The eight state association recipients are Carol Parsons, retired associate director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association; Lora Bickley, administrative assistant, Virginia High School League; Alan Mitchell, assistant director, Alabama High School Athletic Association; Nate Hampton, assistant director, Michigan High School Athletic Association; George Blase, retired assistant executive director, Missouri State High School Activities Association; David Jackson, associate executive director, Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association; Chuck Schmidt; chief operating officer, Arizona Interscholastic Association; and Michael Janecek, retired athletic director/coach, Palmer (Alaska) High School.
Other Citation recipients are John Summervill, contest official, Hutchinson, Kansas; Sam Tipton, executive director, Texas Girls Coaches Association; David Circle, retired fine arts/performing arts director, Overland Park, Kansas; and Douglas Springer, retired debate coach, Winnetka (Illinois) New Trier Township High School.
Following is biographical information on the 12 NFHS Citation recipients.
Carol Parsons retired in August 2010 after a 43-year career as a high school teacher, coach, athletic director and state administrator. Parsons served the final 18 years on the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) staff, and was the leading advocate for girls sports in New Jersey.
Parsons, who earned her bachelor's degree from East Stroudsburg (Pennsylvania) University and her master's from Rider (New Jersey) University, began her career as a teacher and coach for 13 years in the Princeton (New Jersey) Regional School District. She served as a head coach for soccer, basketball and track, and as an assistant coach for softball, lacrosse and field hockey.
Parsons continued her dedication to high school athletics as Princeton High School's director of athletics for the next 12 years. During that time, she became active with the NJSIAA, participating as an Advisory Committee member, a Controversies and Disputes Committee member and the director of the NJSIAA Field Hockey Tournament.
In 1992, Parsons joined the NJSIAA staff as an assistant director and held that position for 13 years before her promotion to associate director in 2005. Her sport responsibilities included girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, field hockey, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls swimming, girls lacrosse and softball.
As the state's most influential advocate for girls sports, Parsons coordinated the statewide National Girls and Women in Sports Day efforts each year, and she led the association's Title IX efforts. She also was the staff leader in the area of technology and was the primary force in launching the NJSIAA Web site.
Among her honors, Parsons was inducted into the Princeton High School Hall of Fame and the Directors of Athletics Association of New Jersey Hall of Fame.
In a career spanning six different decades with the Virginia High School League (VHSL), Lora Bickley has devoted a lifetime of service to the high schools in Virginia. She joined the VHSL staff in 1969, became senior secretary and office manager five years later, and was promoted to the administrative staff in 1995 as the top administrative assistant.
During her distinguished 42-year career, Bickley has been involved with every facet of the VHSL's programs. She has been the primary contact when administrators are in the field conducting events or meetings, and has been the top assistant for the organization's past three executive directors - Bill Pace, Earl Gillespie and Ken Tilley.
Bickley's duties have included officials registration and clinic administration; assisting with the VHSL's catastrophic insurance program; maintaining the state's complex football rating system; obtaining data for biennial redistricting and reclassification of schools; registering and approving all non-faculty coaches; and serving as recorder for all VHSL meetings. She also coordinates the calendar of events for 46 districts, 12 regions and state competitions in 27 sports and five academic activities.
Nationally, Bickley has been the association's liaison for the NFHS sanctioning program. When the NFHS online sanctioning program was started two years ago, Bickley served on an NFHS ad hoc committee that helped get the system up and running.
Bickley received the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (VIAAA) 2010 Award of Excellence and has been nominated by the VIAAA as a candidate for the 2011 class of the Virginia High School Hall of Fame.
Without a doubt, Lora Bickley is the voice and face, and the heart and soul of the VHSL.
A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Alan Mitchell joined the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) staff in 1979 as director of publicity and publications. In his current role as AHSAA assistant director, Mitchell is responsible for championship awards, spring sports sites, sports committee meetings, building maintenance and Web site development.
Now in his 32nd year with the AHSAA, Mitchell joined the organization after 14 years in the newspaper business and five years in college public relations. He started as a part-time sportswriter for the Montgomery Advertiser during his senior year of high school, and continued on to full-time employment in its sports department. While attending Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Mitchell served as the school's sports information director from 1960 until his graduation in 1964.
After two additional years of study at Huntingdon, Mitchell became director of publicity at Tennessee Wesleyan College from 1966 to 1971, and he then returned to the newspaper business as sports editor of the Alabama Journal for eight years before joining the AHSAA.
Mitchell is a member of the Huntingdon College Athletic Hall of Fame and has served on the committee to select its future members. He has held membership in the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Association, the National Association of Baseball Writers and Sigma Delta Chi (The Society of Professional Journalists).
Mitchell was the AHSAA's first full-time director of publicity and publications and recently became the association's Web site coordinator. In this capacity, Mitchell coordinates the production and layout of most AHSAA publications. He also is involved with many facets of the state association's hall of fame.
Nate Hampton is in his 21st year as assistant director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), where he is responsible for the administration of football, basketball, and track and field. He is also the staff liaison for the MHSAA Equity Committee, the Upper Peninsula Athletic Committee and the tournament and site selection committees for football, basketball, and track and field.
A 1966 graduate of Eastern High School in Detroit and a 1971 graduate of Morgan State (Maryland) University, Hampton joined the MHSAA staff in 1990 after serving as citywide athletic administrator for the Saginaw (Michigan) Public School District for two years. At Saginaw, Hampton was responsible for the athletic programs for 24 elementary schools, five middle schools and two high schools.
Prior to his duties in Saginaw, Hampton served 15 years with the Highland Park (Michigan) School District in a variety of capacities, including teacher, athletic coordinator, football coach, swimming coach and volleyball coach.
As the coordinator of the MHSAA's two biggest state tournaments - football and basketball - Hampton is highly respected throughout the state for his excellence in tournament administration. The Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) recently honored Hampton with the MIAAA Special Recognition Award.
At the national level, Hampton has been extremely involved with the NFHS on several fronts. In addition to his work with football and basketball at the state level, Hampton recently concluded a four-year term as chair of the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee, and he is a current member of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and the Football Equipment Subcommittee.
In addition, Hampton is former chair of the NFHS Equity Committee, and he also served two years as master of ceremonies for the National High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. A Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Hampton earned his master's from Eastern Michigan University in 1978.
George Blase retired as assistant executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) two years ago after an outstanding 19-year career with the organization.
Blase joined the staff in 1990 and served in a variety of positions during his time there. He concluded his MSHSAA tenure as supervisor of football, baseball and softball, as well as handling assignment of basketball officials for postseason play. He previously was responsible for boys and girls cross country, girls swimming, boys and girls soccer, and academic competition.
In addition, Blase was responsible for foreign exchange transfers, administration of the officials program, camps and clinics, all-star events, and coordination of MSHSAA meetings and events.
Prior to joining the MSHSAA staff in 1990, Blase was a mathematics teacher and coach for seven years at Ballwin (Missouri) Parkway South High School in the St. Louis area. He coached football and baseball and was also an MSHSAA football and basketball official during that time. In addition to high school officiating, Blase also was a college football and basketball official.
After graduating from Northern Michigan University and earning a master's degree in business administration from the University of Missouri, Blase was a research account executive, marketing manager and real estate broker with several companies for seven years before joining the Parkway South staff in 1983. He later earned an additional master's degree in educational administration from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.
A member of several professional and civic organizations, Blase has served on the boards of directors of the Central States Officials Association (CSOA) and the St. Louis Officials Association. In addition to being elected president of the Midwest Collegiate Football Officials Association, he also served as its assigning secretary, and was the CSOA's vice president.
Blase also reached the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
David Jackson, associate executive director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA), has been a leader at the state and national levels since his education career began in 1985.
Jackson, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, has been associate executive director of the OSSAA for two years after 13 years as assistant executive director. Since joining the association during the 1995-96 school year, Jackson has been responsible for football, large-school basketball, track and field, and eligibility.
Before he joined the OSSAA, Jackson served 11 years at Pauls Valley (Oklahoma) High School, first as a math teacher and coach, and then as principal for five years. Jackson coached football, basketball, and track and field for six years at Pauls Valley.
Jackson also has been involved with high school activity programs at the national level through service on NFHS committees. He is a past member of the NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee, NFHS Football Rules Committee and the original NFHS Strategic Planning Committee. Jackson currently serves on the NFHS Coaches Education Committee.
Chuck Schmidt is in his 10th year on the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) staff after beginning his professional career as a teacher and coach. Schmidt joined the AIA staff in 2000 as assistant executive director and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2006.
A native of North Dakota, Schmidt graduated from Irondale High School in New Brighton, Minnesota. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of North Dakota and his master's from Valparaiso (Indiana) University. He coached baseball at the high school level in Minnesota before moving to Phoenix in 1996. Schmidt was a social studies teacher and head baseball and girls basketball coach at Phoenix (Arizona) Valley Lutheran High School for six years before joining the AIA staff.
During his years with the AIA, Schmidt has been an innovative leader through development of external and internal Internet platforms, fiscal restructuring of the AIA, venue agreements, marketing strategies and community relations initiatives. For the past seven years, Schmidt has been State Leadership Training Coordinator for the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
Nationally, Schmidt was part of the team that developed the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching course - the first and key course in the highly successful NFHS Coach Education Program. He also was a member of the NFHS Strategic Planning Committee that developed the 2008-2011 NFHS Strategic Plan.
Schmidt has been a speaker at the NFHS Summer Meeting, NFHS/NIAAA National Athletic Directors Conference and the National Association of Sports Officials Conference. As a strong advocate for educational athletics, Schmidt is a member of the Josephson Institute of Ethics National Faculty and has spoken around the country about developing character through sport.
Although officially retired from high school teaching and coaching, Michael Janecek continues to educate the young people of Alaska. Now a substitute teacher and volunteer at Shungnak (Alaska) School, Janecek spent decades teaching, coaching, officiating, announcing and organizing tournaments throughout the state.
Janecek spent 25 years at Palmer (Alaska) High School, first as track and field, and cross country coach from 1976 to 1990 and as athletic director from 1989 to 1999. He also was a technology teacher and department chair. He was named Athletic Director of the Year in 1997 by his fellow athletic directors.
Janecek has been an invaluable resource for the Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) as a tournament director for 33 years. He has directed ASAA tournaments in the sports of cross country, track and field, ice hockey and basketball. Janecek has been a community running event organizer for 36 years, and a running trail was named in his honor for his efforts in establishing a quality community trail in Palmer.
In addition to his role as tournament director, Janecek is a longtime public-address announcer for sports at all levels. His other contributions include ASAA track and field rules interpreter, ASAA Track and Field State Meet referee, chair of the Alaska High School Hall of Fame and a selection panel member for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He has been a longtime mentor to aspiring coaches and athletic administrators.
A graduate of Anchorage (Alaska) West High School and Anchorage (Alaska) Community College, Janecek was events coordinator for the Alaska State Fair from 2001 to 2007.
NFHS Officials Association
John Summervill has devoted more than 50 years of his life to the betterment of high school sports and activity programs in the state of Kansas. A three-sport official for the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), Summervill has been involved in every facet of recruiting, training, retention and administration for the avocation of officiating.
As an active official, Summervill officiated football for 51 years, basketball for 30 years and baseball for 20 years. He also was a college official in the same sports for 30 years, including NCAA Division I football.
Off the field and court, Summervill has assisted the KSHSAA as an area supervisor of officials for 33 years by conducting rules meetings and clinics in football and basketball. He has been an observer and evaluator of officials for a large high school league in the state, and he has helped the KSHSAA with assignment of contest officials as well.
In addition to his immense contributions to high school officiating, Summervill dedicated 37 years of his life to teaching students and directing activity programs in the South Hutchinson-Nickerson (Kansas) School District. He concluded his education career in 1997 as activities director at Nickerson (Kansas) High School.
Summervill also served as a judge for school sportsmanship awards awarded by the KSHSAA at its state basketball tournaments, and he has been the most active instructor in the association's coach education program. He annually teaches the First Aid for Coaches course at the Kansas Coaching School.
Summervill was named the Kansas High School Athletic Director of the Year in 1997, and he was inducted into the KSHSAA Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Kansas Collegiate Officials Association Hall of Fame in 2000. He also received a 50-year officiating service plaque from the KSHSAA.
