Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Executive Director Marty Hickman announced the hiring of Shaunda Brown as the IHSA’s newest Assistant Executive Director following approval by the IHSA Board of Directors on Tuesday, June 24.
Brown is the 33rd individual in the Association’s history to serve in the role, as she fills the position created by Susie Knoblauch’s departure for the National Federation of State High School Associations
“We feel lucky to be able to have Shaunda step into this opening for us.” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “There was an impressive pool of candidates, but her thoroughness, professionalism and communication skills set her apart. We are confident that her knowledge as an IHSA official will also be beneficial in easing her transition into this new role.”
A 1996 graduate of Du Quoin High School, Brown recently concluded her eighth year as a Speech Language Pathologist at the Special School District of St. Louis County in Town and Country, Missouri. She was a two-sport student-athlete at Du Quoin, participating in varsity cheerleading and track & field all four years. A four-year IHSA state final qualifier in track & field, Brown earned five medals in her career, including a third-place finish in 200-meter dash as a senior.
“I am very excited and look forward to building relationships with the IHSA staff, membership, Board of Directors, coaches and officials,” said Brown. “My time as a high school student-athlete competing in IHSA sports had a huge impact on my life. It taught me to be a team player, as well as to value the efforts and abilities of others. Those experiences have continued to influence me in my adult life.”
Brown earned her undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders & Sciences from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected to serve as team captain of the Saluki Cheerleading team in 1998 and 1999. Brown also went on to complete a pair of Master’s Degrees in Communication Sciences & Disorders and School Administration from St. Louis University and Lindenwood University, respectively.
“I love and will miss my students with all my heart, however, I am ready to take the next step,” said Brown. “I am excited about the opportunity to impact even more students as they become productive citizens through their IHSA experiences.”
Brown will officially begin her new position with the IHSA on July 28. Hickman noted that staff sport and activity administration assignments will be evaluated in the coming weeks, but that Brown will take over Knoblauch’s previous responsibility as the administrator of Competitive Cheerleading.
“I feel like my diverse set of experiences within cheerleading will help me in my new role,” said Brown. “Although I likely won’t have as much experience in the other sports or activities I am assigned, I will make it a priority to learn as much as I can from the resources around me. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the managers, clinicians, judges and other individuals who have made these programs so successful.”
Beyond her cheerleading experiences as a high school and collegiate participant, Brown has worked as a Head Cheerleading Instructor for the Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA) in Memphis, Tennessee, helping to facilitate UCA’s camps every summer since 1996. Brown has also been an important figure in the establishment and growth of IHSA Competitive Cheerleading, which contested its first State Series in 2005-06. An IHSA Cheerleading Clinician, Brown has served on the IHSA Cheer Advisory Committee, as well as the NFHS National Spirit Rules Committee, while also being selected to judge every IHSA State Final meet since the inaugural season.
“Shaunda has shown great leadership and initiative in the officiating realm,” said IHSA Director of Officials Craig Anderson. “Her outgoing personality and willingness to get involved have endeared her to our staff and her fellow officials.”
Prior to accepting her current position at the Special School District of St. Louis, Brown worked as a Clinic Director and Speech Language Pathologist at Pediatric Potentials in Chicago from 2002 to 2006. Brown is also a founding member of The Illinois Spirit Officials Association and has earned her National Safety Certification from the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators.