New BAHS athletic director, assistant principal has experience on four continents, knack for mountain climbing

Thu, 06/11/2020 - 12:15pm

BELFAST — The athletic department, and leadership team, at Belfast Area High School has added an individual with a resume in education that spans four continents.  

The RSU 71 school board voted June 8 to approve Matthew Battani as the high school’s new athletic director and assistant principal, replacing Terry Kenniston who announced his retirement earlier this year. 

RSU 71 superintendent Mary Alice McLean, who noted the district is delighted to have Battani join the district, said Battani was selected from a large pool of excellent candidates. 

Battani was born in a small rural Iowa town and participated in football and wrestling during high school. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, where he was a member of the wrestling program, and is on track to earn a master’s degree from Harvard University. 

Battani has accumulated experience in education through positions as a teacher, administrator, coach (cross country and track) athletic director in Missouri, Hong Kong, Germany and Uganda.  

In his personal time, Battani is a marathon runner, mountain climber and sailor.

Through his passion for mountain climbing, he produced a free rock climbing and hiking guide for Uganda, the country’s first ever guide, after nearly four years of exploring the African country. 

He identified 30 pristine locations, an additional 20 than previously known locations. 

“My main aim with the book is to give something back to Uganda for giving me a warm home these past four years,” he wrote in a blog post. “Tourism in the country is very undeveloped, yet has much to discover and an excellent vibe. Trips here cost very little if you ‘go local’ and explore off the beaten track adventures. As Uganda experienced only a ‘light touch’ of colonialism, you can get a truly authentic experience here as much traditional culture remains largely intact.” 

An attempt to reach Battani for comment on his new position was not successful. 

Reach George Harvey and the sports department at: