ASAA names a new executive director

William Strickland to replace Gary Matthews who retires in July

ANCHORAGE, AK — According to a press release from the Alaska School Activities Association on Friday, William “Billy” Strickland, who has served as the ASAA Board of Directors President for the past three years, has been chosen by the ASAA Board of Directors as the organization’s next executive director.


Strickland was selected to succeed Gary Matthews, who retires on July 3, 2014, after serving as ASAA executive director for the past 21 years. Strickland will be the ninth director in the 57-year history of ASAA.

“We are pleased to announce Billy Strickland as the new Executive Director of ASAA,” said Mike Boyd, Athletic Director at Colony High School and ASAA Board of Directors Vice President. “The board is excited with its choice of Billy Strickland to replace Gary Matthews as Executive Director of ASAA. The board feels that Billy is a great fit for the uniqueness and diversity of the member schools in Alaska. He understands the special needs of the rural member schools as well as the member schools on the road system. He is aware of the needs of ASAA as an organization. Although we are going to miss Gary Matthews and all that he has done for high school activities in the state, we feel that Billy will continue his legacy and will bring forth new ideas and hard work to keep ASAA moving in a positive direction.”

Strickland has been involved in high school activities since 1989 when he began his educational career in Kipnuk, Alaska, as a high school teacher, boys and girls basketball coach, student council advisor, Native Youth Olympics coach, and student activity bookkeeper. In 1990 he moved to Bethel, Alaska, to teach Business Education and Social Studies, coached boys basketball for 11 years and Native Youth Olympic for three years. He took the position of Dean of Students at Bethel High School in 2001 and currently holds that position.

As Dean of Students, he has been responsible for the development and regulation of the activities budget, coordinator of all student activity events, and the hiring and evaluating coaches. He has experience in reaching out to sponsors in order to supplement the activities budget at the high school. Beyond his athletic and activity responsibilities, he also ensures school safety and the prevention of campus violence; works with students facing attendance and/or disciplinary problems and addresses these issues with the parents to create a positive outcome. He has provided professional development to support teaching staff in the establishment of classroom management programs.

In an interview with Strickland, he explained, “As an educator, I’ve always stressed the importance of giving back to your community and school for all the wonderful things they have done for you. ASAA has positively impacted my life... first as a student, then as a teacher/coach, as a school administrator and additionally as a parent. Becoming Executive Director will give me the opportunity to give back to this organization. I feel my values are perfectly aligned with ASAA because ASAA along with my parents, past coaches and others helped shape those values. I’ve truly enjoyed working for the Lower Kuskokwim School District and Bethel Regional High School for these 25 years and look forward to now serving students, schools and communities throughout this great State.”

Strickland has played a key role on the ASAA Board of Directors since 2009 as the Region 1 Chairperson and representative on the ASAA Board of Directors; and from 2011 to the present time, he has served as President of the Board of Directors. Gary Matthews, ASAA Executive Director, has appreciated Strickland’s leadership as President of the Board of Directors.

“Billy Strickland’s outstanding professional experience, perspective, demonstrated leadership and demeanor are critical attributes that he will bring to the position of Executive Director of ASAA. Under his leadership, ASAA will be well positioned for the Future,” Matthews said.

A graduate of Bethel Regional High School, Strickland earned his bachelor’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and his Teaching Certification from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Strickland brings a vast knowledge and understanding of the statewide influence of ASAA with him as he steps into the position of the new ASAA Executive Director in July 2014.


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