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Rock Island AD Cartee finally gets his break in education
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com
Chris Cartee, Rock Island High School athletic director, began his career as a police officer before becoming a teacher/coach and now an athletic director at Rock Island High School.
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ROCK ISLAND -- Chris Cartee walked away from Wartburg College with an education degree and plenty of high hopes. However, like many a college grad, he couldn't find a job in his field of choice.

"I wanted to be a physical education teacher and coach,'' Mr. Cartee said. "I wasn't getting any bites, and I knew I had to start making some money. I decided to look around and started taking police officer exams in that summer after my graduation.

"In August of that year, I was offered a job as a crisis interventionist in the Davenport School District, which I took. Still, I continued to pursue the law enforcement exams and, in November 1989, I was offered a position with the Cedar Falls Police Department. In January 1990, I started working there."

That didn't mean he lost his desire to teach and coach. In fact, he remained on as lead instructor for the Davenport schools' summer clinics and assistant baseball coach at Davenport Central.

Mr. Cartee remained in Cedar Falls for one year before taking a job at Per Mar for a couple of years. Then, he moved to the Bettendorf Police Department, where he found plenty of opportunities to use his teaching skills.

"The police job allowed me to stay in touch with education,'' he said. "I was an instructor in several areas and did a lot for field instruction, which is not a lot different from being in the classroom."

He also spent three years as a commander for the Quad-Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group Unit. All the while, he was able to continue coaching his children and watch them grow up.

It was in his final year with the Bettendorf Police Department that Mr. Cartee finally got the break he was looking for.

"My last position with Bettendorf was as liaison officer at Bettendorf Middle School," he said. "I was at a crossroad in my life because I was No. 1 on the sergeant's list to be promoted, but being in a school made me start thinking about teaching and coaching again.

"I found out the guy whose job I was going to possibly get wasn't going to retire, so when a job came open in Bettendorf (schools) I took it. I'm so glad I made that decision."

The next school year, Mr. Cartee was offered a job being head baseball coach at Davenport West and a split teaching position between two Davenport elementary schools.

"I took that and never looked back at law enforcement," he said. "As soon as I got into teaching, I started working on my administrative degree. Once I got that, the athletic director's job at Davenport Central opened, and I got that.

"I had a great career in law enforcement. I was given some tremendous opportunities, and I have no complaints. At the same time, teaching and coaching was always my passion. Then, to have the opportunity at Central, that was like a dream come true. Here I was, a nine-time letter winner at Central, and now I'm running the athletic department."

The Davenport Central job was one he figured he'd never leave. However, two years ago, the job at Rock Island High School came open when Bob Swanson retired, and again, Mr. Cartee's interest was piqued.

"I really thought I'd be at Central for at least 20 years. It was the perfect place for me," Mr. Cartee said.

"Then, the job at Rocky opened up, and I couldn't help but go for it. ... Central is in Iowa, Rocky is in Illinois -- a great all-around athletic program with tremendous history and support. It was a new challenge for me, and I'm so glad I've been given this opportunity."







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  Today is Friday, April 25, the 115th day of 2014. There are 250 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Never in the history of Rock Island was there such a demand for houses as at present. Our city is suffering for the want of suitable tenement houses.

1889 — 125 years ago: The choir of Central Presbyterian Church presented a ladies concert under the direction of S.T. Bowlby.

1914 — 100 years ago: Miss Rosella Benson was elected president of the Standard Bearers of Spencer Memorial Methodist Church.

1939 — 75 years ago: Mrs. Nell Clapper was elected president of the Rock Island Business and Professional Women's Club.

1964 — 50 years ago: Gerald Hickman, of Seattle, Wash, will move his family to Rock Island to assume the position of produce buyer for the Eagle Food Center chain of food stores. This announcement was made today by Bernard Weindruch, president of Eagles.

1989 — 25 years ago: Care & Share, formed in 1984 to provide food to jobless and needy Quad-Citians, will disband because the major part of a crisis created by plant closings is over. Food for the needy is still necessary. So groups separately will continue to raise money and collect food.




(More History)