Augie Fontanetta first athletic director to join IHSA board of directors

Fontanetta excited to bring perspective of his region to the IHSA


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Fontanetta’s experience and charisma helped him to become the first athletic director elected to the IHSA Board of Directors

Athletic Director Augie Fontanetta has been elected to the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors, a position that’s typically reserved for school principals, becoming the first athletic administrator to do so.

Board seats were only eligible to be filled by high school principals until this year’s election, as the IHSA membership voted to amend that by-law last January. Athletic directors can now be elected to the board if they serve as their school’s IHSA official representative.

Fontanetta is ready to bring his knowledge and experience as an athletic director to the governing body for the state’s public schools’ sports and activities programs.

The IHSA Board of Directors’ page states that “the Board of Directors approves IHSA policies, interprets the rules, and employs an Executive Director and staff to administer the programs of the IHSA.”   

This responsibility comes with hefty demands of time and effort. Fontanetta admits that it will be a challenge, and it’s one that he is up for. 

“It’ll definitely require more commitment,” said Fontanetta. But he makes it clear that “being involved outside of school is something that New Trier values.”

Fontanetta said that since the school  is accommodating with teacher’s out-of-school commitments, he will be able to strike a balance between his school and IHSA duties. This leniency will prove helpful as the work piles up. Fontanetta has to learn about this new position, so every spare second will be valuable. 

“The most important thing is to learn first,” Fontanetta said. “But at the same time, I need to focus on representing my division and region. My focus is to bring some perspective from my region.”

Assistant Athletic Director Jim Burnside, described Fontanetta as  “a really personable guy. He really is someone who allows me to voice my opinions and run with them.”

Burnside said that these traits will be important tools in fulfilling the duties with which  Fontanetta has been tasked.

“He’s representing all the people he knows and trusts and who trust him in all the different conferences around the state,” Burnside said. 

Fontanetta started his career at New Trier as a KW Teacher and Coach in 1994. After a five-year stint as Director of Athletics and Activities for District 21, he returned to New Trier in 2013, becoming the Athletic Director three years later. He reinforced that his time here has given him an important understanding of community, which may just be what carried him this far. 

“[Working at New Trier] teaches you a lot about how to be a leader and making sure everyone has a voice,” said Fontanetta.