NFHS Coaches Association
After 25 years as a high school teacher, coach and athletic coordinator at several Texas high schools, Sam Tipton became executive director of the Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) in 2001 and has led that organization to new heights in the past 10 years.
With a membership of more than 6,000, the TGCA is the largest association in the world for coaches of girls sports. The TGCA is the only organization in Texas for coaches of girls cross country, volleyball, basketball, track and field, softball, golf and soccer. In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization, Tipton is liaison to the Texas University Interscholastic League and a lobbyist at the state legislature for the promotion and improvement of girls athletics in Texas.
A graduate of Baptist Christian College in Shreveport, Louisiana, Tipton began his coaching career in the Millsap (Texas) Independent School District in 1970. He also coached in the Texas communities of Texline, Sunray, Amarillo and San Marcos before entering the business world for seven years. Tipton returned to education work in 1986 and served 13 years as girls athletic coordinator and coach at Frenship High School in Wolfforth, Texas, and two years in a similar capacity at Snyder (Texas) High School before becoming only the second TGCA executive director in 2001.
As a basketball coach, Tipton was honored as District Coach of the Year, City Coach of the Year and South Plains Coach of the Year twice. He was selected as an all-star coach for the TGCA and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC).
Before joining the TGCA staff, Tipton was very active in the organization, serving on numerous committees, the board of directors and as its president. He was also active in the TABC, serving on four committees. In May 2008, he was inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
NFHS Music Association
Dr. David Circle is one of the most highly respected music educators in Kansas history as a result of his outstanding 45-year career in the Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley school districts - two of the largest and most influential school districts in the state located in suburban Kansas City.
Beginning in 1962, Circle was a high school band and orchestra teacher for six years at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas. He then assumed the roles of supervisor of music (1972-80) and director of fine and performing arts (1980-97) for the Shawnee Mission Public Schools.
Circle's plans for retirement in 1997 were short-lived, as he immediately accepted the position of district fine arts coordinator for the Blue Valley School District - also located in Overland Park. After four years in that position, Circle became district coordinator for performing arts for the Blue Valley Schools in 2001 and served until his second retirement in 2008.
Circle earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Emporia (Kansas) State University, and he took a three-year sabbatical from the classroom from 1968 to 1971 to earn his doctorate in music from George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.
Not only was Circle one of the most influential music educators in Kansas history, his respect and acclaim was felt on the national level as well. After serving as president of the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) from 1982 to 1985, Circle was elected president of The National Association for Music Education (MENC) for a two-year term in 2004. During his years as MENC president, Circle used the motto, "Music, the Heart in Education."
Both organizations have honored Circle for his dedication to music education. In 2002, he was inducted into the KMEA Hall of Fame, and the MENC National Executive Board named him the Lowell Mason Fellow in 2008.
NFHS Speech, Debate and Theatre Association
Douglas Springer retired in 2008 to complete a 40-year career as a high school speech, debate and theatre coach at two Illinois high schools.
Springer's career began in 1968 at Pekin (Illinois) Community High School, where he served as director of forensics for 26 years. He was chair of the Speech and Theatre Department at Pekin for 12 years, and he coached several state champions, two national finalists and one national champion.
During his 26 years at Pekin, Springer was an adjunct faculty member at Illinois Central College for three years and Bradley (Illinois) University for 10 years.
In 1994, Springer accepted a position as debate coach at Winnetka (Illinois) New Trier Township High School and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2008. Springer coached three Lincoln Douglas debate state champions at New Trier, and his 2008 policy debate team was national runner-up. In 2001, he launched the New Trier Township Junior High School Debate Tournament.
A Four Diamond coach of the National Forensic League, Springer has received many awards and honors for his contributions to high school speech and debate. The Illinois High School Association presented him with the John M. Hires Award in 2008, and he was the youngest-elected president of the Illinois Speech and Theatre Association (ISTA) when he was chosen in 1976. Springer was also the first chairman of the ISTA State Debate Tournament Commission in 1972, and he started the ISTA debate tournament series in 1973.
Springer, who has been a member of the ISTA for 40 years, has presented two papers at the Debate Topic Selection Meeting conducted annually by the NFHS. Since retiring, Springer has served as a communications consultant to New Trier High School.
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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 fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine 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 17 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 7.6 million in high school sports.
As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, 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.