Rabun Gap Stories

Faculty Profile: Hope Stanghill, Strength & Conditioning Coach

Hope Stanghill joined the Rabun Gap community in 2021 as our strength and conditioning coach. She has competed in the world championships for Team USA in Olympic weightlifting and brings years of lifting experience to our strength and conditioning program. She holds a Level 1 Coaches Certification with USA Weightlifting and graduated from Northern Michigan University with an M.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Management of Health and Fitness.  

In her role at Rabun Gap, Coach Stanghill leads Olympic-style weightlifting classes during the school day, two of which are girls-only. Coach Stanghill also works closely with all of our athletic teams on strength and conditioning and instructs workout classes for employees. 
What makes Rabun Gap special to you?
The community of Rabun Gap is very “family” oriented and allows for many great opportunities for the students that I believe you can’t find at other schools. 
What have you enjoyed most working with our students so far?
I have enjoyed how open-minded the students are to learning new lifts in the weight room and how hard they work to get better each day. They all have a great desire to achieve goals and know they must work hard to do so. 

Tell us about the strength and conditioning program.
The Strength and Conditioning Program is an Olympic Style Weightlifting program that focuses on full body explosive movements that can correlate to all sports and everyday movements. 

What are your goals and ambitions in developing the program and our students?
My ambition for the program and for the students is to have all the kids understand the Olympic Lifts and the use that have for their sports. For our students, I would like for the gym to be a space that has all the equipment and resources they need to achieve their athletic goals. I believe it is important to develop a gym that can be used for many purposes and for all the sports the school has to offer. 
Why did you decide to become a teacher/coach? 
I chose to become a coach because I wanted to influence the young generations in a positive way. I believe some of the best lessons in life can be taught in the weight room and I know that is the place where I can make the most impact. It is also very rewarding to see students start to improve on their lifts and see the confidence in them grow in the weight room. 
What is your teaching/coaching philosophy?  
My coaching philosophy is multi-joint, full body, explosive movements. This is where the Olympic lifts come into play. I believe they can have a great effect on an athlete’s performance. 
What was it like to compete for Team USA in Olympic weightlifting at the world championships?
It is one of the greatest honors to be on Team USA and represent my country. Competing at the World Championships is an amazing experience, and I have learned so much about the sport and myself at these competitions. It has allowed me to mature in my sport and has taken me to some amazing places. I have very grateful I was able to have those experiences in my life. 

What is your favorite memory from the time you have worked here so far?
My favorite memory is working with the female athletes here. Seeing each of them grow and become more confident in their abilities and strengths has been a very rewarding experience. I am proud of all my students, but my girls have really shown up this year, and I couldn’t be happier with them. 
What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
I really enjoy photography and traveling on my free time. It is amazing to see the world around us through a lens. Other than that the gym is pretty much my life!
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.