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NFHS Recognizes High School Athletic Directors with 2021 Citation Awards

By NFHS on December 06, 2021 nfhs news Print

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will award NFHS Citations to 16 high school athletic directors December 13 in Denver, Colorado, during luncheon festivities at the 52nd annual National Athletic Directors Conference sponsored jointly by the NFHS and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).

In addition to the eight recipients being honored this year, the eight honorees from 2020 will be recognized as well since last year’s National Athletic Directors Conference was held virtually because of the pandemic. 

NFHS Citations are presented annually to outstanding athletic directors in recognition of contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels. State associations nominate athletic directors for NFHS Citations, and the NFHS Board of Directors approves recipients.

The 2020 award recipients are Bill Fitzgerald, CMAA, retired athletic director, Fremont, Nebraska; Tol Gropp, CMAA, athletic director, Timberline High School, Boise, Idaho; Matt Hensley, CMAA, assistant principal of extracurricular activities, Mahomet-Seymour High School; Mahomet, Illinois; Paige Hershey, CMAA, executive director of athletics, Spring Branch Independent School District, Houston, Texas; Mike Hunter, CMAA, athletic director, Provo (Utah) High School; Joe Kimling, CAA, athletic director, Madeira (Ohio) City Schools; Susan Robbins, CMAA, athletic director, Gray New Gloucester High School, Gray, Maine; and Russell Wambles, CMAA, former athletic director, Apopka, Florida.

The 2021 recipients are David Boyack, CAA, athletic director, Maple Mountain High School, Spanish Fork, Utah; Deran Coe, CMAA, director of athletics, Wake County Schools, Cary, North Carolina; James Davis, CAA, retired athletic director, Belmont, Massachusetts; Dwayne Johnson, CMAA, athletic director, Port Angeles (Washington) High School; Lisa Langston, CMAA, district director of athletics, Fort Worth (Texas) Independent School District; Gary Ray, CAA, retired athletic director and state administrator, Fayetteville, West Virginia; Meg Seng, CMAA, athletic administrator, Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Kevin Simmerman, CMAA, assistant principal/athletic director, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, Kansas.

Following are biographical sketches on the 2020 and 2021 NFHS Citation recipients:

2020 RECIPIENTS

Bill Fitzgerald, CMAA
Fremont, Nebraska

Bill Fitzgerald, CMAA, retired in 2017 from his position as activities director/assistant principal at Fremont (Nebraska) High School, where he had served since 2005. It culminated a 39-year career in education, including 24 years as an athletic administrator. He currently is executive director of the Nebraska State Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NSIAAA).

Fitzgerald’s first teaching and coaching position was at Central Heights School District in Richmond, Kansas, from 1978 to 1981. Prior to his position at Fremont, Fitzgerald was an instructor, coach, and activities director at Louisville (Nebraska) Public Schools, serving that district for 24 years. While at Louisville, he coached volleyball, boys basketball and girls track and field. He led the girls track and field team to a Nebraska State Activities Association (NSAA) Class C state runner-up finish in 1984 and 1985. Fitzgerald was also the activities coordinator for the East Central Nebraska Conference for 10 years during this time.

At the state level, Fitzgerald has been actively involved in NSAA, serving as a delegate to the NSAA Representative Assembly 12 times. He served as vice-chair of the District II Managing Committee, which helps to manage NSAA District II meetings and affairs, from 2012 through 2017. During his time at Fremont and Louisville, Fitzgerald hosted numerous NSAA sub-district and district events and also served on the Nebraska Coaches Association Board from 2002 to 2007 and was a Girls Track Advisory Board member from 1984 to 1990.

Prior to assuming the NSIAAA’s executive director position, Fitzgerald served NSIAAA Board as the District II Representative for three years. He later was elected to a four-year term on the NSIAAA Executive Board, serving as President in 2012-13. He recently served as the NSIAAA Retired Members Coordinator and Mentoring Coordinator for new athletic directors from 2017 to 2020.

