COLUMBIA -- The Board of Directors of the Missouri State High School Activities Association announced today that Kerwin Urhahn has accepted the position of executive director of the Association, effective July 1, 2006.
Urhahn is currently the superintendent of schools for the Portageville School District and is the Southeast representative on the MSHSAA Board of Directors. He will be the MSHSAA's sixth executive director and will be the successor to Becky Oakes who will retire Feb. 1 after serving 14 years as the organization's top executive.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to come to the Association and serve in this capacity," Urhahn said of his new position. "The MSHSAA will be celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2006, and it is important to carry on that tradition of quality programs for students, while looking for new avenues to reach schools."
Originally from Oran, Urhahn lettered in basketball and baseball at Oran High School and earned his bachelor of science in secondary education with an emphasis in mathematics from Southeast Missouri State in 1990. He earned a master of arts in secondary education from Southeast in 1996 and an education specialist designation from St. Louis University in 2000. He has also been pursuing an educational doctorate from SLU since 1998.
The 38-year-old will bring broad experience to the MSHSAA office in Columbia, having served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal and superintendent in his professional career.
He taught all levels of high school mathematics and coached volleyball, basketball, baseball and golf at Bloomfield High School from 1991 to 1997. He assumed the role of assistant to the principal and athletic director at Bloomfield in 1994 and was named principal there in 1997. He accepted his current position as superintendent of schools for the Portageville School District in 2000.
Considered by his peers as an administrator with passion, vision and dedication, Urhahn noted that his vision for the future of the Association is one based on leadership and communication.
"I want to see MSHSAA as a user-friendly and approachable organization by its membership," he said. "I want schools to know that we're here for them to assist in advancing programs at the local level; that we provide services to assist them."
A member of numerous professional organizations, he is a representative on the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) State Accountability Committee, and also serves on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education MSIP Performance Committee.
In 2003, he was elected as the 10th representative to the MSHSAA Board of Directors from the southeast region and also served on the MSHSAA Southeast Investigative Committee from 1998-2001.
"It is an honor to leave the Association and have Kerwin Urhahn step into the leadership role for our schools, officials and most importantly -- our students," Oakes said. "I have had the opportunity to work with Kerwin throughout his professional career and know he is a person of character, enthusiasm and a genuine care for students.
"His outstanding leadership and his passion for activities and athletics in our schools will make him a great person for this position. I know the membership will enjoy working with Mr. Urhahn and provide support in his transition to the executive director position."
Urhahn also coaches a club USA Volleyball program in southeast Missouri and plays golf and fast-pitch softball.
A media gathering to introduce Urhahn will take place at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 10:30 a.m. in Broadway Room 150, the interview room for the MSHSAA Show-Me Bowl.