Ethete admin to national boardSep 10, 2017 Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
By Randy Tucker
It's not often that Wyoming is represented on the National Federation of State High School Associations but Fremont County's Owen St. Clair, superintendent of schools at Fremont County School District 14 in Ethete, is a newly elected member of the NFHS. He is the first American Indian to ever serve on the NFHS board.
St. Clair is a 1986 graduate of Ft. Washakie Middle School, a 1990 Graduate of Wyoming Indian High School, a 1990 Mower Award Winner and a 1995 graduate from the University of Wyoming in secondary education.
He obtained a masters degree from Montana State University in Bozeman in 2003.
St. Clair began his professional career as a social studies teacher and coach at Wyoming Indian Middle school and worked three seasons as the Chiefs' head football coach. He also assisted legendary Wyoming Indian basketball coach Alfred Redman until 2002.
St. Clair has been a member of the Wyoming High School Activities Association board of control since 2011 and served as its president during the 2012-13 academic year but his latest assignment the NFHS board covers the entire gamut of sports in the United States.
"Every so often Wyoming has a chance for someone to be on the national board," St. Clair said. "There was an at large member position for a minority or woman. Ron Laird thought it would a great thing for the State of Wyoming and for me to be on the board."
In order to serve on the NFHS board a member has to also be an active member of a state association.
The WHSAA had to suspend the rules to allow St. Clair a third term on their board in order to meet the national requirement.
St. Clair was appointed originally to a vacant seat after a previous member resigned during their term and elected two more times.
"I have no clue what to expect. I've only been to a fast and furious board orientation," St. Clair said. "It's a little different than Wyoming, it's a national scene, a lot of sports we don't even offer such as lacrosse and field hockey."
The NFHS board deals with a vast scale of issues that rarely if ever occur in the Cowboy State.
"Other issues present a wide variety of things," St. Clair said. "It's going to be an eye opener."
His first section meeting occurs next Monday in Fargo, North Dakota. St. Clair represents section five and section eight as an at large member.
Section eight includes Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Section five is composed of primarily states from the Great Plains in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota and North and South Dakota.
"This body looks at all the rule changes and the proposals, similar to the WHSAA," St. Clair said.
The time commitment for a busy school superintendent who already serves on the state board was an issue but the Fremont 14 board supported St. Clair's election.
"September is the busy month with two section meetings. We have national board meetings in October and April and have summer and winter meetings when school is not in session," St. Clair said.
"My board let me have a chance at doing this."
John Bernard was Wyoming's only previous member of the NFHS board serving from 1960 to 1963 and the next opportunity won't come for another 50 years.
Other new members on the NFHS board this year are incoming president Jerome Singleton, the commissioner of the South Carolina High School League, Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Billy Haun, executive director of the Virginia High School League, Kerwin Urhahn and Missouri State High School Activities Association executive director.