For the NIAAA, Fitzgerald completed his CAA Certification in 2003 and his CMAA Certification in 2009. He joined the NIAAA Publications Committee in 2014 and was appointed to vice-chair in 2017. In January 2021, he became  chair of the committee.

Fitzgerald’s recognitions include selection as the NSIAAA District II Athletic Director of the Year in 2013, and the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2013. In 2014 and 2018, he was recognized as the Nebraska Athletic Director of the Year by the NSIAAA. In 2016, he was honored with the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award at the National Conference in Nashville.

 

Tol Gropp, CMAA
Boise, Idaho

Tol Gropp, CMAA, has been an advocate for student-athletes in Idaho during his 18 years as athletic director of Timberline High School in Boise. Among his achievements, Gropp has assisted the school’s booster club, which has raised more than $720,000 since 2004. 

Dating to 2006, Gropp has served as the Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) tournament director for 39 local tournaments and 12 state tournaments, including the state football tournament and state girls basketball tournament four and eight times, respectively. In 2010 and 2014, Gropp was recognized as the SIC Athletic Director of the Year, and from 2012 to 2014, he was the conference president. 

Within the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA), Gropp served a term on the IHSAA Board from 2014 to 2019, and he has been heavily involved with football scheduling for the association.  

Gropp has been a member of the Idaho Athletic Administrators Association (IAAA) Board since 2013 and is currently serving as IAAA President for four years. He taught Leadership Training Institute (LTI) 501 at the 2013 and 2017 state conference. In 2014 and again in 2018, the IAAA named Gropp its 5A Athletic Director of the Year. 

Nationally, Gropp has attended the National Athletic Directors Conference for 14 years, and he serves the NIAAA in multiple ways. Since 2013, Gropp has been a member of the NIAAA Certification Committee, including co-vice chair since 2017. In 2014, he took on the task of proctoring the CAA exam at the national conference. He also was a member of the planning committee for the Fifth NIAAA Strategic Plan in 2019.

Among his awards are the 2014 NIAAA State Award of Merit, 2015 State Distinguished Service Award, 2017 State Citation and 2018 IAAA State Athletic Director of the Year. 

 

Matt Hensley, CMAA
Mahomet, Illinois

Matt Hensley, CMAA, has earned a sterling reputation among his fellow athletic directors in Illinois and the nation while serving as the athletic director at Effingham St. Anthony High School and as the assistant principal of extracurricular activities at Mahomet-Seymour High School. During his 16-year tenure at Mahomet, Hensley has been a leader in his region, hosting nearly 80 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state series events and serving as a state finals tournament official in baseball and wrestling.

Hensley also has been a member of several IHSA committees, including the IHSA sportsmanship advisory committee, athletic directors advisory committee, all-state academic team selection committee, equity advisory committee and cross country advisory committee.

An involved member of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association (IADA), Hensley has served the IADA as a District Representative, a Division Liaison, and as a state conference co-chair. Currently serving on the IADA Executive Board as the NIAAA Liaison, Hensley is also a past-president of the IADA. 

Hensley’s involvement in the NIAAA is also extensive. From 2012 to 2018, he served on the NIAAA Publications Committee, before serving as the Section 4 representative on the NIAAA Board of Directors. He has also been Illinois representative to the NIAAA Delegate Assembly and been a presenter and moderator for numerous workshops at the National Conference.

Among his honors, Hensley was the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Class AA Administrator of the Year in 2010. In the same year earned the NIAAA State Award of Merit and was selected as the IADA Division Athletic Director of the Year in 2012 and again in 2018.

 

Paige Hershey, CMAA
Houston, Texas

For more than 30 years, Paige Hershey, CMAA, has served the students of Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, Texas. She began her education career as a teacher and coach in 1984 at the middle school level before moving to Spring Woods High School a year later.

In 2001, Hershey assumed the position of director of athletics for Spring Branch and was promoted to the district’s executive director of athletics in 2010. During her 20 years in athletic administration, she has promoted her vision of transforming lives through the power of sport.

