AIA explains executive director succession plan

January 26, 2015 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Below is a press relase the Arizona Interscholastic Association just sent to the media explaining the succession plan for its executive director, Dr. Harold Slemmer.

PHOENIX, AZ (January 26, 2015) – On January 20, 2015, the Arizona Interscholastic Association's executive board voted unanimously to appoint Associate Executive Director, Chuck Schmidt as the next Executive Director to succeed Dr. Harold Slemmer when he retires in 2017. 

Since the announcement, questions have been raised regarding the process in which this decision was made.   In 2013, based on direction of the Executive Board, Dr. Slemmer began formulating a succession plan to prepare for his own retirement.  As part of that process, Dr. Slemmer evaluated the specialization of the position, qualifications required and knowledge needed for success.  “High School Associations like the AIA are extremely specialized.   There are only 51 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) recognized associations, each with their own nuances. To find someone with the appropriate skill set and specialized high school association knowledge is rare. Chuck’s fourteen years of AIA specific experience and knowledge made it obvious for me to recommend him for this role.” 

Currently, there are multiple state associations in which the Executive Director position is, or soon will be, open.  Dr. Slemmer, having extensive involvement in the National Federation of State High School Associations was well aware that other associations had interest in recruiting Mr. Schmidt for their Executive Director positions.  “Chuck has been an invaluable asset to the AIA.  All of us on the board, felt that losing that expertise and skill to another state would be a disservice to our members and the organization.  At the same time, we recognized his readiness for the role.  We thought it was best to make our intentions known, even though the role won’t begin for another two years,” said Executive Board President, Dr. Doug Wilson.  “We’ve been essentially interviewing Chuck everyday that we’ve worked with him and I have no doubt, that even if we had opened this up for a full search, we would not have found a better candidate for our specific needs.  And frankly, not a lot of people want to interview for a job that won’t happen for another two years.  We felt a sense of urgency to make this decision,” added Executive Vice President, Mike DeLao. 

“We made the decision because we believe Chuck Schmidt is the right candidate to succeed Dr. Slemmer.  Based on his job performance, skills and specialized knowledge, deciding to accept Dr. Slemmer’s succession recommendation and announce our upcoming appointment, was not a difficult decision to make for me.  The unanimous votes indicate the entire Executive Board supported Dr. Slemmer’s recommendation,” said Executive Board Member Ken VanWinkle.   

About the Arizona Interscholastic Association:

The AIA, is voluntary association of public and private Arizona high schools.  Since 1913, the organization has created and sustained interscholastic activities that encourage maximum student participation by providing AIA member schools with an even playing field to ensure fair and equitable competition.  The AIA believes that providing interscholastic activities for Arizona high school students creates personal development opportunities with a balanced focus on academics and extracurricular activities. 

Through its 272 member schools, the AIA reaches more than 100,000 participants in high school activity programs.  The organization hosts 5,000 championship contests and maintains officiating for more than 45,000 regular season games.   For more information, visit and

AIA Media Contact: Brian Bolitho; Director of Business Media;; 602-385-3822