COLUMBUS, OHIO — Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Board of Trustees has named Mr. Steve Darnell, a veteran school administrator, state curriculum specialist and chief financial officer, as the organization’s interim executive director.
Darnell will lead the organization while the board conducts a national search for a permanent executive director to succeed Dr. LouAnn Ross, who recently announced she would be leaving BPA to pursue a new professional opportunity.
“Dr. Ross joined BPA in 2018 and has been instrumental in the momentum the organization has experienced, even during the pandemic challenges,” said Dr. Brenda Jacobsen, who chairs the Board of Trustees. “Mr. Darnell’s role in the transition is critical as we navigate the recruitment and selection process for an individual to carry the torch for continued success and opportunities for BPA.”
Darnell has a long history with the organization. His involvement dates to 1975 when he joined the local high school chapter of BPA (then known as the Office Education Association). While in high school he was elected Indiana State President and then National Treasurer. Darnell became a business education teacher at the high school career center in his hometown upon college graduation.
Darnell has also served as a state curriculum specialist and BPA State Advisor in Indiana and Delaware. He was a member of the National BPA Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1990, serving as chair from 1988 to 1990. During these years, the organization changed its name to Business Professionals of America, updated its mission statement and overhauled the competitive events structure. He was chief financial officer for a nonprofit organization in Indiana for seven years before returning to public education as an elementary- and secondary-level building administrator. From 2009 to 2020 Darnell served as superintendent in three public school districts. Since retiring from full-time administration, he has served districts as an interim superintendent and mentored administrators who are new to the role.
Darnell’s involvement with BPA has been recognized with outstanding service awards from the Indiana, Delaware and National BPA organizations and induction into the Indiana and National BPA Halls of Fame. His wife of 37 years, Debbie, is also active in State and National BPA.
“BPA is a dynamic organization that represents the best educational opportunity available to students throughout the world,” said Darnell. “I believed in the mission of BPA as a high school student, and the essential goals of the organization have been the cornerstone of my work in the decades since.”
Darnell says ensuring a successful National Leadership Conference, BPA’s annual gathering of six thousand students and educators that will occur May 4–8 in Dallas, Texas, will be a top priority during the upcoming months.
About Business Professionals of America
Founded in 1966 as the Office Education Association, Business Professionals of America (BPA) is the premier Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) for middle school, high school and college students preparing for careers in business, finance, management information systems and related fields. BPA provides members with opportunities for growth through education, competition, community service and personal development. The organization has more than 35,000 members in 1,600 chapters across 25 states and Puerto Rico and an international presence in China, Haiti and Peru. Learn more at www.bpa.org.