In addition to athletic programs, Hershey helps oversee the district’s facility grounds, facility rentals, event management and concessions. She also is integral in collaborating with the community’s club and youth sport programs. Her leadership was also instrumental in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. With much of the area flooded and several families of students and staff experiencing loss, Hershey led an effort to host emergency teams and provided outstanding servant leadership throughout the community.

Hershey has also become a leader at the state level with the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA). From 2013 to 2018, she served on the THSADA Professional Development Committee and has been involved in the THSADA State Conference on numerous occasions as a panelist.

For the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL), Hershey is currently the chair of the UIL 17-AAAAAA Executive Committee and has hosted UIL state tournament events at Spring Branch on three occasions.

Hershey’s involvement at the national level includes a stint on the NIAAA Publications Committee from 2004 to 2008. Since 2007, she served as a Leadership Training Institute instructor and faculty member, including two years a vice chair of LTC 511.

Hershey received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2009 and, in 2013, was honored with the John Kelly Distinguished Service Award by the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association.

 

Mike Hunter, CAA
Provo, Utah

In just 10 years as an athletic administrator, Mike Hunter, CAA, has risen to be one of the most respected athletic directors in Utah, where he is in his second year as the athletic director of Provo High School.

After coaching cross country, track and field, and girls basketball for 14 years at Mountain View High School in Orem, Hunter took over as athletic director at Timpview High School in Provo, in 2013. While at Timpview, he created an athletic and activities student council, updated the department’s coaches manual, and helped create a district-student athlete code of conduct.

Upon starting his career in athletic administration, Hunter quickly became involved with the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (UIAAA). His contributions to the UIAAA include serving as a subcommittee chair of the Third Strategic Plan and being a member of the UIAAA Leadership Training Faculty since 2016.

Hunter has also served on the UIAAA Athletic Director Executive Council and was UIAAA President in 2017-18. He also organizes the UIAAA Cross Country Meet each year as a benefit for its scholarship program. He continues to teach LTI courses and present workshops at the UIAAA State Conference, and has been asked to help serve as a mentor for the lager classifications in the newly instituted statewide mentorship program.

From 2016 to 2019, Hunter was Utah’s representative on the NIAAA Delegate Assembly. He also currently serves as vice chair on the NIAAA Credentials Committee and is a member of the NIAAA Mentoring Ad Hoc Committee since 2018.

Hunter was Utah’s NIAAA State Award of Merit winner in 2019.

 

Joe Kimling, CMAA
Madeira, Ohio

As athletic director of Madeira City Schools in Madeira, Ohio, a Cincinnati suburb, Joe Kimling has compiled an impressive resume in his 20 years as an athletic administrator. During his tenure at Madeira, he has overseen the construction of new facilities for football, softball, baseball and a fitness center. Kimling also added programs for boys and girls golf and boys and girls lacrosse. In 2013, Kimling also implemented a new school culture initiative that was adopted by the district.

Always a resource for his fellow administrators, Kimling has taken a leadership role in the Southwest Ohio Athletic Directors Association (SWOADA) and the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA).

Kimling has served on the SWOADA Executive Board since 2009, which included a term as president of the organization from 2011 to 2013. He also serves as the SWOADA Spring Workshop Chair. Kimling was named SWOADA Athletic Director of the Year in 2014 and 2018, and received the Jim Rolfes Professional Development Award in 2016.

At the state level, Kimling has worked with the OIAAA in numerous ways, including currently serving on its Board of Directors and as chair of the OIAAA Endowment Committee. He also previously was the OIAAA Secretary and chair of the OIAAA Conference Committee.

Kimling became an NIAAA member in 2000 and has since contributed to the organization as a conference workshop presenter and moderator, CAA test administrator and a national LTC faculty member. He also was a member of the Operations subcommittee

Among his honors, Kimling was the OIAAA Southwest Athletic Director of the Year in 2014 and 2019, earned the OIAAA State Award of Merit in 2014 and the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2018.

