Stephanie Hauser: Executive Director
Stephanie Hauser began her role as executive director on July 1, 2021, after serving as assistant director since July 6, 2015.
In addition to overseeing all administrative operations of the executive office, specific responsibilities include contractual interpretations, classification, elections, and legislative and legal matters. Past duties included conference realignment and staff liaison to the Sports Medical Advisory Committee
Prior to becoming the executive director, Hauser's responsibilities as an assistant included the administration, coordination and tournament planning for the sports of gymnastics, softball and volleyball. She had also held the administrative responsibilities for the sports of track & field and cross country from 2015-2017. She was also responsible for overseeing the coaches advisory committees, as well as being the primary contact for conference realignment.
Since joining the WIAA, Hauser has been involved at the national level as well, serving as chair of the National Federation of State High School Association Gymnastics Rules Committee from 2018-present. In addition, she served on the NFHS Student Services Committee and has presented on the "Collaboration Between State Associations and State Athletic Administrator Associations" at the 2018 NFHS Summer Meeting.
Hauser came to the WIAA Executive Staff from Stevens Point Area Senior High School where she is serving in her eighth year as the athletic administrator and assistant principal. Prior to her administrative role in Stevens Point, she was the assistant principal and activities director in the New London School District from 2003-07.
She was active in working with the WIAA as a member of the Sports Advisory Committee since 2009-15 and as a member of the Volleyball Coaches Advisory Committee. Hauser has also conducted presentations at the WIAA New Athletic Director Workshop and the WIAA Sportsmanship Summit.
Other leadership experience includes serving as president of the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association and as chair of the WADA District 2 Representative and Scholarship Committee. She is certified as an athletic administrator by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, as well as, in Red Cross CPR/AED, Educator Effectiveness Calibration for Evaluation, and Drug Influence Training and Education.
Hauser was inducted into the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame in 2022. In 2013, she was named the District 2 Athletic Director of the Year by the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
She is a 1991 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a degree in secondary chemistry education. She received a Master’s Degree in education leadership from Marian College in 1997 and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in business administration at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She was a member of the UW-Superior women’s basketball and softball teams, and was named team captain and most valuable player of the women’s volleyball team, receiving all-conference honorable mention.
Hauser is native of Antigo, Wis., where she participated in volleyball, basketball and softball throughout her prep career as a Red Robin at Antigo High School.
Mel Dow: Associate Director
Mel Dow began his role as associate director for the association on Aug. 2, 2021 .
Dow’s responsibilities include the administration, coordination of duties and tournament planning for the sports of baseball, cross country and wrestling. Other administrative duties include eligibility, coaching contact, camps, out-of-season participation, foreign students, sanctioning requests, staff liaison of the Sports Medical Advisory Committee, and leading respective sports' coaches committees and the 7% committee.
Dow has served as the athletics and activities director in the Stoughton School District since 2010. In addition to coordinating and administering the athletic programs and activities for grades 6-12, he supervised extensive athletic facility renovations and was a member of the Stoughton Wellness Coalition. He is credited with increasing sport participation and expanding programming during his tenure. He was also a member of committees for safety, additives, calendar and the selection of honors.
He has also made contributions at the state and national level, serving on the WIAA Sports Advisory Council from 2018-21, the WIAA Sportsmanship Committee from 2014-19 and on the Strategic Plan Committee of the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association. Dow hosted and served as tournament director of the USA Wrestling World Team Trials in 2014 and 2015.
Prior to his position at Stoughton, Dow spent 11 years at Prairie du Chien High School as a physical education and adaptive physical education teacher. He also served as head wrestling coach and as an assistant coach in football and track & field.
Other contributions included developing a student-athlete leadership group and serving as advisor of the Letter Winners Club, chairman of the athletic booster club, and the project chairman and designer of the weight room project. Other athletics-related experience includes founder and coach of Wisconsin’s first visually impaired national wrestling team in 1996-97, assistant wrestling coach at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1999-2000, and physical education teacher and assistant football, wrestling, and track & field coach at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., from 1997-99.
