In May of 2013, Steve Ellison, Kenny Pope, PJ Pope, Greg Dennis, Romell Salone and Chuck Richardson sat around a table and they confronted a hard truth: athletic directors are predominantly older, white males. While there are people of color and women to be found in the position of Athletic Director (AD), they are most often found in lower income public school districts, while higher income schools tend to hire white ADs. Diverse student populations necessitate diverse hires that are able to understand, relate to, and navigate the challenges unique to their student populations. So these men decided to do something about it.
They identified a need for professional development and education, as well as a network that could provide support, service, and social strength. With these resources, the tide could rise for all ships: both racial minorities and women, as well as the many students these ADs serve. Thus, the Minority Athletic Director Association (MADA) was born.
MADA is a group of men and women that serve as mentors who share information and strategies to facilitate success in high school athletic administration. It’s closely modeled off of and partnered with the National Organization of Minority Athletic Directors (NOMAD) and the Black Athletic Director Association (whose acronym we’ll let you figure out for yourself). Back when MADA was founded, there were approximately 400-500 athletic directors regionally, and few were either minorities or women. All of these ADs were pigeon-holed into certain districts, some by choice out of a passion for a certain community, but others because they felt the field would allow them no further growth. MADA decided to be a catalyst, bringing this community of professionals into the next generation of inclusion and innovation.
MADA currently has 21 ADs as active members, representing 13 different local schools. The group also recruits veteran ADs as well as aspiring ADs to create a comprehensive mentorship network. Full membership requires that you are a minority AD (or future AD), though ally membership is offered as well for non-minority AD’s. The organization promotes community service, mentorship, scholarship, and education, and engages frequently in the community in the name of those principles.
PRESIDENT- STEVE ELLISON
Steve Ellison began his tenure at Walnut High School in the spring of 2017, with over 10 years of professional, collegiate, and high school athletic experience.
A graduate and member of The University of Tennessee-Martin football team, Ellison holds a Bachelors in Science, with concentrations in Health and Human Performance and Sport Management. He completed his graduate degree at Xavier University, receiving an M.S. in Sports Administration. Ellison has served in a variety of professional, collegiate, and high school capacities. Early in his career he worked closely with the recruiting coordinator for the University of Tennessee-Martin football team, held a brief position with assistant Athletic Director at Wright State University, spent several years working under the Director of ballpark operations for the Cincinnati Reds, and working closely with the Athletic Director at Walnut Hills High School as an intern and site administrator. He has also worked as a teacher and coach (high school football and basketball) at Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy. While at CCPA, he served as the high school health and wellness instructor and Athletic Director for both the middle school and high school. After leaving CCPA, Steve served as Athletic Director at Woodward Career Technical High School. While there he added programs such as softball, wrestling, increased participation on all levels, planned and organized annual track meets and basketball previews, and implemented an academic accountability program. Since coming to Walnut, he has started a shift in culture/core values within the department, instilled more school pride within the total school community, upgraded signage in athletic facilities, increased student-athlete recognition, streamlined communication tools through the use of the google, increased summer camp participation, and implemented the Student-Athlete Leadership Team. Steve is a native of Cincinnati, OH, and attended Walnut Hills High school.
VICE PRESIDENT- CHUCK RICARDSON III
Chuck is in his eight year of interscholastic administration. He was at Robert A. Taft Information Technology from 2014-16, Western Hills from 2016-18 and 2018-present Trotwood-Madison City Schools. Throughout his tenure as an administrator, professional development has been one of the keys to his success.
In 2015, he began the road to obtaining his CAA designation by taking LTI classes at the OIAAA state conference. Since then, he has become a member of both SWOADA and the OIAAA. Chuck has also attended the NIAAA conference in Phoenix and San Antonio where he, gained valuable resources on how to grow and cultivate the athletic departments at Western Hills and Trotwood-Madison respectively. In 2018, Chuck obtained his CAA, and has thoughts of obtaining is CMAA in the near future.
In addition to being a member of SWOADA and OIAAA, Chuck is a founding member of MADA(Minority Athletic Director Association). As member of MADA, Chuck has assisted in the promotion of the affinity group and has been responsible for facilitating workshops and leading panel discussions in the “So You Want To Be An AD” series. This series has a target demographic of college-aged students who have interest in the area of interscholastic administration.
Chuck has had the distinction of being an LTI facilitator multiple times. In 2018 and 2019 at the OIAAA Summer Institute, as well as a speaker presenter at the 2018 OIAAA State Conference. Most importantly, the students at each of his stops have benefited from the professional development sessions that Chuck has attended. Chuck has piloted several student centric activities such as fundraising initiatives, Student-Athlete Leadership Teams, student spirit sections, life after athletics speaker series and multiple social media accounts.
SECRETARY- SHAY STEELE
A proud graduate of Walnut Hills High School in 2010, Shauniece has been a member of the Walnut Hills Athletics Staff since 2016. She obtained her undergraduate degree (Exercise Science) from The University of Akron and her master’s degree (Sports Administration) from The University of Cincinnati.
As a high school student, Shauniece understood the importance of being well-rounded and took full advantage of the vast array of opportunities that Walnut Hills presents. She lettered in volleyball, indoor track, and outdoor track (becoming both a state and national champion during her tenure), was a member of the Marching Blue & Gold, held office in student government, and was a member of many different student groups/organizations. After graduation, Shauniece attended The University of Akron on both athletic (Track & Field) and academic scholarships, maintaining both academic (Academic Honor Roll) and athletic success (2013 MAC Champion). With a desire to be more than “just a student-athlete”, she joined various academic, service, and leadership organizations (including Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.) holding executive board offices in each, and gaining transferable knowledge and experiences that she would take into the workforce. She accredits her ability to adapt, to be open-minded, and to be a transformational leader to these high school and collegiate experiences. Shauniece relocated back to Cincinnati after graduating and served in varying capacities within Cincinnati Public Schools before finally making her way back home to the Nuthouse. While Shauniece enjoys being at Walnut because “it’s home,” she loves being able to share these learned experiences, give back to the school that helped shaped her into who she is today, and is passionate about providing the same, if not better, experiences and opportunities through Athletics for the current generations of Eagles.