The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (WIAA) Board of Control has been in existence since 1897 and is the governing body for high school athletics in the state.
The latest member of this prestigious Board is Mineral Point Unified School District Superintendent, Luke Francois, who was elected earlier in April over Portage District Administrator Charles Poches to a three year term as the District 5 representative.
This news was announced to the public at the WIAA Annual Meeting Wednesday, April 22 in Stevens Point. He succeeds Brian Busler, Superintendent of Oregon, who did not seek another term.
Only two other administrators from Mineral Point have served on the Board in the past including Superintendent David Morgan (1934-45) and Principal Ted Evans (2009-11).
“A collegiate athlete and high school coach, coupled with my passion for administration, the Board of Control was a natural fit for me, as well as a challenge for me to grow professionally,” said Francois.
As a student-athlete himself, he achieved success by competing at state tournaments in wrestling and football at Middleton High and was a national wrestling qualifier at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Francois has experience with both large and small schools. Before coming to Mineral Point in 2011, he was the athletic director at Middleton High School for seven years. He also served as president-elect of the Wisconsin Athletic Director’s Association, where he was afforded the opportunity to participate as the association’s liaison to the WIAA Board of Control.
“I am unique in that I bring together the experience as an athletic director of a large school, along with my current experience as superintendent of a smaller school,” he said. “I plan to share my insights in a way that strikes balance and treats all schools of all sizes fairly.”
Prior to his tenure as an athletic director, he represented Wisconsin as the president of the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association and advised the WIAA Medical Advisory Committee and WIAA Rules Interpretation Committee.
To earn his Doctorate in Education at Edgewood College, he wrote his dissertation on the Effects of Interscholastic Athletic Participation on Academic Achievement. He is one of very few in the state to hold the title of Certified Master Athletic Administrator.
The Board of Control is headquartered in Stevens Point and consists of ten administrators from the senior high school membership and one representative of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. Seven of the 11 members represent geographical districts of the state, one is an at large gender representative, one is an at large ethnic minority representative, and one is an at large non-public school representative.
Besides Francois, Board members include: Brad Ayer, Clear Lake; Mike Beighley, Whitehall; Corey Baumgartner, Kiel; Dean Sanders, Lake Mills; Steven Knecht, Kenosha; Eric Coleman, Milwaukee; Ted Knutson, La Cross Aquinas; William Yingst, Durand; Pam Foegen, Eau Claire Regis; and Scott Winch, Stratford.
“Having worked with Mr. Francois over the years, I have always appreciated his thoughtfulness and willingness to tackle challenges, be a part of a team, see a larger picture and contribute to the group effort for the greater good, on whatever the topic or issue might be,” said WIAA Executive Director Dave Anderson. “I expect he will make a good addition to our Board, as Mr. Evans and Mr. Busler from your area have in recent years.”
The Board faces many tough issues ahead, one of which that has been in the news recently is the competitive equity private/public school fairness debate, which again brought heated discussion to the annual meeting recently.
“I will bring a calm, rational voice to the discussions that face the Board and I will be diligent and research best practices to bring solutions to problems for the betterment of schools and sports across the state,” concluded Francois.