Dow is a 1992 graduate of Prairie du Chien High School, where he participated in football, track & field and wrestling. He earned a master’s degree in education from UW-La Crosse in 2002 after receiving a bachelor of science degree in exercise and sports science from there in 1997.
Todd Clark: Director of Communications
Todd Clark began his role as the Association's director of communications on July 1, 2000.
His responsibilities include overseeing the print production aspect of the association, internal and external communications, media relations, corporate marketing/sponsorships, advertising, publications, tournament records, sportsmanship, assisting with website maintenance and the football playoffs, as well as processing NFHS awards and recognitions and the WIAA Award of Excellence.
At the national level, he served on the NFHS Records Committee from 2007-10 and on the NFHS Annual Summer Meeting Advisory Committee from 2009-10. In 2012, he received an NFHS citation for his outstanding contributions to high school sports. Clark also served on the NFHS Network Leadership Circle, and he served one year on the Heart of the Arts Selection Committee and is currently a member of the NFHS Spirit of Sport Committee. He has also presented on topics at the NFHS Summer Meetings.
He received the Association Friend Award presented by the Wisconsin Association of School Councils in 2007 and was bestowed the privilege to be the presider of the 2022 NFHS Hall of Fame ceremonies in San Antonio, Texas.
Clark joined the executive staff after serving nine years as the sports information director at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse from 1991-2000. Prior to the UW-La Crosse position, Clark was a sports information director assistant at Southern Illinois-Carbondale from 1990-91.
Additional sports information experience includes working as a graduate assistant at St. Cloud State University and as a student assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Other related experience included serving as a venue media chief at the 1990 U.S. Olympic Festival, and as the official scorer for the NCAA III Baseball Championships from 2000-01.
Clark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He received a master of special studies degree in sports administration from St. Cloud State University in 1993.
Tom Shafranski: Assistant Director
Tom Shafranski joined the WIAA staff in 2002.
Beginning in 2021-22, his responsibilities included administration for the sports of football, golf, gymnastics, and swimming and diving. He also oversees the prestigious WIAA Scholar-Athlete program and is the staff liaison with the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.
During his tenure on the staff, he has also handled the administrative duties for the sports of hockey and tennis through 2020-21.
In addition to his contributions at the State association level, he has been active in the national landscape with service on the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee in 2003-04 and 2008-2011. He served as the chair of that committee in 2011, and he also served as a member of the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules from 2005-2009.
In 2009, he has was honored as the 2009 Wisconsin High School Golf Coaches Association Friend of Golf recipient. In 2022, he was the recipient of the Andy Anderson Award presented by WADA.
Prior to joining the WIAA, he served as athletic director at Stevens Point Area High School for one year. Prior to his appointment at SPASH, he held an associate principal position at Wausau East High School for one year.
From 1996-2000, Shafranski was the activities director for grades 6-12 in the Rhinelander School District after serving as the associate principal and activities director for just the senior high school from 1993-96. Other high school administrative experience included a one-year stint as principal at Hortonville High School from 1992-93. He taught business education classes at West Bend East from 1982-87 when he was named the district's AODA coordinator in 1987. He was chosen assistant principal in 1989, a position he held from 1989-1992.
In addition to his school responsibilities, Shafranski had been active in state and conference affiliated activities. He was an American Sport Coaches Education Program and a Program for Athletic Coaches Education instructor. He served on the WIAA Scholar-Athlete Selection Committee from 1998-2000 and was a mentor for new athletic directors for the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association. He also has served as the chairman of the Wisconsin Valley Conference Sportsmanship Committee.
Shafranski received a bachelors degree in business education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1983. He earned a masters degree in education from National Louis University in Evanston, Ill., in 1986. In 1991, he received an Administrative Leadership Certificate in School Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Kate Peterson Abiad: Assistant Director
Kate Peterson Abiad joined the WIAA staff as assistant director on April 1, 2018.
