NORTH LITTLE ROCK — One year after he had the unenviable task of succeeding a high school coaching legend at Guy-Perkins, former athletic director Damon Teas begins the 2019-20 school year at a new campus with a much more important title.
Teas was named as the campus director of Premier High School earlier in the summer — an independently operated, publicly funded open-enrollment charter school – which will be located in North Little Rock.
The move comes exactly a year after he took the reins from former head coaching legend John Hutchcraft at Guy-Perkins upon being a fixture at the school for ten years.
Hutchcraft retired following a 42-year Arkansas Hall of Fame career which included 11 state championships.
Premier High School will be one of the 38 Premier schools operated by Responsive Education Solutions of Texas.
There are currently 36 campuses in Texas and two in Arkansas.
The schools are designed for students who prefer a smaller high school experience or need flexibility in scheduling to help accommodate work or family demands and wish to obtain a high school diploma.
“We are already half full and we have only had a week to show off the school,” Teas said. “It will be a way that a lot of these kids can get back on track.”
There are already enrollees from a few of the schools from around the Little Rock area and Teas is hoping the new campus can become a resource for students at traditional schools who have fallen behind their classmates and want to gain credits towards graduation.
During his years at Guy-Perkins, Teas took on numerous roles — head junior boys basketball coach, track – where his squad finished second in state one season – then assumed the role of head junior girls coach, boys senior head coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal.
On the administrative side, Teas has taught eighth grade science and Arkansas history along with physical education and math at all levels.
Teas currently holds bachelor and master’s degrees from UCA and is a graduate of Mayflower High.
He is also worked in both the McRae and Two Rivers school districts as well as the private Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock.
The lure of returning to an administration role was a big selling point for Teas, who admitted that it was tough to watch his Thunderbirds struggle through an uncharacteristically poor season in which his squad finished 9-23 after graduating nine seniors from its back-to-back championship teams.
“No matter what I did, Guy-Perkins will always be John Hutchraft’s program and that’s the way it should be,” Teas said. “I had a very good group of junior high kids that were successful so they have a bright future.”
Keane Guiden, who has been with the Guy school district for two years as the senior girls team will take over as coach of the senior boys.
Guiden is a Guy-Perkins graduate, played under Hutchcraft and is in his second season back after a short head coaching stint in DeWitt.
Teas admitted that coaching at Guy-Perkins and winning a state title was his dream job at one point in his life, but is instead focused on making sure all of his students have successful lives long after the ball stops bouncing.
“Coach Hutchcraft was a mentor and taught me so many lessons,” Teas said. “And most of it had nothing to do with basketball. Of course, I wanted to leave after winning a third state title (at Guy) more than anything, but the relationships that I will form and the impact that I have with these kids are far more important to me.”