Q&A: Rhonda Blanford-Green talks becoming CHSAA commissioner, plans for the future

Rhonda Blanford-Green is ready for the challenges in front of her. But don’t expect, as she says, a “change agent.”

On March 15, CHSAA’s Board of Directors hired Blanford-Green to be the Association’s next commissioner. She will succeed Paul Angelico, a mentor and close friend, to become the ninth CHSAA commissioner.

Blanford-Green worked at CHSAA for 16 years, including time as the associate commissioner, before taking the job as the executive director of the Nebraska School Activities Association in 2012. Currently, Blanford-Green is the assistant executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, and has been since 2015.

Those experiences in Nebraska and Louisiana, she said, “assisted me in becoming better. Colorado is getting a better version of me than the one that they may have appointed to the position.”

Blanford-Green will be introduced to the CHSAA membership next week at the Legislative Council meeting, and also attend the Board of Directors meeting prior to that.

After finishing out her time at LHSAA, she will assume her new role at CHSAA on July 1.

We caught up with Blanford-Green this week to get her thoughts on her new job, her history, the challenges CHSAA is facing, and much more.

Q: You’re a member of four Halls of Fame. And a big part of that is your athletic success. So how does your athletic life kind of shape who you are now?

Blanford-Green: 85 percent of the women in Fortune 500 companies competed in athletics and/or activities either in high school or college. I believe that athletics and participation shaped who I am. I still remember activities from student council that taught character building and collaboration — I was in student council, no one ever talks about my student council history (laughs) — I’m not the initiator of this idea, just the result. Anyone can Google the “benefits of participating in interscholastic activities” and know that no other high school experience is as impactful for a student’s life-long tool box.

The Halls of Fame inductions are a recognition of the totality of my athletic success. But the building of my character, integrity, perseverance, team concept, and ability to lead, comes directly from my participation.

Anyone who is part of our programs, or part of athletics and activity programs and has great mentors, coaches, music and/or speech directors leaves better than they came. You don’t have to be a champion, you don’t have to be an 11-time All-American to walk away with a sense of accomplishment, just by being involved, you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

Q: That kind of ties into what Joe (Ehrmann) and Jody (Redman) have been building around the country (with the InSideOut Initiative).

Blanford-Green: Colorado was one of the only states in the nation to be selected to incorporate this platform in their educational outreaches. This program aligns with the CHSAA mission and vision. Ms. Redman is a colleague and friend and she speaks highly about Paul and the CHSAA administrators that have embraced and become intentional about changing the culture of why we do, what we do.

We are high school activities — 92 percent of our student-participants don’t participate after high school. We get four years to make an impact that will last a lifetime, and that’s a huge responsibility. I am looking forward to being involved when they return to Colorado in August to begin the second phase of their national platform.