Shannon Taylor has been an educator, coach, and athletic director who has, in her own words, “done it all.” She was raised in Antelope Valley in Southern California and believes it is more than serendipity that she landed in Woodlake, an area that in the 19th century was also called Antelope Valley by pioneer settlers.
“As I get closer to retirement, I wanted to do something in sports,” Taylor, 50, said this week in her new office. “Filling this vacancy here directing the District’s sports programs seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
Taylor started her education at Delta College in the Stockton area while she helped the family with home care. She later earned a B.A. in English at Cal State Stanislaus.
Taylor has worked or coached at several schools in the Fresno area while raising her family in Clovis. She was working at Washington Union High School in rural Fresno County in the late 1990s when the 6’5” superstar DeShawn Stevenson played basketball there. Stevenson was drafted as an NBA first-rounder right out of high school in 2000, so Woodlake’s new AD knows how to spot athletic talent.
Along the way, Shannon coached softball for 26 years, most recently a travel team. Currently living in Hanford, the package Taylor brings to Woodlake includes her youngest daughter, Caitlin, who enrolled this semester as a junior at Woodlake. Caitlin is a lefty softball pitcher with plenty of experience.
“I’ve already met with Manny, the girls’ softball coach who has the varsity team going in the right direction,” Taylor said.
On her office wall, Taylor has an oversized team picture of her daughter’s team last year. The Sierra Pacific High School part is covered with tape and obscured from view.
“If I’m here, I’m a Woodlake Tiger,” Taylor said. “I’m all about school spirit, I have tons of teaching experience, and I do my job, and take pride in it.”