Photo by Keith Warren

MHSAA’s Sheldon Awarded With NFHS Citation

By the NFHS

Thirteen leaders in high school activity programs across the country have received NFHS Citations at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Boston.

An award designed to honor individuals who have made contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation and fine arts/performing arts programs, the NFHS Citation is one of the most highly regarded achievements in high school athletics and performing arts.

Mary Sheldon, who joined the staff of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) in 1996, was honored with the Section 3 award.

During her 28-year tenure, one of Sheldon’s main responsibilities has been to maintain and update the MHSAA Handbook and Sports Information Manual.

Sheldon has been responsible for working with state association advisors to update and revise the handbook. With the MHSAA, Sheldon is known as the “handbook queen,” making her a vital resource to the MHSAA staff and school administrators and coaches throughout the state.

In addition, Sheldon has been integral to the organization as the facilitator of the Lindy Callahan Scholarship program. Since 1996, this program has recognized and awarded scholarships annually based on academic and athletic success to 16 student-athletes across the state of Mississippi. Callahan was an outstanding coach and athletic director in Gulfport, Mississippi, for 40 years and is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame.

As the administrative assistant to the executive director, Sheldon has worked closely with the past three MHSAA executive directors – Ennis Proctor, Don Hinton and current director Rickey Neaves. She helps to plan agendas and prepare materials for all MHSAA Executive Committee meetings and Legislative Council meetings. Sheldon also records minutes at all meetings and archives the information for committees.

Sheldon communicates with the eight activity district secretaries to schedule fall and winter meetings, and also assists in setting agendas for the meetings. Each spring, Sheldon is responsible for receiving and producing more than 500 certificates for the Scholar Athlete Team Awards. In other responsibilities, Sheldon assists at all MHSAA state championships with assignments that include ticket sales, ceremonies and media relations.

Other 2024 state association Citation recipients are Todd Nelson, Section 1, assistant director, New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA); Sean Conley, Section 2, assistant director, District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA); Robert Faulkens, Section 4, assistant commissioner, Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA); Jo Auch, Section 5, assistant executive director, South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA); Rhonda Blanford-Green, Section 6, executive director of diversity, inclusion and educational opportunities, rSchool Today/PlayOn! Sports; Brent Mizutani, Section 7, executive director, Kauai Interscholastic Federation, Lihue, Hawaii; and Ron Laird, Section 8, retired commissioner, Wyoming High School Activities Association.

The 2024 Citation recipients representing the NFHS professional organizations are Bill Castle, NFHS Coaches Association, retired football coach, Lakeland (Florida) High School; Jay Lemelin, NFHS Officials Association, football and basketball official, Billings, Montana; Peter Eklund, NFHS Music Association, former music educator in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and current professor and director of choral activities, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; David Yastremski, NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre/Academics Association (speech and debate), speech and debate coach, Ridge High School, Basking Ridge, New Jersey; and Janine Stroemer, NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre/Academics Association (theatre), retired speech and theatre coach/director, Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor, Illinois.

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