 

Susan Robbins, CMAA
Gray, Maine

 Susan Robbins, CMAA, is a 24-year veteran of high school athletic administration in the state of Maine, currently in her third year as the athletic director of Gray New Gloucester High School.

Prior to 2019, Robbins spent 14 years at Yarmouth High School and Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth. During that time, she established herself as one of the state’s leaders in athletic administration and more than 50 Yarmouth teams claimed state championships and numerous sportsmanship awards.

Prior to joining the Yarmouth staff, Robbins was an athletic administrator at Poland (Maine) Regional High School for five years and the MacDuffie School in Springfield, Massachusetts, for two years. Robbins also coached field hockey and softball at both schools.

At the state level, Robbins has held leadership roles for both the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) and the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA). As assistant director of the MIAAA from 2007 to 2015, Robbins was the Leadership Training Institute Coordinator, Awards Committee chair and Certification Committee chair. She continues to serve as a Leadership Training instructor at the state and national levels.

Robbins was the chair of the MPA Field Hockey Committee and the site director for the 2009, 2011 and 2013 MPA Field Hockey State Championships. She has served on the MPA Volleyball, Football and Technology Committees, and was site director for the 2015 Outdoor Track State Championships.

In 2019, Robbins was a member of the MIAAA Strategic Planning Committee and this year, served on the MIAAA 50th Anniversary Planning Committee.

Robbins has authored several articles for the Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Publication, National Federations’ High School Today, and Athletic Management magazine as well as a quarterly contributor to the MIAAA magazine during her tenure as a director of the MIAAA.

Robbins has made significant contributions to athletic administration at the national level as well. She served on the NIAAA Awards Committee from 2011 to 2019, including the last two years as committee chair, and serves on the Leadership Training Institute National Faculty and is an instructor for Leadership Training Course 710. Robbins co-authored the Leadership Training Course 726 Student Leadership Development in 2017. Robbins was a member of the NIAAA Professional Development Task Force in 2013 and has attended every National Athletic Directors Conference since 2001. She was a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel at the 2004 conference in New Orleans.

Among her awards, Robbins was the recipient of the Maine Principals’ Association Unsung Heroine in Maine Sports Award and Keith Lancaster Professional Development Award in 2010, the Gerry Durgin Leadership Award and the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2012, the MIAAA Robert Lahey Athletic Director of the Year in 2013, and the NIAAA Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence in 2016. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment is being a supporting and loving mother of three children; daughter Chloe and twin sons Alden and Benjamin.

 

Russell Wambles, CMAA
Apopka, Florida

Russell Wambles, CMAA, has been an athletic administrator in Florida for 24 years and most recently was the associate director of Human Kinetics Coach Education.

Wambles served two stints as athletic director at Apopka High School, from 2017 to 2018 and 2005 to 2011. Between his stints at Apopka, he served as athletic director at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, from 2011 to 2017. Previously, Wambles was athletic director and teacher at Tavares High School, from 1998 to 2005, where he also coached varsity baseball.

Throughout his career, Wambles has been active at the state level serving athletic administrators and coaches. Wambles currently serves on the board of directors of the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (FIAAA), where he was president in 2013 and earned the Athletic Director of the Year Award in 2016 and the Meritorious Service Award in 2015.

Wambles also served on the board of the directors for the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) from 2008 to 2014. He also served one term on each the FHSAA Athletic Director Advisory Committee and the FHSAA Representative Assembly. Wambles was a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Board of Directors for four years as well.

At the national level, Wambles has served as Florida’s representative to the NIAAA Delegate Assembly five times and is on the national faculty for LTI 503. He is a member of the National Initiative and Assistance Network of the NIAAA, has also attended 13 national conferences and served on the conference host committee three times.

