The District 156 school board officially hired Joel Beard on Monday night to become McHenry High School’s next athletic director.
Beard will replace Barry Burmeister, who is retiring after 35 years as a teacher, coach and administrator in the district.
Beard is a former basketball and football player at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he played on two NCAA Division III national championship basketball teams. Former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was the Pioneers’ coach.
“There are some cool things going on at McHenry, and I just really want to be part of it,” Beard said. “It is a good fit for me.”
Beard cited the opening of a new Center for Science, Technology and Industry and the consolidation of two former high schools as an example.
“He brings a variety of experiences to our campus,” McHenry principal Jeff Prickett said. “I am more thrilled than you can even imagine.”
Prickett pointed to Beard’s diverse background, including helping start the Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization of Minority Athletic Directors (NOMAD) that actively participates in the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
Beard and his wife have two children and live in Loves Park. He played basketball and football at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin, before he went to Platteville.
After finishing a degree in psychology, he coached in high school and eventually at the college level, including at D-I Southeast Missouri State and D-II Missouri Western. He earned his Masters degree in educational leadership from American Intercontinental University.
Beard has been the athletic and activities director for the School District of Beloit since 2016, overseeing 22 athletic programs in the high school and primary school levels.
Beard was selected from four finalists for the AD position, who interviewed with three groups: parents and athletes, coaches and administrators.