The Everyday Girl Boss: Georgia Deren McCarthy

In this life you’ll meet, come across, and be blessed with some pretty remarkable people that will make an impact in your life. They will teach you life lessons, serve as a role model and mentor and will encourage you to be the best version of yourself. I’m lucky enough to have many of these types of people in my life, and this next Girl Boss is one of them. Not only is she a role model and someone I personally look up to, but she is this for many other people including student, coaches, athletes, family and friends.

Georgia Deren McCarthy is my cousin, friend and soon-to-be retired District Director of Heath, Physical Education and Athletics at Huntington in Long Island, NY. She has mentored, coached and inspired so many people not only within the Huntington School District but throughout her everyday life. And this is the very reason why I think she is a total #GirlBoss. So, let’s learn more about Georgia, her accomplishments and how she created a professional career she is truly proud of.

Name: Georgia Deren McCarthy

Profession: Huntington District Director of Heath, Physical Education and Athletics

Years in Profession: 33

Additional Achievements:
Women of the Year and various Town of Huntington Proclamations for my work in athletics.

Nominated for NYSPHSAA Suffolk County AD of the Year in 2018.

Tell me more about YOU, the dedicated and hardworking Girl Boss behind the profession.
A member of Huntington High School’s Class of 1982, I was a three sport athlete and earned a full NCAA Division I basketball scholarship to James Madison University, graduating in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.  Employed by ABC Television in Virginia, handling sports logging and writing duties, I later held a similar position with NBC in New York before ultimately deciding to pursue a career in education.

Adelphi University awarded me a master’s degree in physical education in 1990.  During my time at Adelphi University I was a graduate assistant women’s basketball coach, a graduate assistant sports information director and the Adephi’s head women’s tennis coach.  I started my teaching and coaching career in the Huntington School District where I taught physical education and coached multiple sports.  I won four consecutive “Coach of the Year” Awards while coaching boys basketball. 

After teaching for 12 years in Huntington, I earned my state administrative certification through Dowling College in 2002 and became one of a few female athletic directors in Suffolk County and the first in Huntington.  My father, Ray Deren, once held the same position in Huntington that I now do and I regularly credit him for a lengthy list of innovations and accomplishments on behalf of the physical education and athletic programs, as well as for my own success.

My family and I  started an annual scholarship in his name and presents it each year at the Blue Devil senior athletic awards dinner.  In addition to my other duties in health, pe and athletics, I am the driver education coordinator and chairperson of the district’s Comprehensive Health Advisory Council.

I take pride in personally knowing almost all of the students participating in the district’s athletic program. I consistently attend all of the meets and games at the middle and high school level. 

In addition to my responsibilities in my district, I am also the president of the Suffolk County Athletic Director’s Association and hold the following committee titles; Section XI’s female Athletic Council representative for Conference II, Conference II vice president. Section XI’s representative on the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s modified (middle school/junior high school) Section XI Modified Committee chairperson, Official’s negotiations, Finance, Sportsmanship, Eligibility and President’s committee member.  

A love for sports led me to develop a summer lacrosse and basketball camp, which I directed for nine years and which grew to become one of the premier programs in the northeast. I was an AAU basketball coach for many years, coaching my younger son.

Tell us more about how you got to where you are and how you became a Girl Boss.
I had no intention of getting into the education field and the circumstances of becoming a female sports announcer (my lifelong dream) were not in the cards during the late 80’s/early 90’s for me.  With that said, I could not be more fulfilled professionally as I know this career has allowed me to do great things and allowed me to raise two sons close to me.  I was motivated to get this administrative position and do it well due to my family history in Huntington and my passion for athletics.  

What does it mean to you to be a #GIRLBOSS?
I really never thought of myself as a “girl boss” because in this position if you do what you are supposed to do and do it well, no one judges you or questions you because you are a female.  However, I like the fact that many female student-athletes that I mentored went into the field of education and are successful teachers and coaches and a few have aspirations to become Athletic Directors.  

What do you love most about your career and being a Girl Boss?
I love my job and working with all of the teachers, coaches and athletes.  Our daily interactions with planning and solving problems is a challenge and I feel at the end of the day we “won”.

I love when my past students come back to visit to say hi and let me know how much they appreciated everything I did for them while they were in high school.  One former student-athlete called me and said that he appreciated my being hard on him during his high school years and that it annoyed him but now he understands why as a grown man with a brand new baby girl.  He really called me to tell me he named his daughter after me (Georgia).

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced within your professional career?Managing hundreds of people and personalities.  When planning an event or during the actual event, I am dealing with coaches, athletes, parents, event supervisors, security guards, officials, score-keepers, facility crews, bus drivers, etc.  It is inevitable that something comes up and people’s emotions are running high and they have different view points and I have to be the one to calm everyone down and be a resource manager to problem solve and get things back on track.

Is there a moment during your career that stands out to you and validates your decision to become a Girl Boss?
As I stated earlier, I had no intentions of getting into the education field even when I was in college.  When I started teaching and coaching I was happy but not fully satisfied with my career and where I was going.  Once I started taking the administrative classes I realized that I wanted to be in a leadership role.  After a year or two of being the Athletic Director and really understanding the importance of my position to the school and community, I knew that I was always meant to be in this position.  

What advice would you give to aspiring Girl Bosses?
Be true to who you are and your individual philosophies.  Always be willing to listen and learn.  Never make excuses or point fingers at anyone as a Girl Boss because at the end of the day, you need to be answering any questions or correcting any mistakes that your staff makes as you are the one running the whole show.   

Be honest, be transparent and be caring.  A good quote for a Girl Boss is “It is OK to rule with an iron fist, if sometimes in that fist is a rose”  I believe that to be the truth.  You must be strong with your demands but caring and understanding as well.

On Retirement...
I love my job and everyone I work with.  I am going to really miss all of my colleagues and especially my office assistants and the coaches I work with on a daily basis.  I will hold all of these great memories close to my heart.

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