NMAA leader Marquez adds NFHS board president to duties - Albuquerque Journal

NMAA leader Marquez adds NFHS board president to duties

Sally Marquez

For the next 12 months, Sally Marquez will be an executive director and a president.

The New Mexico Activities Association’s leader on July 1 officially took over as the president of the National Federation of State High School Associations. The transition became official at the NFHS summer meetings in San Antonio last week.

Her one-year term will run through June 30, 2023.

“It’s a position I never strived for,” Marquez, 60, said. She has been the executive director of the NMAA for the last 10 years, since the summer of 2012. “It is an honor, and I am thankful and grateful and want to do the best job I can for all the state associations.”

Marquez has been serving as a member of the NFHS board of directors for the last three years; her four-year term will expire at the same time as her one-year stint as the board president.

The 12-person NFHS board is comprised of eight executive directors — one from each of the country’s eight regions — plus four at-large positions. New Mexico, in Region 6, also includes Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

After being nominated, the voting was done by 51 state association leaders, including the District of Columbia.

“A lot of (this job) will be communicating with every executive director nationwide, and making sure the NFHS is making good, sound choices and putting kids first,” Marquez said.

Much like the NMAA board of directors, the NFHS board meets four times a year in Indianapolis. Her new duties will also include additional traveling and speaking engagements around the country.

But Marquez said New Mexico’s needs are at the top of the priority list.

“I would always make sure there is balance, and that the NMAA is first and foremost in anything that I do,” she said. “I have a fantastic staff, and a fantastic board of directors to represent New Mexico on the national stage.”

Marquez said New Mexico’s high school-related issues are both specific to here, but often similar in nature to other states.

“Every state is unique and different,” she said. “One thing about New Mexico that I see is that we are very progressive in a lot of things we do, and (we’re on) a national stage in many areas.”

Marquez has been with the NMAA since 2004, when she began as an associate director. She became the assistant executive director in July 2011. She was a three-sport athlete at Manzano, graduated from the University of New Mexico (where she played basketball) and earned a master’s degree from Virginia Tech.

Marquez was inducted into the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Her former Commissioner of Officials, Dana Pappas, last year left the NMAA. She is now is headquartered in Indianapolis as the NFHS Director of Officiating Services. Another former NMAA staffer, Robert Zayas, is New York’s executive director.

“High school sports is where it’s all about here in New Mexico,” Marquez said. “We don’t have the pro teams, we don’t have the Power 5 universities, so high school athletics is front and center in everyone’s mind, and that is so unique from a lot of other states.”

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