NIAA to conduct national search for executive director

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s Board of Control voted Wednesday in Reno to conduct a national search for its next executive director.

Paul Anderson, the NIAA’s legal counsel, was also voted to spearhead the search, although he may not exceed $25,000 plus costs to review applications, conduct interviews and ultimately select the finalists.

The board and Anderson, though, do not expect the cost of the search to come close to $25,000, although board Vice President Erin Cranor, also president of the Clark County School Board, said it would be used as a cushion in case of a prolonged process.

Cranor did caution Anderson he must be prepared to explain his process to the board once a decision is made or if complications arise.

The hiring of Anderson, meanwhile, allows the process to remain confidential until the finalists are made public. Cranor, among others, said it is necessary to keep secrecy for those applying to avoid any repercussions with their current employers.

“I am willing to work for stated sum if board feels appropriate,” Anderson said. “ I am not looking at it as a money-maker.”

The position, meanwhile, appears to be a coveted one as outgoing Executive Director Eddie Bonine and Anderson said they estimate there are about 30 interested candidates nationally and in Nevada.

Bonine stepped down as the executive director last month after he accepted the same position in Louisiana. He was hired by the NIAA in 2007.

“A bulk will be assistant directors in very large states,” Bonine said “They’ve come from different sides (of experience) … but the minimum requirements will eliminate some. There are seven to nine states interested in what requirements will be. There is interest in these positions because they don’t come open often.”

Assistant Director Donnie Nelson, meanwhile, opened the door as a possibility for his candidacy after successfully convincing the board individuals who have work experience with a state association can substitute for a master’s or doctorate degree.

“Sometimes there is a courtesy afforded to you because you have a deep passion and love for what you do,” Nelson said. “I would like to have the opportunity to consider to apply. I don’t know if I will, but would like the opportunity.”

As for the minimum requirements, the board voted to establish numerous guidelines for candidates. They include: Master’s or doctorate degree in Education Administration or 15 years of employment in a state high school association; salary ($120,000-$145,000); ability to travel around the state and nationally; formal letter of interest, application, resume, three letters of recommendation and certification of degree(s); ability to work the Board of Control; and state legislators among other responsibilities.

Candidates must also submit to a background check.

As for the timeline of the search, the board approved Feb. 17 for a special meeting to interview no more than five finalists based off Anderson’s “aggressive” plan to have someone hired before Bonine leaves on March 6.

The position will be posted online by Jan. 20 and stay open until Feb. 6. From there, inform those applicants who are finalists on Feb. 12.

The NIAA may announce the new executive director Feb. 27 during halftime of one of the state championship basketball games at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

“That would be kind of a neat way to do it,” Anderson said. “Again, it’s wide open for discussion.”

Another issue facing the board, though, was the necessity to hire someone quickly to foster and renew title sponsorships. In addition, many of the candidates may have a 90-day termination clause, which would make for an actual starting date in May or June making for a quick process more vital.

Bonine said two partnerships in one-year contracts are coming up for renewal. Those are a southern Nevada Toyota dealership ($25,000 per year with option to renew after two years) and Station Casinos in Las Vegas, which is in a contract for $75,000.

Other sponsors include the National Guard plus others that total between $800,000 to $1 million. That money, Bonine said, is used directly to students, not for salaries.

“It is a critical time for sponsorships,” Assistant Director Jay Beesemyer added.

Predictably, as the executive director agenda item came to a close, the issue of having more representation in Las Vegas came to light.

Carolyn Edwards, member of Region IV in Las Vegas, wants a satellite office in the city and suggested the executive director be in Las Vegas for a “couple days” each or every other week.

“I’m not interested in moving the entire office to Las Vegas,” she said.

One suggestion was to place an office in the Clark County School District’s office, although Ray Mathis, a former president of the board of control and member of Region IV, said there is no room.

Anderson, among others, said cost is a major issue and any conflicts of interest would arise with CCSD and the NIAA situated in the same building.

“I think one of the interview questions should be about the uniqueness of the state,” Mathis said. “And how to be visible in the North and South … in the large cities and rural areas.”

Lisa Ruggerio, who represents Washoe County, asked what the issue is with not having the executive director visiting Las Vegas so often. She said it’s the board’s responsibility to direct the executive director to where to increase the NIAA’s presence.

Bonine, said a cost analysis must be done before the board makes a decision. He said the expense of airfare, hotel, food and other costs must be examined.


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