Clarke Community School District’s new Activities Director (AD), Derek Van Blarcom arrived at the High School campus early in June and has been spending his days getting oriented to the Clarke, #OneTribe culture and community. Through administrative sessions, coaches meetings, getting to know the summer athletes as the file in and out of the sports complexes, Van Blarcom is creating plans to not only continue building on Clarke’s recent successes but also bring his own fresh perspective and passion to the organization.
“In the first few weeks here, I can feel the ‘OneTribe’ culture coming on strong,” said Van Blarcom. “I’m excited to work the new administration, coaches and more-so, the students and families to establish a culture of long-term success.”
Originally from the Johnston area of central Iowa, Derek started his path to Osceola by obtaining his undergrad degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science from Iowa State University. He then went on to get his Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from Southeast Missouri State University.
While at ISU, he also interned three of his four years with the athletic department while their football team rebuilt the program through new coaching and a refreshed focus on team culture and dedication to success. Then, at Southeast Missouri State University, while studying for his Master’s degree, he served as strength and conditioning coach for their burgeoning athletic program.
Van Blarcom also spent a year at Youngstown State University as their assistant strength and conditioning coach, working with the football, track and field, softball, and tennis teams before his most recent stint at Division 2, Black Hills State University in South Dakota as Athletic Performance Co-Director on their Strength and Conditioning staff.
“The programs I worked in, from ISU through my time at Youngstown and Black Hills, had one common theme,” Van Blarcom said. “They were all building a winning culture, focused on the future, as one, united team.”
In interviews with the Clarke district and subsequent conversations with his closest advisors he was continually reminded of the #OneTribe culture at Clarke, making the new Clarke Activities Director position extremely appealing. In May of 2023, Derek and his wife, Amber, with their yellow lab in tow, moved to Osceola to join the tribe.
“Amber and I were looking for a way to get back to our Iowa roots,” said Van Blarcom. “When the option to take the Clarke position and move to Osceola came up, we knew it was the right decision.”
In his first year as Activities Director, Van Blarcom plans to focus on building on organization and leadership roles throughout the district. With his background in coaching and training, he knows growth starts with consistency and is reinforced by community. Not only by building higher expectations amongst the coaching staff, but Van Blarcom also plans to focus on building leadership and community among the Clarke students. From sport youth to the more experienced varsity students, he sees an opportunity to teach, mentor, and foster leadership with a long-term culture of winning throughout the district.
So, when you attend the next game or see Mr. Van Blarcom and his wife around town, give them a big “Welcome to the Tribe” and wish them success. Because, according to Van Blarcom’s vision, the success of one member of the tribe means success for all.