Last year Mar Vista High School (MVH) welcomed Gisela V. Wolfe to the role of athletic director. Wolfe stepped into the position just before the pandemic hit and put a hold on regular sports activities, but with the 2021-2022 school year underway she is excited to support and facilitate new possibilities to athletic programs as school sports resume on a more regular schedule.
Wolfe grew up playing soccer in Los Angeles before attending the University of San Diego in 1994. She’s been in San Diego ever since, where sports have continued to be a large part of her life. “I played [soccer] throughout my 20s and 30s, my daughter is a soccer player now and I’ve been coaching for almost 20 years,” Wolfe mentioned. “I consider myself a sports fan and a fan of students and being able to be an organizer of student sports.”
Wolfe began coaching the MVH Girls Soccer team program in 2004 and is a biology science teacher at the school as well. “Having coached for the amount of time I have, and been in education-based athletics, you get to know a lot of people and you’ve been through the processes with CIF and have that familiarity with it,” Wolfe said of bringing that experience to her role as athletic director now.
Being on campus and having gotten to know many of the student athletes at MVH, Wolfe noted that they were really the driving factor behind her interest to apply for the position to begin with and what keeps her motivated to bring her best every day. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting the student athletes who I wouldn’t otherwise get to meet or interact with,” she added. “I’ve met water polo players, football players, cheerleaders, and other students not in my class or on my team, and I enjoy that.”
With the new school year getting going, Wolfe hopes to be able to start working towards integrating sports programs with the larger IB community. “I consider this my first year as athletic director as COVID-19 put many things on hold last year,” she began. “Long-term I’m thinking, ‘how can we grow the rec programs, community club programs, and potentially the Imperial Beach Charter School together with the high school?’ I’d really like to see the athletics programs in IB and the staff and community all become more symbiotic as IB is a small community with just one high school.”
Wolfe noted the support she’s witnessed firsthand that the community has for athletics, from alumni athletes to parents and other community members. With people willing to help, developing the best avenues for supporting more integrated programming is the next step for Wolfe. “There are some programs that are already strongly tied to community and learning from those to get the smaller ones to the same place will be key,” she explained.
As a coach, Wolfe knows how important sports can be to students and a community. She recalled the first time the MVH Girls Soccer team became the South Bay League champions. “Being there, having parents come in to see the banner go up with players and the pride those girls had,” she recalled. “It wasn’t just the fact they won a championship, it was all those little things that had to been done to get there – make their grades, the parent involvement, the work players put in with their club before the school season – seeing all that hard work they put in, it does pay off.”
Wolfe would love for other students to be able to have those similar positive experiences as student athletes to be able to carry with them as them graduate from Mar Vista High School.
After the unique challenges that the pandemic brought to athletics last school year, fall sports have been able to get underway safely for the high school with a planned return to the usual athletics schedule spread out across the year for the time being. “It was hard to see and support some of the programs [last year] as soccer was going on at the same time as most sports,” Wolfe said. “I’m really looking forward to being able to be a fan again to watch them and be present, show our support.”