BENTONVILLE -- Northwest Arkansas Community College hired Brooke Brewer as its first full-time athletic director, according to a text from college Chief of Staff Grant Hodges on Tuesday morning.
Brewer, a teacher and coach at Bentonville West High School, fielded questions from an audience of about 30 during a candidate forum in the college's Student Center on Thursday.
"Becoming an athletic director and working in athletic administration has been a career goal of mine for a long time," Brewer said. "Athletic director jobs in general are few and far between. The ability to be the first and to start something from the ground up and to really lay the foundation, that's a once-in-a-career opportunity. You don't see those opportunities come to you often. I knew, based on my experience and based on what I'm passionate about, that this was something I had to pursue."
The college had been looking to hire a full-time athletic director since April.
Brewer, 33, was the fourth candidate brought in for an on-campus forum.
Brewer said she's worked at Bentonville West for three years. She coached the varsity dance team for all three years and coached varsity cheer and dance last year, working to "align and develop our West spirit programs from seventh-12th grade," she said.
The college reopened its athletic director search after interviewing three candidates in June and not filling the post. The job requirements and the salary range of $85,000 to $95,000 didn't change, Hodges said.
Northwest Arkansas Community College's athletic department consists of one sport: cross country for men and women. The team competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association and is led by coach Josphat Boit, a former track and cross country star at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Northwest Arkansas Community College's board voted in 2019 to launch the cross country program. Runners competed for the first time in the fall of 2021.
In March, the college's board approved a student fee of $4 per credit hour to fund campus activities, student life and athletics programming. The fee is "to encourage student engagement on campus and in the community by providing access to experiences that enhance the affordable college experience," according to the school. A full-time student with 15 credit hours will pay $60 per semester for the fee.
Brewer has no coaching or administrative experience on the college level.
"Experience is obviously wonderful to have," Justin White, Northwest Arkansas Community College's vice president of student services, said Thursday. "But the skill that she has shown in other sectors, specifically school district work, we think there's a nice parallel there. And the energy and the passion that come through and the authenticity, I think, is really appealing in starting a new program. She does have great experience in starting new programs and also revitalizing other programs."
According to a biography provided by the college, Brewer is from Louisiana and was a program director and coach in the Alma School District for seven years. She has an educational specialist degree from Arkansas State University, a master's degree in teaching from Southern Arkansas University and a bachelor's degree from Centenary College in Shreveport, La.
At Alma, Brewer said she coached a dance program for seventh through 12th grades that served approximately 250 students and worked closely with the theater program and the Alma Arts and Education Foundation.
Brewer pointed to the importance of connecting with the community and said the college can provide a chance for area high school athletes to play at the next level.
Northwest Arkansas Community College is the largest two-year college in the state, with 7,593 students taking courses for academic credit in the last fall semester.