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Athlete Concentrating



Jackson Special Recognition.jpg

Karen Jackson is a graduate of Lansing Harry Hill High School. The co-valedictorian of her graduating class, Karen took a position as secretary for then-MHSAA executive director Allen W. Bush right out of high school, beginning a run of 45 years at the MHSAA office, where she served under four MHSAA executive directors. Bush retired a year after Jackson began; she then assisted Vern Norris for his eight years as executive director. Jackson served with John E. “Jack” Roberts through his 32 years as executive director from 1986-2018 and then, for the past four years, under current director Mark Uyl before retiring in October 2022.

Roberts writes, “Karen served me with phenomenal speed and accuracy, as well as ironclad trust and confidentiality. She could type faster than I could think and she could locate everything I thought I had lost. She constantly uncovered efficiencies to lighten my load, streamline our systems and speed up our delivery of both mundane meeting minutes and monumental decisions. We marched into the digital age together, although she was usually several steps ahead of me, running interference. Karen shared with me the desire to preserve the history of things and I dare say she has better recall than almost any person alive of the critical moments in Michigan’s school sports history. In that respect, she is a treasure.”


Though her title changed over the years, from secretary to the executive director to executive assistant to senior executive assistant, many of Karen’s most important duties at the end of her tenure resembled those she was hired to carry out nearly a half-century ago. These include reporting the minutes for Representative Council meetings, reporting the minutes for Executive Committee meetings, overseeing the MHSAA election ballots, serving as lead organizer of cooperative programs, helping with state tournament tickets and providing assistants to school personnel, officials, coaches and all others who contacted the MHSAA office. It is estimated that Karen prepared more than 150 Representative Council and 500 Executive Committee minutes during her time at the MHSAA. Though the MHSAA’s administrative processes changed over time due to technology, from everything done on paper and through the mail to just about everything conducted digitally over the internet, Karen remained a constant figure at the MHSAA office.


As Uyl writes, “Karen was so valuable to our team here in the office given her tremendous work ethic, friendly demeanor and knowledge of so much of our history and operations. When eligibility issues or questions come up about the process, Karen always has the answer. It is hard to put into words just how valuable she was to the staff and membership of the MHSAA. Karen has been such a big part of our history.”


2004 Jack Roberts & the MHSAA
2005 Dr. Gary Doss
2006 Deb & Larry Kelley, CMAA
2007 Dr. Carol Hulett
2008 Sharla Stokes
2009 Dwayne (Tiger) Teusink
2010 John & Bob Lober
2011 Nathaniel (Nate) Hampton
2012 Randy Allen
2013 Dr. Joseph Kozlowski
2014 Conference Committee Spouses
2015 Wes Leonard Heart Team/Jocelyn Leonard
2016 Tom Rashid, CAA
2017 Kathy Vruggink Westdorp
2018 Russ Waldo
2019 Larry Wegener, CAA

2020 Bob Artymovich

2021 Bill Mick

2022 Dr. Gretchen Mohney

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