Chris Bullock

Orcas School District welcomes new athletic director

After a high school and college career in athletics, Chris Bullock devoted his life to inspiring others in the art of fitness.

“Sports can be a very big component of how kids see school and their education,” said Bullock, who is replacing Vicki Vandermay as the new Orcas Island School District Athletic Director.

Bullock grew up in small towns in Nevada, where he played football and basketball, and competed in track. Both of his parents were teachers, and his dad was an athletic director and coach. He received a scholarship for his work as an artist and played football at the University of Redlands in southern California.

After earning an undergraduate degree in sociology, anthropology, physical education and art in 2006, Bullock moved to Seattle for his master’s degree at Seattle University. While working at a car dealership to earn money for his education, he met his future wife, Sarah, who was also finishing her degree.

After completing his master’s in sports administration and leadership, Bullock – who is also a strength and conditioning specialist and a sports performance coach – opened an athletic development center called Lift. The Bellevue-based gym employs world-class athletes and coaches who train Olympic competitors and nationally ranked athletes of all ages. Bullock will continue to own and operate the fitness center.

As the Orcas athletic director, he will manage coaching staff, schedule games, set up events and oversee athlete eligibility.

“I am excited to be here and looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

Coming in halfway through the year, Bullock will initially learn about the department before implementing any changes. Long-term, he plans to “make sure that athletes have enriching opportunities that enhance their education.”

Bullock says some of the lessons he has learned after being an athlete are: what it means to really work hard; accountability to a team; and how to win, lose and compete respectfully.

Bullock and his wife had long desired to own a place on Orcas. They visited the island frequently, as Sarah’s family had been vacationing at Beach Haven Resort since the 1960s. The two were married at the resort and then spent three weeks on Orcas for their honeymoon.

“The community here reminds me of where I grew up,” said Bullock. “We were originally looking at a vacation home, but we shifted gears and said ‘let’s make this happen right now.’”

In his spare time, Bullock mountain bikes, snowboards and is a fly fisherman. Sarah works from home in the tech industry. After being hired by the school district, the Bullocks bought property, where their three rescue dogs – a German shepherd, golden retriever mix and miniature pinscher – are living the high life.

“We went from a 6,000-square foot lot in Bellevue to five acres,” said Bullock.

He still paints and draws, creates sculpture and does woodworking, and says his two areas of interest are a natural fit for him.

“You can know the facts on paper but to effectively teach, there is an art form to coaching,” said Bullock.