For the first time in her professional career, Jaime Kaplan is in desperate need of a calendar. After years of tennis dictating the way a day feels, Kaplan has been thrown off by her latest professional endeavor.
Three weeks ago, Kaplan resigned as Healy Point Country Club’s Director of Tennis and Promotions and took an administrative position with Stratford. Since then, she has had a difficult time keeping track of her days.
“I’ve always had Mondays off; now I don’t, so it’s weird. (On Tuesday) I kept thinking it was Wednesday because I worked (Monday), so it just takes a bit to get used to that,” Kaplan said. “It was funny. I was telling friends I can finally say, ‘Thank God it’s Friday.’ ”
In 20 years in the country club business and her years before that as a professional tennis player on the WTA Tour, Kaplan had never had a Saturday off, so it was strange when her first weekend at Stratford rolled around and she found herself with no professional obligations.
Perhaps her biggest adjustment, however, has been being confined to an office each day. The dimensions of a tennis court vary from 27-by-78 feet for singles matches and 36-by-78 for doubles. Her office at Stratford, she said, is about 8-by-8.
“There’s an adjustment, and certainly it’s an adjustment being in an office,” said Kaplan, whose professional tennis career includes playing in five Wimbledons, four U.S. Opens, four French Opens and one Australian Open. “Occasionally, I just get up and look out the window or walk outside because it’s different. But I’m very fortunate that I’m able to coach the tennis teams, so I’m able to get my tennis fix every day for right now, so I’m really enjoying that.”
She’s also enjoying her new position despite all the changes in the schedule she was used to for so long. Kaplan is now Stratford’s major gifts coordinator, a position that allows her to use her previous volunteer experience to help raise money for Stratford’s capital campaign.
Kaplan, who has an extensive volunteer resume as a fundraiser, is charged with helping to find funding for Stratford’s future growth, which currently includes eight tennis courts and a new science building.
A meeting between Kaplan and Stratford’s first-year Head of School, Robert Veto, last year included a conversation about the possibility of Kaplan taking her current position. Already Stratford’s tennis coach, Kaplan expressed to Veto that she was interested in taking a more formal position with the school.
“I sort of just filed that away,” Veto said, “and when I went looking for somebody to add to our staff, it was just sort of a natural.”
The move came as somewhat of a relief to Kaplan, who has been fighting the physical rigors of tennis for most of her career. Eight knee surgeries and a shoulder surgery made teaching at a high level very difficult, so taking a position outside of tennis for the first time in her career was bittersweet.
“It was just time,” Kaplan said. “I had been in the country club business for 20 years --director of tennis, teaching pro -- and just felt like it was time for my next career, the one that would take me to retirement.”
Stratford is grateful to have presented Kaplan with that opportunity. Her reputation with the school automatically brings credibility to her position, Veto said, and her vision for the campus and the future of the school is shared by other administrators, as well.
“She, like a lot of Stratford alums, has a great grounding in the tradition of the school, and also great ambition for it to continue to be one of the top schools in Georgia,” Veto said. “She does bring some different talents to the table.”