Michelle Fagan hopes to lead by example as Polk County’s new athletic director.

And set an example as well as the first female athletic director in school history.

“I think it’s great for the girls growing up to see that,” Fagan said. “Especially in the time we’re in now, with female athletics having really taken off. There’s a lot of talk about (WNBA standout) Caitlin Clark, but there are a lot of other females making great strides not only in sports being played, but coaching roles and other areas.

“For me, it is a significant honor to be part of this history as I have had strong female role models in my life, starting with my mother and grandmother. I have also been fortunate to be surrounded by females inducted into Hall of Fames. I hope to not only be a strong role model for other females, including my daughter, but I hope to be an empowering example for my son and all our athletic teams.”

Fagan, currently the head girls basketball coach at Polk County Middle, will replace DeShane Briscoe, who has accepted a position teaching and coaching in South Carolina. She will be the school’s 11th athletic director dating back to its opening in 1989.

George Alley will remain the school’s assistant athletic director. In addition to helping Fagan, Alley will be responsible for athletic fields and facilities, concessions, awards and banquets. He will continue to coach Polk County’s boys soccer team while serving as the adminstrator and assistant coach for the girls program.

The role provides a return to PCHS for Fagan, who taught and coached there before moving to Polk County Middle in 2014. She is looking forward to the opportunity.

“It’s just an honor that they would even consider hiring me, and I’m just really excited to be back in high school athletics and being there to help the kids,” Fagan said. “I want to do whatever I can to be helpful to the school, the community and the coaches, but I’m excited about the group of kids that are there, too.

“It’s a great athletic program, and the school is doing big things. I vow to work hard for all Polk County athletes.”

Fagan’s arrival will coincide with what could be Polk County’s final season in the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is slated to realign member schools in new classifications for the 2025-26 athletic season, with the state set to adopt eight athletic classifications for the first time.

Fagan will be busy getting up to speed on the realignment process as well as the daily happenings around Wolverine athletics.

“My priorities are just getting my feet wet and getting back into the groove of high school athletics,” she said. “I’ll be leaning a lot on the people around me until I get a feel for things. I’ll be working hard to do the best I can.”