The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) annually bestows an honor, regarded as the highest achievable accolade in high school sports and activities, upon 12 individuals with their respective enshrinements into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is proud to announce that Downers Grove South High School teacher, head speech coach and drama director Jan Heiteen has been selected as a member of the 2012 inductee class.
“This is an incredible honor for an incredibly deserving individual,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “We are so proud to have Jan represent Illinois, the IHSA and high school speech and drama across the country in this distinguished club. It is very fitting that Jan is the torchbearer among Fine Arts inductees from Illinois in the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame.”
Heiteen is the 24th individual representing the IHSA in the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame and will be formally honored at the enshrinement ceremony banquet on Saturday, July 11 as a part of the 2012 NFHS Summer Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Inductees must be nominated by their respective state association and categorized as either Athletes, Coaches, Officials, Administrators or Fine Arts. Heiteen is the first IHSA enshrinee to represent the Fine Arts category.
Heiteen’s decorated career includes leading Downers Grove South to 15 team state championships in the IHSA Speech State Finals and coaching more than 70 individual event state champions. Her program also won the IHSA Group Interpretation Team State Championship in 1992 and in 2007-08 her student, Kyle Ackerman, was named the 2007-08 National Forensic League Student of the Year.
In addition to serving as the State Final Manager and Assistant Manager at the IHSA Speech-Individual Events State Finals for over a decade, Heiteen is also actively involved in the NFHS, National Forensic League and Illinois Speech & Theatre Association. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors in her career, including induction into the National Forensic League Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Edith Harrod Award for distinguished service from the Illinois Speech & Theatre Association.
“Jan is exceptionally selfless. She gives back so much and has touched so many people, including myself,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Susie Knoblauch. “If there is an award or an organization out there for speech and drama, Jan has won it or is a member of it. She doesn’t do it because of the accolades, she does it because of her undeniable passion and dedication to something she loves so much. Few individuals have touched as many students as Jan Heiteen.”
A University of Illinois graduate, Heiteen’s career in education began at Champaign Central High School and also included stops at Waukegan East High School and Maine East High School before she arrived at Downers Grove South in 1980. Her roles at the various high schools included coaching speech, drama director, technical director, make-up designer and assistant musical director among many others. She has produced over 80 plays, musicals and talent shows in her time at Downers Grove South.
The other members of the 2012 NFHS National High School Hall of Fame Class include Kevin Johnson (Athlete, California), Fred Hoiberg (Athlete, Iowa), Bob Kanaby (NFHS Administrator), Pat Sullivan (Athlete, Alabama), Tracy Hill (Athlete, Colorado), Ron Bradley (Coach, Georgia), Rod Harman (Coach, Oregon), Larry Luitjens (Coach, South Dakota), Catherine Neely (Coach, Tennessee), Truman Owens (Official, South Carolina) and Robert “Bob” White (Official, Maine).
Heiteen becomes the 24th NFHS National High School Hall of Fame member from Illinois, joining Dwight "Dike" Eddleman (Athlete at Centralia, 1983 inductee), Harold "Red" Grange (Athlete at Wheaton, 1984), Bart Connor (Athlete at Niles West, 1986), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln, 1989), Quinn Buckner (Athlete at Thornridge, 1989), Dana Miroballi (Athlete at Wheeling, 2009), Arthur Trout (Coach at Centralia, 1982), Vergil Fletcher (Coach at Collinsville, 1983), Charles Farina (Coach at Leyden & Gordon T, 1987), Gordon Gillespie (Coach at Joliet Catholic, 1989), David Robertson (Coach at New Trier, 1991), William "Red" Schmitt (Coach at Granite C, 1993), Joe Newton (Coach at York, 2004), Norm Geske (Official from Buffalo Grove, 1982), Fred "Brick" Young (Official from Bloomington, 1983), Keith Parker (Official from Granite City, 1990), Larry Wilcoxen (Official from Walnut, 1994), Dick Deitz (Official from Mcleansboro, 1996), H.V. Porter (IHSA & NFHS Staff, 1982), Milt Sprunger (IHSA Staff, 1983), Tom Frederick (IHSA & NFHS Staff, 1994), Ola Bundy (IHSA Staff, 1996) and John Griffith (Special contributor from Chicago, 1986).