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Washington woman named new executive director of Peoria Park District

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susan knoblauch

A Washington woman with experience directing athletic activities at the state and federal levels has been hired to guide the Peoria Park District.

Susan Knoblauch will begin her duties as district executive director on June 1, the Park Board announced.

Knoblauch will replace long-time executive director Bonnie Noble, whose retirement after 43 years with the Park District, including the last 24 at the top, is effective April 30.

“As we thank Bonnie Noble for her years of dedicated service to the Peoria Park District, we are excited to have Susie Knoblauch coming in as the next director,” said Park Board President Tim Cassidy. “As the Peoria Park District continues to fulfill its mission of providing quality recreational activities and facilities and conserve our natural resources in a fiscally responsible way, we look forward to Susie’s leadership together with the Districts’ excellent management team and employees for the further progress of our Peoria Park District.”

Knoblauch is currently director of activities and sports at the National Federation of State High School Associations. Her duties there include serving state athletic/activity associations by providing program initiatives for students involved in interscholastic programs. Also, she is responsible to align rules committee processes and interpretations, publish playing rules in sports for boys’ and girls’ competition, coordinating national meetings and conferences, serving as an advocate and liaison to national governing bodies and managing budgets for assigned programs.

While at the NFHS include she developed online courses for music directing and adjudication training, streamlined the coordination of national conference workshops and collaborated with national governing bodies to align rules.

Prior to joining Indianapolis-based NFHS, Knoblauch was administrator for several programs for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), including cheerleading, speech, drama, debate, music, tennis and journalism for 10 years. She was also coordinator of spirit activities and was the staff liaison for the state’s activity directors. Among her accomplishments at the IHSA, Knoblauch developed state tournaments in cheer and journalism, implemented online scoring for activity tournaments, administered the state’s online music entry and adjudication process and and implemented an adjudicators’ database to align with officials licensing.

Knoblauch, 50, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Illinois State University and was a teacher and coach for 17 years at Morton High School before joining the IHSA staff. She graduated from Lowpoint-Washburn High School in 1984.

“I am honored and excited about the opportunity to provide leadership as executive director of the Peoria Park District,” Knoblauch said. “I want to thank the Peoria Park District’s Board of Trustees for having the confidence in me to work with such a talented staff. I would also like to thank Bonnie Noble for her years of dedicated leadership to Parks and Recreation and I wish her the best in retirement.

“Although I have some big shoes to fill, I look forward to advancing the mission of the Peoria Park District and to continuing the rich tradition of service. As someone who has benefited from parks and recreation programs, I know that they are essential to every community and it will be my charge to continue to provide quality leadership in these areas.”

Knoblauch is married to Herb Knoblauch, director of athletics at Washington High School.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).