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NIAAA Presents Three Major Awards at 2016 Conference

Tuesday, January 31, 2017  
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Jean Ashen of California to Receive NIAAA Award of Merit

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 15, 2016) — Jean Ashen, CMAA, boys and girls athletic director at North Salinas High School in Salinas, California, is the 2016 recipient of the Award of Merit presented by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Ashen will receive her award December 13 in Nashville, Tennessee, during banquet festivities at the 47th annual National Athletic Directors Conference conducted jointly by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NIAAA. The Award of Merit is the most prestigious award presented by the NIAAA to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership in interscholastic athletics or related areas. Ashen, athletic director at North Salinas – her alma mater – for the past 20 years, has given a lifetime of service to interscholastic athletics at the local and state levels in California and nationally with the NIAAA. A former high school volleyball and basketball coach and assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of California, Irvine, for seven years, Ashen played basketball at California State University, Fullerton, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Since 1996, Ashen has directed the athletic programs at North Salinas and was Salinas Union High School District (SUHSD) athletic coordinator from 2006 to 2015. Locally, Ashen has been a member of the SUHSD Sportsmanship Task Force, served as a volunteer sports columnist for the Salinas Californian and has been involved with the National Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon since 1994. Ashen has given countless hours of service to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and the CIF Central Coast Section. She was CIF assistant director for state basketball (2006- 14), CIF state volleyball tournament director (2006-07) and CIF state basketball sportsmanship presenter (2003-14). In addition, she served as CIF-Central Coast Section Title IX coordinator. In addition to her work with the CIF, Ashen has been a member of the California State Athletic Directors Association (CSADA) since 1997 and has been CSADA liaison to the NIAAA for 10 years. Ashen has devoted many hours to coach education at the interscholastic level. She is a Certified Interscholastic Coach (CIC) and Accredited Interscholastic Coach (AIC) through the NFHS and has been an NFHS-certified coaching education instructor since 2007. She served on the NFHS Coaches Education Committee for four years and was a member of the CIF State Coaching Education Faculty. In addition to her tremendous workload at the local and state levels, Ashen has been a key contributor to the NIAAA since joining the organization in 1997. She served on the NIAAA Board of Directors from 2012 to 2014 and was a member of the NIAAA Task Force in 2013-14. Nationally, Ashen earned her Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) status in 1999 and became a Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) in 2006. She has completed 35 Leadership Training Courses and served as an NIAAA Blue Ribbon panelist for the Interscholastic Athletic Administration magazine in 2006. Among her awards, Ashen was selected Central Coast Section Athletic Director of the Year in 2003, and she received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2004 and the CSADA Jim Echols Award in 2006.

Susan Robbins of Maine to Receive NIAAA Award of Excellence

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 15, 2016) — Susan Robbins, CMAA, athletic administrator of Yarmouth High School and Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth, Maine, is the 2016 recipient of the Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence presented by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Robbins will receive the NIAAA Award of Excellence December 13 in Nashville, Tennessee, during banquet festivities at the 47th annual National Athletic Directors Conference conducted jointly by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NIAAA. The Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence is a prestigious award presented each year to an NIAAA member whose loyalty to the association and contributions to the profession represent excellence in achievement. The award is named after the late Thomas E. Frederick, who served as NFHS assistant and associate director for 22 years before his retirement in 1989. Frederick was responsible for starting the National Athletic Directors Conference in 1971 as well as the NIAAA in 1977. Susan Robbins, CMAA, is a 19-year veteran of high school administration in the state of Maine – the past 12 years at Yarmouth High School and Harrison Middle School in Yarmouth. During that time, she has become one of the state’s leaders in athletic administration and more than 40 Yarmouth teams have claimed state championships and 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. Robbins, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Springfield (Massachusetts) College, has served several local leagues and conferences. She was president of the Western Maine Conference (WMC) and Campbell Football Conference, and was soccer liaison of both the WMC and the Triple C Conference. 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 associate 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 level. Robbins is chair of the MPA Field Hockey Committee and was the site director for the 2009, 2011 and 2013 MPA Field Hockey State Championships. She also serves on the MPA Volleyball, Football and Technology Committees, and she was site director for the 2015 Class C Outdoor Track State Championships. Robbins has made significant contributions to athletic administration at the national level as well. She has served on the NIAAA Awards Committee since 2011, including the past two years as committee chair, and serves on the Leadership Training Institute National Faculty and is an instructor for Leadership Training Course 710. 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 received the MPA Unsung Heroine in Maine Sports Award and the MIAAA Keith Lancaster Professional Development Award – both in 2010. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Gerry Durgin Leadership Award, and she received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and was named MIAAA Robert Lahey Athletic Director of the Year in 2013.

Cass Herbst of Idaho to Receive NIAAA Professional Development Award

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (November 15, 2016) — Cass Herbst, CMAA, athletic administrator, Nampa (Idaho) East Valley Middle School, is the 2016 recipient of the Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award presented by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Herbst will receive her award December 13 in Nashville, Tennessee, during banquet festivities at the 47th annual National Athletic Directors Conference conducted jointly by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NIAAA. The Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award is presented each year to an NIAAA member who possesses and has contributed to the vision of professional development – the legacy of Frank Kovaleski – and who has made significant contributions and demonstrated excellence in professional development at the local, state and national levels. Kovaleski was director of the NIAAA, as well as assistant director of the NFHS, from 1989 until his retirement in 2005. He was responsible for starting the NIAAA Leadership Training Program in 1996 and expanding the NIAAA Certification Program in 1999. Herbst is in her 31st year of teaching and her 18th year as an athletic administrator at Nampa East Valley Middle School. Originally from Twin Falls, Idaho, Herbst earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Idaho State University, and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Boise (Idaho) State University. In 1986, Herbst began her career as a teacher and track and girls basketball coach at Middleton (Idaho) High School. After a 14-year stint at Nampa (Idaho) West Middle School, Herbst became athletic director and track coach at East Valley Middle School when it opened in 2003. At the local level, Herbst served as president of the Intervalley League from 2004 to 2006, after a term as secretary the previous four years. She has been a tournament director for several middle school league tournaments and instituted a middle school sportsmanship award, and she has been physical education department chair at East Valley Middle School since 2003. Since becoming an athletic administrator, Herbst has been an active member of both the Idaho Athletic Administrators Association (IAAA) and the NIAAA. She was the first middle school athletic director in the state to obtain the Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) designation, and the first female in Idaho to earn Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) status. Herbst, who currently is president of the IAAA, has served as the IAAA Leadership Training Institute State Coordinator since 2004 and previously served as its executive secretary. Herbst was named Idaho’s Athletic Director of the Year in both 2002 and 2007. At the national level, Herbst’s contributions to the NIAAA have been extensive. She served on the NIAAA Awards Committee for eight years, including two years as vice chair and two years as chair. An NIAAA lifetime member, Herbst served on the third NIAAA Strategic Planning Committee and has been a member of the NIAAA Task Force since 2013. Within the NIAAA Leadership Training Institute (LTI), Herbst was vice-chair and coauthor of Leadership Training Course 721, served on the NIAAA National Presentation Faculty and was LTI moderator at the National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC) from 2007 to 2010. She has been an LTI course presenter at the NADC since 2011, was the Idaho delegate to the NIAAA National Delegate Assembly for two years and has taken 30 Leadership Training Courses. Among her many awards, Herbst received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2004, the NIAAA Distinguished Service ward in 2007 and the NFHS Citation in 2010. She has attended 16 National Athletic Directors Conferences.

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