Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Celebrating leadership & longevity: Cheryl Etlinger spotlight



Native Houstonian and Assistant Athletic Director Cheryl Etlinger began her career in SBISD even before she was officially hired, and is still serving with enthusiasm and integrity 15 years later.

While completing a bachelor of science in kinesiology degree at Texas A&M University, a student-teaching rotation brought her to Spring Woods High School (SWHS). She practiced her teaching and coaching skills under the tutelage of baseball coach Brian Keefe and former math teacher, Jane Short.

Like déjà vu, Etlinger was hired to teach math and coach basketball and softball at Spring Woods High School.

“Cheryl has always maintained thoroughness in her dedication to her profession,” said Coach Keefe.

Twice in her teaching career at SWHS, departing head coaches recommended Etlinger to “fill their shoes.”

“When someone you work with so closely, day in and day out, believes enough in you that they want you to carry on the work of the program, that is a huge win,” said Etlinger.

While head coaching at SWHS, she gained experience leading the varsity programs, managing coaches and budgets, facilitating camps, collaborated with the Booster Club, hosted tournaments, etc.

These leadership opportunities resulted in Etlinger’s promotion to her current role in the Athletics department nine years ago.

“SBISD puts tremendous emphasis on the growth and experiences of its teachers,” she said.  “SBISD sees the teachers as an investment, and works to grow that investment.”

Her assistant athletic director duties include:

  • Overseeing cross country, tennis, basketball, softball
  • Assisting with Athletic budget and purchasing items
  • Supporting the district’s UIL compliance
  • Managing sports camps
  • Helping with concessions operations
  • And currently, preparing for six graduation events in Tully Stadium the week of June 1

Serving as a leader in the department allows for Etlinger to support student athletes across the district. This is particularly rewarding when former players contact her about successes they have achieved.

“The highlights are hearing they believed anything was possible and any dream could be a reality,” she said.

Since the spring sport season was shortened this year due to COVID-19, Etlinger is following her own advice to be patient and flexible as adjustments are made to a new normal. She leans on her can-do attitude as the department reinvents pathways for students’ athletic successes.

Thank you Cheryl Etlinger for your service to SBISD and to Every Child.