Her responsibilities include the administration and coordination of duties for the sports of basketball, boys and girls tennis, and boys and girls lacrosse. She also oversees Officials Services such as licensing, Officials' Advisory Committee, and recruiting & retention efforts. Kate is the WIAA contact for coaches' education and conduct.
Prior to the 2022-23 seasons, Peterson Abiad administered the sports of cross county, soccer, track & field and volleyball.
She possesses a wealth of basketball experience with 27 years as a collegiate coach. She comes to the WIAA from Cleveland State University, where she served as the head women’s basketball coach for 15 seasons from 2003-04 through 2017-18. She gradually built the program, leading the Vikings to Horizon League Conference Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007-08 and 2009-10. She is the school’s all-time winningest coach with 206 victories.
She has significant ties with basketball in Wisconsin. Prior to being named the head coach at Cleveland State, she served six seasons as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin from 1997-2003. During that time, Peterson Abiad helped guide the Badgers to three NCAA Tournaments–including 1998, 2001 and 2002–as well as a WNIT championship in 2000 and a runner-up finish in 1999. She served as the Badgers’ chief recruiter. Her efforts helped the Badgers receive commitments resulting in two top-10 freshman classes. Other coaching experience includes assistant stints at Eastern Illinois University from 1993-97 and at Indiana University from 1991-93, where she earned her master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology in 1995.
Peterson Abiad had a stellar collegiate basketball career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point prior to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1991. She received Kodak All-America honorable mention recognition her senior season with the Pointers in 1990-91. Peterson Abiad was a four-year starter and was named the team’s MVP in 1990-91. She earned All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors in 1991 and honorable mention in 1990. She set an NCAA Division III national record for three-point field goals made per game at 3.85 during the 1990-91 season and was inducted into the UW-Stevens Point Hall of Fame in 2000.
Peterson Abiad is a native of River Falls, Wis., where she participated in basketball and softball throughout her prep career at River Falls High School.
Kassie Mortimer: Assistant Director
Kassie Mortimer was promoted to assistant director in December of 2020 after joining the WIAA staff in August of 2013 to fill the position of ticket coordinator/business operations assistant in the executive office.
Her responsibilities in business operations include compiling information and adjusting final yearly audits, assembling and reporting fund statements and financial statements for staff and the Board of Control, calculating and reconciling bank statements, investments and reimbursements to member schools, completing association tax reports and returns, human resources, and processing payroll and bills.
As ticketing coordinator, she prepares State Tournament tickets and executes delivery of tickets and online fulfillment to venues, State-qualifying schools, and patrons. Mortimer is also responsible for maintaining and updating ticketing software and hardware, as well as supervising and assisting ticket sales at State Tournament venues.
Mortimer manages the responsibilities as ticket coordinator/business operation, human resources as well as school enrollments.
She is a 2013 graduate of Viterbo University with a degree in business administration and sport management & leadership. She received a Master’s Degree in sport administration/management from Concordia University in 2016. She was a member of the Viterbo University women’s volleyball team was named NAIA Scholar Athlete and received MCC Academic All-Conference recognition. Mortimer is a native of La Crosse, Wis., where she participated in volleyball, basketball and softball throughout her high school career at Aquinas High School.
LeVar Ridgeway: Assistant Director
LeVar Ridgeway assumed the role of assistant director on July 12, 2021.
His responsibilities include the administration, coordination of duties and tournament planning for the sports of hockey, soccer and softball, as well as the administrative duties of middle-level regulations. He is also engaged in a leadership role at the national level, serving on the NFHS Middle Level Committee in 2022-23.
Ridgeway served as the athletics and activities director in the Shorewood School District since 2013. In that position, he coordinated and managed the athletic programs and activities for grades 7-12 and was responsible for all events, facilities, game contracts and official assignments in compliance with district and WIAA regulations.
During his eight years at Shorewood, he led a $1.5 million project to upgrade the district’s outdoor complex. He was also responsible for revamping the district’s athletic code to promote WIAA guidelines and optimize performance and participation while enhancing the communication process for students and the school community.
