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Steve Endsley to Retire as Executive Director of the IESA; Nicole Schaefbauer Named as Next Executive Director

Steve Endsley, who has served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Elementary School Association since 1996, has announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year. It will conclude a career in education that started at Pekin Edison Junior High School in 1979-80. He is just the fifth person to serve as the Executive Director in the 92 year history of the Association.

After a three-year teaching stint at Pekin Edison, Endsley moved on to the Admissions and Records Office and Foundation Office at Illinois State University in 1982. He was hired by the IESA in 1988 as an Assistant Executive Director and was promoted to the Executive Director position in 1996. During his tenure as Executive Director he helped bring significant changes to the Association. Membership grew tremendously under Endsley's leadership as the number of member schools increased from 600 to over 900 schools. New activities were started including golf, bowling, chess and many of the existing activities were expanded to accommodate the growth. While serving as the track and field administrator, the IESA state track and field meet became the premier junior high school state track and field meet in the country as Endsley oversaw the move of the event from Washington High School to the EastSide Centre in East Peoria. He started the cheerleading competition in 2001. The IESA state wrestling finals were moved to Convocation Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University and the state finals are some of the most exciting events the Association sponsors. Wrestling has become a passion for Endsley and he was named to the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) Hall of Fame this past spring. He served on the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Citizenship Committee from 2004-2009 and served as Chair of the committee from 2007-2009.

"It is hard for me to believe that I started with the IESA 32 years ago," said Endsley. "While we have accomplished so much over the years, I am only successful because of the IESA board of directors and staff, the member schools, the administrators, athletic directors, coaches, officials, and all of the other people that work together to give students an outstanding experience in education-based activities. My staff is unbelievable and they do not get the credit they deserve. We have worked together as a team to help make IESA the outstanding organization it has become. When I was hired, I was the fourth employee. Today we have nine employees. I am so proud of what we do for students in our member schools. Additionally, I am proud of the national presence IESA has developed. My whole goal when I became the Executive Director was to do things the right way and by doing so I believed that students would have really great experiences. I hope that has been the case."

Endsley has no immediate plans once his work concludes next June. "We have a lot of work in front of us for the 2020-21 school year because of Covid-19," he added. As much as I am looking forward to what the future holds, we have some real challenges this year. Come July, I know I will plan to play a little more golf and we'll just see what the future holds." Endsley resides in Normal and has one son, Justin who is a sophomore at Southern Illinois University studying sports management.

Nicole Schaefbauer will become the sixth Executive Director and the first female to lead the Association. She started with the IESA in 1999 as an Assistant Executive Director and was promoted to Associate Director in 2001. During her time with IESA, Schaefbauer has been the administrator for boys and girls basketball, girls volleyball, track and field, chess, speech, music, scholastic bowl, cross-country, softball, and bowling. In addition, she has worked closely with the IHSA officials committee and organized the first ever IESA athletic director's workshop. "It is both a tremendous honor and weighty responsibility to serve as the Executive Director of the IESA, said Schaefbauer. "I thank the Board of Directors for their support and for entrusting this role to me. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented staff here at the IESA, the dedicated administrators, coaches and officials around the state and the whole IESA family to advance the mission of this organization. I am excited for this opportunity to expand my role and continue to serve the member schools and students participating in IESA sports and activities." Schaefbauer and her husband, Skipp, live in Normal and are the parents of two daughters.

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