Steamboat Springs Hayden Athletics Director Kevin Kleckler's No. 1 priority has always been children.
So when the opportunity to lead Hayden's new Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center and teach children the trades he's been involved with much of his life presented itself, Kleckler jumped at the chance.
But Kleckler, who served as Hayden's athletics director for six years, does not leave his post without fond memories.
During Kleckler's reign, new lights were installed at the football field and Hayden earned a statewide reputation as a school noted for its sportsmanship.
Still, Kleckler said the time for change was perfect.
"I'm looking forward to the change," he said. "I'm passionate about teaching kids about the trade. It's another chapter in my career, and I'll be getting involved with the kids more."
Although a replacement for Kleckler hasn't been found, he said he'll spend a year tutoring the new athletics director.
Kleckler doesn't want to step on anyone's toes but said the mentoring portion should be helpful for the new person, in what can sometimes be a demanding job.
"I want to help because there are a lot of things that come with the job," Kleckler said "The new person can then put their own twist on it. As a result of moving into a different position, I want the transition to be flawless. I don't want anyone or anything to suffer."
The new position also should give Kleckler more time to spend with his wife, Carrie, and the couple's two children, 5-year-old Andrew and 2-year-old Jenna.
"My No. 1 focus is always going to be for the kids," he said. "Specifically for my own children."
Kleckler said he's excited about the possibilities with his new job but will always be thankful for the job as athletics director.