In 2018, Wambles earned the NIAAA State Award of Merit. He also led Apopka High School to earn the Fred Rozelle State Sportsmanship Award in 2010 and 2019.

 

2021 RECIPIENTS

David Boyack, CAA
Spanish Fork, Utah

David Boyack, CAA, has spent the last 12 years as athletic director at Maple Mountain High School within the Nebo School District in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Boyack has served as a board member of the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (UIAAA) for three years, including the year 2017 as president. Boyack’s tenure as presidency led to an increase in UIAAA membership, an increased number of attendees at the National Athletic Directors Conference and more qualified athletic/activity leaders in the state of Utah. He is an active participant at the state’s conference — attending every state-level conference since he was appointed as athletic director at his high school.

During the state conference, Boyack has served as a conference faculty member, is the organizer of the “Healthy Lifestyles” activity at the beginning of each conference and has assisted in securing several conference speakers. Additionally, he has overseen the conference’s scholarship golf tournament or, at minimum, served on the committee to put the tournament together for most of his years with the UIAAA, allowing the UIAAA to offer six $2,000 scholarships each year.

His committee work at the state level includes strategic planning, awards, sponsorship/fundraising, special projects, cross country scholarship meet director and committee member and the previously mentioned scholarship golf committee. Boyack was a driver behind a key Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) constitution and bylaw change to stipulate that athletic/activities directors in Utah should attain their CAA within two years of their stewardship.

Boyack was previously named the UIAAA’s Athletic Director of the Year and during his tenure at Maple Mountain, the school is a four-time winner of the UIAAA Director’s Cup. The cup is calculated by three parts: athletic (place or position a team finishes in the state tournament), academic (varsity team GPA) and sportsmanship/student-leadership (school participation in UHSAA-sponsored sportsmanship and leadership initiatives).

On the national level, Boyack serves on the NIAAA’s retired committee and has attended nine national conferences.

 

Deran Coe, CMAA
Cary, North Carolina

Deran Coe, CMAA, has led the athletic department as director of athletics for Wake County Schools since 2013 when he replaced retiring NIAAA Hall of Famer Bobby Guthrie. Leading the 15th largest school district in the country, Coe supports the athletic programs at 35 middle schools and 25 high schools.

Initially hired into the district as athletic director at Wake Forest High School, Coe guided the athletic department through a period of transition when the historic one-school town was split with the opening of a new high school. Previously, Coe coached soccer at Franklinton High School and was named the school’s athletic director in 2006, after serving as an assistant for several years. Prior to his career move as a coach and athletic administrator, Coe began his career in education immediately after graduating Clarion University of Pennsylvania when he moved to North Carolina to teach kindergarten students at a small school in Franklin County.

On the national level, Coe is a member of the NIAAA National Faculty for LTI 709 and has served on the NIAAA Resolutions Committee since 2016 and co-chair since 2020. Coe has also presented to colleagues on a national scale including the 2015 NFHS Winter Meeting and twice at the NIAAA/NFHS National Athletic Directors Conference workshops (Stunt the Sport-2015 and Playing Time-2018).

Coe has also been an advocate for female student-athletes and students with disabilities. He worked with USA Cheer to add stunt as a sport in his district, as well as working with the Special Olympics of North Carolina to add Unified Sports to Wake County’s athletic offerings. The Wake County School District was also the first large district in the nation to certify all high school and middle school football coaches in Heads Up Football. Coe also served on the USA Football National High School Advisory Committee from 2015 until 2019.

Within North Carolina, Coe has served on several North Carolina Athletic Directors Association (NCADA) and North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) committees. NCADA work includes a member of the state teaching faculty for leadership training and NCADA positions including delegate, secretary, vice president, president and past president. His representation on NCHSAA committees includes three stints — in three different sports — on the NCHSAA Supervisor of Officials Selection Committee (soccer-2012, football-2015 and basketball-2021), Realignment Committee (2015-16), board member for both the Triangle Area Football and Softball Officials Associations and a member of the Grievance Committee for the Triangle Area Soccer Officials Association.

