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Glenbrook South Teacher Tara Tate Named Recipient of Prestigious NFHS Citation Award

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Twelve leaders in high school activity programs across the country have been selected to receive National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Citations.

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.

One of the Citation winners is Tara Tate (right), NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre Association, forensics educator at Glenbrook South High School. Tate and the other 11 honorees will receive their awards on July 1 at the 99th annual NFHS Summer Meeting in Chicago.

“After hearing that I was named the National Citation winner from the NFHS, I am humbled, surprised, and grateful for the recognition,” said Tate. “When I look at the past recipients, I still cannot believe what great company I am in. I have been very fortunate in my career to have had great students, hard-working assistants, a supportive administration and a state association that believes debate matters.”

Tate is currently in her 15th year as an educator at Glenbrook South, where she also oversees one of the largest debate programs in the country with over 100 students. She annually co-directs the nation’s largest high school speech and debate invitational tournament, which services over 2,500 students and coaches from 40 states each year. It is considered by many to be the most competitive forensics invitational in the country. In addition to her service to the IHSA and NFHS, Tate remains actively involved in the National Speech & Debate Association and the National Debate Coaches Association. She has served in positions of leadership, and been honored with multiple awards by each of the organizations.

"At the IHSA, the people who support our mission and volunteer countless hours for our tournaments are our greatest asset," said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Susie Knoblauch. "Tara Tate is one of our state's best assets and an invaluable member of the IHSA tournament family. Tara’s success is a clear reflection of the effort, pride and passion with which she puts towards interscholastic activities. Great achievements are nurtured with the cooperation of many minds with a common vision working toward a common goal and Tara’s personal commitment to quality education-based activities is obvious in everything she does. Her pride and support of the Association is obvious…and never taken for granted."

Eight of the 12 award winners represent NFHS-member state high school associations, and four recipients represent NFHS professional organizations for officials, coaches, music leaders and speech/debate/theatre directors.

The eight state association recipients are Steve Timko, Section 1, recently retired executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association; Melissa Mertz, associate executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association; Keith Alexander, assistant executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association; Craig Ihnen, executive director of the Iowa High School Speech Association; David Cherry, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association; T. J. Parks, superintendent of the Hobbs (New Mexico) Municipal Schools and president of the New Mexico Activities Association; Becky Anderson, retired assistant director of the Utah High School Activities Association; and Trevor Wilson, associate commissioner of the Wyoming High School Activities Association.

Aside from Tate, the three other Citation recipients representing the NFHS professional organizations are Joe Manjone, NFHS Officials Association, longtime soccer official and current soccer rules interpreter for the Alabama High School Athletic Association; Scott Evans, NFHS Coaches Association, retired assistant director of the New Mexico Activities Association who was responsible for coaching education in the state; and Alan Greiner, NFHS Music Association, executive director of the Iowa High School Music Association.

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