrative roles. The past 23 years, Hulbert has been the activities director for Moorhead. He was the AD at West Fargo for two years before he took the Moorhead job in 1989.

Lockwood and Hulbert both had their successors named this week.

“They both were mentors of mine,” said Curt Jones, who has been the athletic director at West Fargo since 1989 when he took over for Hulbert. “It’s going to be very different. Don and Ed brought an historical perspective.”

Lockwood and Hulbert struck up a friendship soon after Lockwood took the job at South in 1991. Hulbert made the effort to have lunch with the new administrator in town, a gesture Lockwood still appreciates.

“I look at him as a mentor because he helped me get started in Fargo,” Lockwood said. “I have tremendous respect for what he does with his programs and his school.”

Hulbert said the respect is mutual.

“I’ve always had it in my head that Ed cares as much about the kids at Moorhead and their experience as he does Fargo,” Hulbert said. “That says a lot about the individual.”

Moorhead Superintendent Lynne Kovash has worked with Hulbert for the past 15 years. She called Hulbert an “AD every superintendent wished they could work with.” Kovash said Hulbert played a key role in helping get the football stadium built near the high school and the expansion and renovation of facilities at Moorhead High.

“He has always brought a sense of calmness and integrity,” Kovash said. “He just has handled so many issues before they have blown into big issues, and that is just really important to me.”

Fargo Superintendent Rick Buresh said Lockwood helped facilitate a growth period for athletics in the Fargo Public Schools that included the recent addition of Fargo Davies.

“Participation and excellence are very much associated with his time in our community,” Buresh said.

Lockwood and Hulbert agreed they will not miss the long hours, but both will miss interacting with students, coaches and advisors.

“I think God put me on this earth to be a teacher and a coach and be involved with kids,” said Lockwood. “That’s my whole mission. … But there is a point in time when I think it’s time to try something different in your life besides work.”

Both are looking forward to spending more time with their families.

“I’m really going to value not having to be constantly responsible 24-7,” Hulbert said. “In other words, there’s really not much of a life outside of being an AD. You have to really work at making one.”

Hulbert said hiring the right people was one of the most important parts of his job. He said it was satisfying to watch young coaches connect with the kids and develop into quality educators. Hulbert said the growth of social media networks and faster communication has made the job more challenging in recent years.

“We’re accessible like we’ve never been before. Everybody has access to things you say and do,” Hulbert said. “Everything happens at warp speed, and that is not always a good thing in this business.”

Lockwood said longtime assistant Joan Miller made his job easier. Hulbert had the same praise for his assistant DeAnne Smith.

“This isn’t a one-man job,” Hulbert said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com