Susie Knoblauch, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) for the past 10 years, has been named to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) staff as director of performing arts and sports. Knoblauch, who is expected to begin her duties August 1, will succeed Kent Summers, who will be retiring October 1 after more than 10½ years on the NFHS staff.
Knoblauch currently serves as administrator of IHSA state championships for cheer, speech, drama, debate, music, tennis and journalism. She is coordinator of spirit activities and is the staff liaison for the state’s activity directors.
“Susie brings a wealth of experience in the performing arts area, and we are fortunate to have someone with her credentials join our staff,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “She also has an extensive background with cheer and spirit activities, including work at the national level, so we believe she is an ideal fit for this position. We look forward to having Susie on our staff.”
Among her accomplishments at the IHSA, Knoblauch developed state tournaments in cheer and journalism, implemented online scoring for activity tournaments, administered the state’s online music entry and adjudication process, started an advisory committee for activity directors and implemented an adjudicators’ database to align with officials licensing.
“Susie has made an indelible impact on all of us and we are going to miss her,” said Marty Hickman, IHSA executive director. “The silver lining is that we get to continue to work with her and know that the entire country will benefit from her involvement with the programs she will oversee for the NFHS.”
At the national level, Knoblauch has served on the NFHS Spirit Rules Committee, including a term as chair, and currently serves as the performing arts representative on the NFHS Hall of Fame Screening Committee.
Knoblauch, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois State University, was a high school teacher and coach for 17 years before joining the IHSA staff. She taught speech, broadcasting and drama and coached individual events at Morton (Illinois) High School for 15 years. She also directed school musicals at Morton and coached cheerleading.
In 2002-03, Knoblauch was an English and speech teacher at Washington (Illinois) High School, and in 2003-04 she served at Low Point-Washburn High School, where she taught English, coached speech individual events and directed the school play.
Prior to joining the IHSA staff, Knoblauch was a manager and judge for IHSA speech regional and sectional competition. She served on the State Speech Tournament Committee and judged at the IHSA State Speech Tournament.
“I am excited and humbled to have the opportunity to advance the value of high school athletics and activities at the national level,” Knoblauch said. “As a product of such programs, I know that athletics and activities are fundamental to the educational experiences of our students and it will be my charge to continue to provide leadership in these essential areas.”
Knoblauch’s responsibilities with the NFHS will include the coordination of meetings and rules committee processes and interpretations for performing arts activities, spirit and a sport to be determined.