After a brilliant 35-year career, Sandy Freres, legendary Prairie School Athletic Director, has announced her intention to retire following the 2016-17 school year.
“Sandy’s passion for our students is beyond compare,” said Dr. Nat Coffman, Head of School. “Her presence on campus is a constant. She has started initiatives and events and traditions. She supports our kids in every conceivable way, and we have been extraordinarily fortunate to have her on the faculty for 35 years.”
Freres began her career in 1973 at St. Joseph Academy in Green Bay. There, she taught biology, physical education and founded and coached the girls’ varsity basketball and volleyball programs. Following her time at St. Joe’s, she spent three years in the Physical Education Department at the University School of Milwaukee coaching field hockey, girls’ basketball and track and field before coming to Prairie in 1981.
At Prairie, Freres has taught Physical Education and Health, served as Physical Education Department Chair, and coached Field Hockey and Basketball. A revered leader in the local, state and national high school athletic community, Freres’s storied career has included everything from coaching a shot put state champion to earning the highest award bestowed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHA).
In recent years, she co-chaired the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) statewide committee on competitive equity. In 2016, Prairie’s athletic department won the Lighthouse Trophy for the top athletic program in Racine County. Under Freres’s leadership, Prairie teams have won more than a dozen State Championships.
While her individual accomplishments are too numerous to list, recent accolades include WIAA Athletic Director of the Year (2008), Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association (WADA) District AD of the Year (2008), and a National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) State Citation Award (2016). Her 2014 NFSHA Citation Award is the top national award in the field — given annually to only eight athletic directors in the country — and cemented her reputation as a national expert in education-based athletics.
Freres’s dedication to the local community does not end with Prairie. She is an active volunteer for the Racine County Hall of Fame Governance Committee, the Junior Masters, the Racine Lighthouse Run, and the Racine Threat.
Prairie will immediately begin a national search to fill the role of Athletic Director.