New NFHS Officers, Board Members Elected for 2015-2016
27 Jul, 2015
Tom Welter, executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), is the new president of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for 2015-16. Welter, the 56th president of the NFHS, began his one-year term July 3 following the NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), was elected by the NFHS Board of Directors to the position of president-elect for the upcoming year.
In addition, the following individuals were approved by the NFHS National Council for four-year terms on the NFHS Board of Directors: Karissa Niehoff, Ed.D., executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CAS-CIAC), Section 1; Ed Sheakley, executive director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA), Section 6; and Kevin Fitzgerald, Ed.D., superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District in Wyoming, Delaware, at large, Sections 2 and 6. Another new member of the Board of Directors is Bart Thompson, who has succeeded Eddie Bonine as executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) and as the Section 7 Board representative. Thompson’s term will end in 2018.
Welter, a native of Oregon, joined the OSAA in 1995 as assistant executive director and was chosen executive director in 2001.
After graduating from Oregon State University in 1971, Welter taught in Whyalla, South Australia, for three years before returning to Oregon in 1974, where he began a 20-year term of service at Central Catholic High School in Portland. He began as a teacher and coach and was the school’s athletic director for 18 years and vice principal/dean of students for 15 years.
During his years at Central Catholic, Welter was president of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association (OADA) in 1990-91. In 2010, he received the OADA Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the Oregon Athletic Coaches Distinguished Service Award. He also was honored by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) with the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1993 and the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 1996. Welter was inducted into the Central Catholic High School Hall of Fame in 2005 and the OADA Hall of Fame in 2014.
Among his previous service to the NFHS, Welter was a member of the Sanctioning Committee (1995-98), Football Rules Committee (1995-2004) and the Strategic Planning Committee (2008). He has made several presentations at the NFHS Summer Meeting, NFHS/NIAAA National Athletic Directors Conference and NFHS Legal Meeting.
Musselman joined the KSHSAA staff in 1988 as assistant executive director, a position he held until being promoted to executive director in 1996. A graduate of Ness City (Kansas) High School, Musselman earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Kansas State University in 1974 and his master’s in secondary school administration from Wichita State University in 1987.
Musselman began his teaching and coaching career in 1974 at Independence (Kansas) Junior High School. He then held teaching and coaching positions at Andover (Kansas) Junior-Senior High School, Beloit (Kansas) Junior-Senior High School and Halstead (Kansas) High School. Prior to joining the KSHSAA staff, Musselman was the principal at LaCrosse (Kansas) High School.
In addition to his current service on the Board of Directors, Musselman has served on numerous NFHS committees, including the Football Rules Committee, the Citizenship/Equity Committee, the Marketing Committee and the Appeal Board. Musselman served three terms as chair of the NFHS TARGET Committee (1992-95), which was involved with drug education/prevention programs. He was a member of three different NFHS Strategic Planning Committees, and he has been involved with other national organizations, including the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and United School Administrators of Kansas.
Last year, Musselman represented the NFHS Board of Directors on the NFHS Concussion Summit, which was appointed to develop recommendations for minimizing risk of concussion in sports and to develop best practices for schools and state high school associations. In June, Musselman completed six years of service on the Board of Directors of the NFHS Foundation. Musselman was elected chairman during the 2014-15 term and led a major reorganization and expansion of the Foundation Board and its governance structure.
Niehoff was named deputy executive director of CAS-CIAC in July 2010 and assumed the executive director’s position in January 2011. She began her career in Connecticut public education in 1989 as a physical education instructor at Greenwich High School. In the succeeding years, she was a teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and principal at the middle school and high school levels.
Niehoff was a highly successful field hockey coach at Litchfield High School and Joel Barlow High School with four conference titles and one state championship. She has served on the United States Field Hockey Association Board of Ethics since 1996. Niehoff also coached high school volleyball, softball, basketball and track. In 2000, Niehoff was appointed assistant principal of Har-Bur Middle School in Burlington. Four years later, she assumed the position of principal of Lewis Mills High School, a post she held until joining the Connecticut association.
Niehoff served on the Education Committee of the United States Olympic Committee, authoring the “OlympiKids School Celebration Guide,” acting as U.S. delegate to International Olympic Academies in Greece and Canada, and representing the USOC at numerous national conventions, conferences and educational programs. She was co-founder and dean of the “Passing The Torch” Academy For Youth Sport Leadership, a USOC initiative to promote leadership and the spirit of Olympism within the realm of youth sport.
Prior to joining the Connecticut association, Niehoff served on numerous CAS and CIAC boards and committees, including the Field Hockey Committee, CIAC Board of Control and chair of the Sportsmanship Committee.
Sheakley became executive director of the Oklahoma association in May 2009 after serving as interim executive director for one month. He was an assistant director with the OSSAA for 17 years before accepting his new position. During his tenure as assistant director, Sheakley was responsible for wrestling, slow-pitch softball, volleyball and academic bowl.
Before joining the OSSAA in 1992, Sheakley served as an administrator, educator and coach in Oklahoma’s Blackwell, Madill and Clinton school districts, including the roles of assistant principal and athletic director at Blackwell High School. Before moving to Oklahoma in 1982, Sheakley taught and coached in his home state of Iowa.
Among his previous involvement at the national level, Sheakley is a former member of the NFHS Equity Committee and NFHS Appeal Board.
Fitzgerald has been superintendent of the Caesar Rodney School District since 2007 after seven years as assistant principal and nine years as principal at Caesar Rodney High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University (Maryland), his master’s from St. John’s College (Maryland) and his doctorate from the University of Delaware.
Fitzgerald began his career in education in Maryland in 1978 as a social studies and English teacher. He also coached football, basketball and baseball, and was a high school athletic director and basketball official.
In 2002, Fitzgerald was recognized as Delaware’s Secondary Principal of the Year, and in 2013 he was selected as Delaware’s Superintendent of the Year. He is a former president of the Delaware Chief School Officers Association and chairman of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Thompson, who joined the NIAA as executive director effective July 1, has served as assistant director of the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) for the past eight years.
Thompson’s responsibilities at the UHSAA included soccer, cross county, track, wrestling, and speech and debate. He also handled the association’s legislative issues and was the coordinator of sports medicine.
Prior to joining the UHSAA staff in the summer of 2007, Thompson coached football, wrestling and track for 22 years at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah, after beginning his career in education as a teacher and coach at Clearfield (Utah) High School.
Thompson previously served on the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Speech Committee.
About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS): The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 16 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at www.nfhs.org.