New NFHS officers and board members elected for 2019-20

INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Beckman, executive director of the Montana High School Association (MHSA), is the new president of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for 2019-20. Beckman, the 60th president of the NFHS, began his one-year term July 3 following the NFHS Summer Meeting in Indianapolis.     

Kerwin Urhahn, executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), 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: Mike Burnham, executive director, Maine Principals’ Association, Section 1; Sally Marquez, executive director, New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA), Section 6; and Dr. Kim Wilbanks, superintendent, Jonesboro (Arkansas) Public Schools, at large, Sections 2 and 6.

Beckman was named executive director of the MHSA in 2004 after seven years as MHSA assistant director and many years as a high school administrator, instructor, coach and official.

Beckman’s association with educational administration dates to 1983, when he served as chairman of the Butte (Montana) School Board for 2½ years. He was a basketball official and a member of the Montana Officials Association for several years, and he coached boys and girls basketball at Butte Central High School and Anaconda (Montana) High School. He also coached Babe Ruth and American Legion baseball in Butte and Anaconda.

Following his coaching and officiating tenures, Beckman was a member of several MHSA standing and ad-hoc committees, and he was athletic director at Butte Central. Prior to joining the MHSA office, Beckman was a teacher and activities director at Anaconda High School.

Beckman was chair of the Programs Subcommittee for the 2011-2016 Strategic Planning Committee and recently completed terms on the NFHS Network Board of Directors and the NFHS Appeal Board.

Urhahn joined the MSHSAA as executive director in 2006 after serving as superintendent of schools in Portageville, Missouri.

Prior to joining the MSHSAA, Urhahn taught all levels of high school mathematics and coached volleyball, basketball, baseball and golf at Bloomfield High School from 1991 to 1997, and he assumed the role of athletic director in 1994. Urhahn was named principal in 1997 and served three years before becoming the superintendent of the Portageville School District in 2000.

A member of numerous professional organizations, Urhahn is a representative on the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) State Accountability Committee, and he also serves on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education MSIP Performance Committee. From 1998 to 2001, he served on the MSHSAA Southeast Investigative Committee. Nationally, Urhahn previously chaired the NFHS Technology Committee.

Urhahn, who served on the MSHSAA Board of Directors prior to joining the staff, earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeast Missouri State University, an educational specialist designation from St. Louis University and a doctorate from St. Louis University.

Burnham succeeded Dick Durost as MPA executive director earlier this month after serving as assistant executive director of the governing organization for high school sports in Maine since 2008. During his 11 years as MPA assistant executive director, Burnham worked with committees that governed competition in field hockey, golf, football, cheerleading, indoor track, boys and girls ice hockey, Unified basketball, outdoor track, lacrosse and baseball.

In addition to his work with the various sports, Burnham has been the liaison to the MPA’s Sports Medicine Committee, Media Advisory Committee, Officials Advisory Committee, Eligibility Committee, Technology Committee and Hall of Excellence Screening Committee.

Nationally, Burnham is currently a member of the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee and previously served on the NFHS Citizenship and Equity Committee and the NFHS Summer Meeting Advisory Committee.

Burnham, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, and his master’s from the University of Southern Maine, was a teacher, assistant principal/athletic director and principal at Monmouth (Maine) Academy for 22 years before joining the MPA staff in 2008.

Marquez has served as executive director of the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) since September 2012. She began her career at the NMAA in 2004 as associate director and was promoted to assistant executive director in July 2011.

Prior to joining the NMAA, Marquez held a variety of positions in the Rio Rancho Public District in New Mexico for six years, including teacher, dean of students, assistant principal and director of personnel. Marquez held a variety of teaching and coaching positions in New Mexico, Texas and Virginia for 14 years before joining the Rio Rancho district.

A graduate of Albuquerque (New Mexico) Manzano High School, Marquez earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and her master’s degree from Virginia Tech University.

Nationally, Marquez is one of only three females who are serving as directors of a state high school association, including Rhonda Blanford-Green of the Colorado High School Activities Association and Que Tucker of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.  

Wilbanks, who is in her 35th year in secondary education and 13th year as superintendent of the Jonesboro Public Schools (JPS) in Arkansas, has provided the vision and guidance to allow JPS to develop and implement the magnet school concept at the elementary school level. 

In addition, Wilbanks led the push for Jonesboro High School (JHS) to gain charter school status in 2013-14. As a result, JHS implemented three academic academies focusing on 1) Sciences, Math, Technology; 2) Engineering, Business, Media; and 3) Health and Human Services. She also led the district in implementing Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at every JPS campus during the past several years.

Under Wilbanks’ leadership, the district has completed major construction projects, including the addition of a new Center for the Performing Arts, renovation of the Don Riggs Hurricane gymnasium and improvements to several schools. She also led the passage of a recent millage enabling the district to continue to expand and meet the needs of its students.

In 2014, Wilbanks was chosen Arkansas Superintendent of the Year by the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA). She is a previous president of the AAEA and served on the AAEA State Legislative Committee for four years.