Meet BPA’s Interim Executive Director
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.
Free AICPA Student Webinar: How to Snag a Scholarship
AICPA Legacy Scholarships can help you on your path to CPA with up to $10,000 in funds toward your accounting tuition. Submitting a single application gets you considered for up to five Legacy Scholarships, but do you know how to make your application stand out among the rest? Join ThisWaytoCPA along with the AICPA’s scholarship manager and three former AICPA Legacy Scholars on February 9 at 3:00 p.m. EST to gain helpful insights on writing the perfect essay, capturing references and how a Legacy Scholarship can advance your career. Learn more about free AICPA Student Affiliate Membership.
Ethics Awareness Challenge – $15,000 in prizes!
is an opportunity for teams of two to four Middle Level or Secondary BPA members to produce a video (1–2 minutes in length) about ethics. Videos should reflect the eight ethical principles as defined by the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative, which were covered in BPA’s six-part Leadership Academy on Ethics. The top five teams in each division will earn a share of the $15,000 in cash prizes. Entries are due by February 14, 2022. This competition is presented by MBA Research & Curriculum Center and the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative.
Virtual Business Challenge
offers online competitions in Accounting and Entrepreneurship. Secondary Division BPA members, individually or as a team of up to three members, are eligible to participate in one or both tracks. The top three nationally ranked finishers (teams or individuals) will win the following prizes: $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place and $500 for third place. Registration opens January 18. The competition begins February 1 at 10:00 a.m. EST and concludes February 25 at 5:00 p.m. EST. This competition is presented by Knowledge Matters.
National Leadership Conference Webinars
The countdown to the National Leadership Conference is here! Make sure you and your students are prepared for this year’s big event by joining us for two interactive Zoom webinars. We can’t wait to see you in Dallas, May 4-8.
- National Leadership Conference Advisor Orientation | February 9, 2022 – 8:00 p.m. EST
- Exploring the 2022 National Leadership Conference | February 23, 2022 – 8:00 p.m. EST
BPA Week Themes
Mark your calendar for BPA Week, February 8–14. The Executive Council, National BPA’s student leadership team, is pleased to share the daily themes and encourages students, advisors and chapters to celebrate the week on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget to use #BPAweek on your posts!
February 1 marks the beginning of CTE Month, an annual public awareness campaign to celebrate the importance of career and technical education. CTE, such as the courses in which BPA members are enrolled, prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers. The Association for Career & Technical Education offers ideas and resources for celebrating the month.
Watch the Latest Torch Award Vlog
To raise awareness about Torch Awards and show members how easy it is to fill out activities on the online Torch Portal, Executive Council members are posting vlogs that showcase the nine Torches. The latest video focuses on “Leadership 111 – Serve as a BPA national officer (identify the office)”. Don’t forget the submission deadline for the Ambassador Torch Award (given at the national level) is March 25.
Post-secondary Members Invited to Compete in Innovation Challenge
The 2022 Student Innovation Challenge offers an opportunity for teams of two, three or four members to test their skills in a real-world accounting competition. The competition is open to students enrolled at two and four-year accredited institutions, both nationally and internationally. Registration opens February 1 and closes February 28, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EST. The Challenge will take place March 14-19, with a judging period occurring March 21-25. Winners will be announced in April. Visit the competition website for complete details.