Coe is the father to Sinclaire and Jonah and husband to Lesley, who serves as the chief technology officer for Cardinal Gibbons High School — the largest Catholic high school in North Carolina.

 

James Davis, CAA
Belmont, Massachusetts

James Davis, CAA, has led athletic programs in both New Hampshire, and most recently, Massachusetts. The 26-year veteran athletic administrator has spent the last 24 years as an NIAAA member. Davis retired after 36 years in education when the 2020-21 school year came to a close.

Nationally, Davis recently completed a term as the Section one representative on the NIAAA Board of Directors. During his time on the board, Davis chaired the board’s marketing subcommittee. Davis has been a fixture at the NFHS/NIAAA National Athletic Directors Conference, attending a total of 23 years, including serving as a workshop presenter and moderator and an LTI instructor. Rounding out his national exposure, Davis has served on the USA Football Advisory Committee, representing section one.

Davis has served on several Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) committees, including swimming and diving (16 years, current chair) skiing (13 years, five years as vice chair), Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council (10 years) and subsequent appeals board, tournament management (10 years) rugby (four years) and Blue Ribbon (three years). Locally, Davis has spent 15 years as a member of an MIAA District Athletic Committee, including the most recent eight years as chair. Hosting at Belmont, Davis was tasked with hosting MIAA state tournaments for basketball, field hockey, soccer and tennis.

Statewide alongside his colleagues, Davis has served on the Massachusetts Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association (MSSADA) executive board for 16 years. He also spent one term each as the MSSADA president and past president. Other MSSADA roles include chairing an ad-hoc committee on mentorship, which led to the invaluable formation of a permanent MSSADA mentorship committee that Davis has chaired for the past five years. He also spent one year as the MSSADA state conference workshop coordinator.

Locally in Massachusetts, Davis has been a staple in the Middlesex League. Davis has led the league during two terms as president, co-organizer of the league’s sportsmanship summit and a coordinator for boys and girls swimming, boys and girls tennis, and wrestling. Belmont has also hosted the Middlesex League Diving Championships.

During his time in New Hampshire, Davis served on the New Hampshire Athletic Directors Association (NHADA) executive board and spent nearly a combined two decades on the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA) football (nine years) and track and field committees (10 years). Nashua hosted NHIAA tournament games — under Davis’ leadership — in the sports of football and state and regional meets for track and field.

 

Dwayne Johnson, CMAA
Port Angeles, Washington

Dwayne Johnson, CMAA, has been a dynamic figure at Port Angeles (Washington) High School for the past 35 years. Originally hired as a teacher and coach in 1985, Johnson ascended to the role of athletic director in 2010 and is now in his 12th year at the helm.

Aside from his role as athletic director, Johnson is heavily involved with the school’s competitive conference, the Olympic League. Johnson has been Olympic League president since 2012 and has handled presidential responsibilities for the league’s middle schools since 2016. He’s also league commissioner for cross country, gymnastics and track and field, which includes duties as sub-district tournament manager for all three sports, and he has previously coordinated the sub-regional tournament for wrestling. Finally, he manages the league’s online presence as web administrator.

Johnson has put forth efforts to assist both the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and the Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators Association (WSSAAA), having served as the WIAA state gymnastics meet director and the equipment manager for the state meet for 24 years, and a member of the West Central District Executive Board and the Winter Coalition / Representative Assembly. He is a current member of the WSSAAA Executive Board and also helps run the association’s athletic directors conferences, where he has twice been a presenter on multi-sport athletes and hall of fame framework.

Johnson is a current member of the NIAAA Hall of Fame Committee, for which he has represented Section 8 since 2016. He has attended the National Athletic Directors Conference nine times and took part in the association’s 2019-20 Executive Leadership Seminar and has completed 45 leadership training courses.

