Debra Pourquoi was recently appointed to the position of athletic director at The Dalton Academy. Fondly known as “Coach P,” she has been a part of The Dalton Academy since it first opened in 2021. In addition to working as the athletic director, she is a teacher and coach of the girls basketball team at The Dalton Academy.
Pourquoi started her career with Dalton Public Schools long before being officially hired. She started out as a classroom mom and later as Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) president when her daughter was in kindergarten at Westwood Elementary.
“I actually started out as a mom,” Pourquoi said. “I thought, well, I’m spending a lot of time in school and this would be a great time to change my career.”
In 2002, she began her 20-year career with Dalton Public Schools in a more official capacity. Pourquoi worked in the district’s Human Resources department, then later transferred to a kindergarten paraprofessional position at City Park Elementary where she continued to work in various roles for fourteen years. She then moved back to Westwood School and obtained her teacher certification in Exceptional Students Services, as well as her physical education endorsement, before eventually moving to The Dalton Academy.
Pourquoi said she always kept her daughter in mind when starting her career as an educator.
“As a mom, I know what I want for my child,” Pourquoi said. “I wanted to make sure I did everything I could so that other kids had everything that I would want for my own child in education.”
In addition to spending many years working for the district, Pourquoi is an alumna of Dalton Public Schools. She attended Roan Street School, Morris Street School, Fort Hill, Dalton Junior High and graduated from Dalton High School in 1985. She was a lifelong athlete and she played basketball and ran track for the district.
In her role as athletic director, Pourquoi said she hopes to continue to develop her connections with coaches and student athletes.
“One of my goals is to first, make sure I’m always listening to and supporting coaches,” Pourqoui said. “After that, making sure I’m also supporting athletes. Not just on the field, but also in the classroom. It’s making sure that you’re serving the whole student.”
Her favorite part of working with student athletes is watching them grow, both on and off the field.
“You will see students who have overcome situations inside the school and outside of school,” Pourquoi said. “Athletics is a way to give them a chance to shine. My favorite part is watching them grow as a student and as an athlete.”
Pourquoi said she works hard to make sure every student feels successful and valued while attending DPS. She also works within the community to support growth and knowledge through education for struggling students and parents. Her favorite quote is from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”