Prior to his position at Shorewood, Ridgeway served 12 years in the athletic department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in three different positions. In 2001, he worked as the marketing and promotions coordinator for a 13-sport Division 1 intercollegiate program. From 2002-2009, he performed the duties of the director of tickets and events, as well as managing large events and operations for more than 420 home athletic events at the Klotsche Center, U.S. Cellular Arena, Engelmann Stadium and Hank Aaron Field. His final role was as assistant athletic director for marketing and operations from 2009-13, implementing marketing programs, directing all in-game marketing and promotion responsibilities for six sports, and producing marketing and public relation campaigns.
In addition to his work experience, Ridgeway has been involved in a number of professional associations, including the Wisconsin Athletics Directors Association, National Association of Collegiate Directors, UW-Milwaukee Pantherfest, UW-Milwaukee Marketing Committee and the UW-Milwaukee Hall of Fame Committee.
Ridgeway is a native of Milwaukee. He earned a master’s degree in Leadership Studies with an emphasis in sports from Marquette University and a bachelor of science degree in Public Policy and Administration from UW-Whitewater.
Melissa Gehring: Assistant Director
Melissa Gehring began her role as assistant director at the organization’s headquarters on Aug. 1, 2022.
Gehring’s responsibilities include the administration, coordination of duties and tournament planning for the sports of gymnastics, track & field and volleyball as well as the administrative duties of conference alignment and conference commissioner liaison, the Sports Advisory Committee and nominations for NFHS award programs.
Gehring served in the Beaver Dam School District from 2002-22. Most recently, she held the positions of associated principal and athletics/activities director since 2013. In those roles, she coordinated and managed the high school athletic programs and activities. Gehring was responsible for all events, facilities, extra-curricular safety, security, transportation and branding. In addition, she had oversight of the Physical Education, Health and Music Departments. She was also responsible for development of a department mission statement, creating higher academic eligibility standards and accountability, and development of a Unified Sports program.
She served as varsity volleyball coach, assistant softball coach, and Unified Sports basketball coach from 2002-12 while teaching history, sociology, general psychology, advanced placement psychology and serving as the social studies department chair in 2013, when she added the role of interim dean of students for one year.
Gehring held a number of roles at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire after she played on the Blugolds’ women’s volleyball team from 1999-2001 and on the women’s basketball team in 1998-99. She worked as an office assistant in planning and preparations for events, volleyball camp counselor, student assistant women’s basketball coach, freshmen orientation adviser and intramural official.
In addition to her work experiences, Gehring has held leadership committee positions at the statewide and national levels, serving on the WIAA Sports Advisory Committee, the WIAA Conference Realignment Task Force, the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association District 6 representative and coordinator for the State Leadership Training Institute program. Her athletic administration involvement at the national level includes serving as the Wisconsin representative on the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Professional Development Academy as well as a member of the 2021 U Executive Leadership Cohort program.
Gehring earned a Bachelor of Science degree in history and political science education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2002. She received master’s degree in Teaching and Learning from Carroll University in 2008, and obtained an Educational Leadership Certification from Concordia University-Mequon in 2014.
Haley Barth: Administrative Assistant (Kate Peterson Abiad)
Bobby Blom: Information Technology Assistant (Mark Gutknecht)
Kristin Britz: Administration Coordinator (Stephanie Hauser)
Lisa Gagas: Print Production Coordinator
Mark Gutknecht: Technology Coordinator
Hydie Laidlaw: Administrative Assistant (Mel Dow)
Deb Lepak: Administrative Assistant (Tom Shafranski)
Megan Loken: Graphic Designer & Social Media Specialist
Molly O'Brien: Administrative Assistant (LeVar Ridgeway)
Candace Ostertag: Administrative Assistant (Melissa Gehring)
Sheila Schulfer: Administrative Assistant (Kassie Mortimer)
Sandy Zastrow: Printer
Who to Contact at the WIAA Office