Johnson was honored this past February with the WIAA Gareth Giles Memorial Award for the 2019-20 school year and was previously recognized as the WIAA’s League Athletic Director of the Year for the Olympic League in 2016. His outstanding dedication to gymnastics also earned him an induction into the Washington State Gymnastics Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2017.

 

Lisa Langston, CMAA
Fort Worth, Texas

Lisa Langston, CMAA, a well-respected athletic administrator has spent more than 30 years in education — all with the Fort Worth Independent School District in Texas.  At Fort Worth, Langston began as a teacher and coach before transitioning to an intramural athletic coordinator role. After that program was disbanded five years later, she became the assistant director of athletics. In August 2016, Langston was named the district’s director of athletics.

A student-athlete at Texas A&M, Langston originally majored in electrical engineering before an experience at a school basketball camp changed her world, and she opted to change her major to physical education.

Nationally, Langston is the current president of the NIAAA Board of Directors and has served as a member of the board since 2017. Prior to joining the board, she served for five years as a member of the NIAAA Certification Committee. She also represented the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) as a voting delegate at the NFHS/NIAAA National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC) for seven years. Langston also served on the NIAAA Committee on Coaching Education to assist in promoting the NFHS Learning Center.

Langston has had a heavy hand in the NIAAA’s education efforts. At the NADC, she has served as a presenter (2017), session facilitator (2016) and panelist (2015). When the NADC came to Dallas in 2009, Langston was a member of the host committee. In addition, she has served as a contributor to LTC 706, Coaching Coaches to be Leadership Educators, and as a LTC instructor during Idaho’s statewide conference in 2019.

Within her state, Langston has participated in NIAAA’s outreach efforts — including serving as a panelist during a professional development lunch forum and LTC instructor during the Aspiring Athletic Administrators Professional Development event held in Arlington in 2019. She has served as a “go-to” athletic administrator for the University Interscholastic League (UIL). In 2018, Langston was tabbed to serve on a UIL ad hoc committee on reclassification and realignment. She is also an experienced game manager and tournament director — leading the UIL Region I 6A Boys Basketball tournament since 2012 and also serves as a co-director for the same tournament on the girls side when her school does not advance. She was tabbed as the meet director for the UIL District Cross Country meet in 2000 and continues to serve in that role while also adding directing area and district meets to her duties.

Langston, described as a consensus builder, has served on THSADA committees since 2010 including four years on the state liaison committee, membership committee and THSADA NIAAA Committee. At the state conference, she has also presented on “School District UIL Compliance Procedures/Training Regarding UIL C&CR” in 2014 and “Women in Athletic Administration” in 2017.

In her community, she serves on the Tarrant County Education Committee for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) with her work impacting the students in her district. She also presented “Make Your Health a Priority” during the 2020 NAACP Health and Wellness event.

 

Gary Ray, CAA
Fayetteville, West Virginia

Gary Ray, CAA, helped propel high school athletics in West Virginia for 45 years as a teacher, coach and administrator at Oak Hill and Buffalo High Schools, and as part of the executive staff at the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC).

Ray came to Oak Hill High School (OHHS) as a teacher and coach in 1971, and later became assistant principal and athletic director in 1977 and principal in 1995. He helped charter the West Virginia Athletic Directors Association (WVADA) in 1978 and has held many roles in the association during his 43 years of membership (remains current), including regional representative (1979 to 1981), vice president (1981 to 1985) and president (1985 to 1992).

Prior to joining the WVSSAC as assistant executive director in 2001, Ray had been involved with the association as a member of the WVSSAC State Track Committee, State Football Committee and Project Target Committee; the WVADA representative on the WVSSAC Board of Directors; and on the West Virginia Department of Education Committee to Review WVSSAC Procedures & Rules. After six years as an assistant, Ray became the eighth executive director in the history of the WVSSAC in 2007 and worked in that role until his retirement on January 29, 2016.

At the national level, Ray was a member of the NFHS Board of Directors from 2013 to 2016 and served additional four-year terms on the NFHS Records Committee and Annual Summer Meeting Advisory Committee. He represented the WVADA on several occasions as a delegate to the NIAAA and was a member of the NIAAA Credentials Committee from 1988 to 1992.

