For only the seventh time in the 96-year history of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA), a new executive director has taken office.
Jennifer Rukstad was named the Association’s seventh Executive Director earlier this year, taking up her role at the end of June following the retirement of Kerwin Urhahn from the same position.
A Missouri native, Rukstad hails from Frankford in Pike County. She and her family briefly lived in West Plains before moving to Colombia when she was 10 years old.
Rukstad served as assistant superintendent of human resources for Columbia Public Schools. In 24 years with CPS, Rukstad spent most of that time at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia.
She taught math and coached the Bruins before taking on the role of athletic director and principal. In 2019, she became assistant superintendent of Columbia Secondary Schools.
Rukstad was a member of the MSHSAA Board of Directors and a member of the MSHSAA Appeals Committee. During her tenure as athletic director, she served on the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA) Board of Directors.
Outside of school, Rukstad has served on the ACT Services Board of Directors, the NCAA Student Records Review Committee, and the Columbia Athletic Commission.
Rukstad holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri as well as an Education Specialist in Mathematics Curriculum Leadership, a Masters in Educational Administration, and a Bachelor of Education. mathematics secondary.
“Missouri has established itself as one of the best associations in the nation,” said Kevin Smith, chairman of the MSHSAA board of directors. “We believe Dr. Rukstad will continue to build on this success as he leads the Association into a bright future.
“As an educator, having the opportunity to work with all the wonderful people from our member schools who have dedicated their lives to serving children is a huge honor,” Rukstad said. “I am grateful and excited to lead and support all who make athletics and activities a great experience for students across Missouri State.”
Rukstad and her husband, Jeff, have a son, Trevor, 21, and a daughter, Hayden, 6. They reside in Colombia.