The Glenville State (West Virginia) College alum has assembled an impressive list of awards, which include National Council of Secondary Schools Athletic Director of the Year in 1986, the NIAAA State Award of Merit and National High School Athletic Coaches Association Regional 2 Athletic Director of the Year in 1990, and the National Federation Interscholastic Officials Association Athletic Director of the Year in 1997.

           

Meg Seng, CMAA
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Meg Seng, CMAA, is currently in her 37th year mentoring high school student-athletes in Ann Arbor, Michigan, having served as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator at Huron High School and Greenhills School, where she has been the athletic director since 2003.

After two years as a collegiate softball coach, Seng broke into the high school ranks as head volleyball coach and assistant softball coach at Huron and eventually took over as head volleyball coach at Greenhills in 1993.

When she took charge of the Greenhills athletic department 10 years later, Seng became a member of both the NIAAA and the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA). Since then, she has been a leadership training instructor and certified test administrator for the NIAAA, and part of the Certification Committee and CMAA Mentor Cohort. For the MIAAA, she is a past president of the Board of Directors and has been part of the Public Relations, Educational Athletics and Strategic Plan Committees, and co-chair for the Exemplary Program and Professional Development Committees.

A massive portion of her state involvement, however, has been devoted to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), for which she has served on 12 different committees, including the Volleyball, Baseball/Softball, Track & Field, Cross Country, Soccer and Tennis Committees, the Volleyball and Soccer Officials Assignment Committees, Athletic Equity Committee, Classification Committee and Women in Sport Leadership Planning Committee, among others.

The Indiana University and Louisiana Tech University graduate is also the founder and executive director of The Academy of Sport Leadership, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing, educating and attracting young women to the coaching profession.

Among Seng’s numerous awards are the Allen W. Bush Award and Women in Sport Leadership Award from the MHSAA and the MIAAA Jack Johnson Dedicated Service Award and Regional Athletic Director of the Year honor. She was also named Michigan High School Coaches Association State Athletic Director of the Year in November and will receive the same distinction from the MIAAA this March.

 

Kevin Simmerman, CMAA
Lincoln, Nebraska

Kevin Simmerman, CMAA, is in his first year as assistant principal and athletic director at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, but previously held similar roles, along with teaching and multi-sport coaching positions, at several schools in Nebraska.

Prior to his time at Blue Valley West, Simmerman served Humphrey Public Schools (four years), Clarkson Public Schools (four years), Fairbury High School (six years), Cozad City High School (two years), Seward High School (two years) and Lincoln North Star High School (six years) during his 25 years in high school athletics and education.

In that time, Simmerman was active in a number of capacities for both the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) and the Nebraska State Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NSIAAA). He was the NSAA District I Committee chairperson for eight years and a delegate to the NSAA Representative Assembly for nine years, assistant director for field scoring at the NSAA State Track & Field Meet, a State Cross Country Meet official and registered football official, and he hosted state tournament contests for volleyball and boys and girls basketball.

During his 21 years of NSIAAA membership, Simmerman was a member of the Executive Board, serving as president (2013-14) and vice president (2011-12), professional development coordinator and leadership training/certification coordinator, and also spent time on the Strategic Plan Committee and Programs Committee.

Nationally, the University of Nebraska at Kearney alum is in his fifth year as NIAAA Coaching Education Committee vice-chair and in his 10th year as the Coaching Education Committee’s Section V representative. He has previously contributed as a member of the Fourth Strategic Plan Committee, District V Representative for Region B At-Large elections, a delegate to the NIAAA Assembly, and a forum leader, moderator and presenter at past National Athletic Directors Conferences.

Simmerman received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2014 and the Bruce D. Whitehead Distinguished Service Award in 2018 and was recently honored as NSIAAA State Athletic Director of the Year for 2020-21