Sussex Central grad Polk named new DIAA executive director
History has been made on several fronts for the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) as the Board of Directors and Secretary of Education Susan Bunting recently announced the selection of Donna Polk as the organization’s new executive director. Polk becomes the ninth executive director since the organization’s creation in 1945.
But there’s more significance behind the appointment. Polk is the organization’s first female director, as well as its first African American director.
“I look forward to contributing to the association’s continued success focusing on the student-athlete experience, being a resource to member schools, and being a community partnership,” Polk said in the DIAA’s official press release.
Polk is a Delaware native, and a graduate of nearby Sussex Central High School in the Indian River School District. She was a three-sport standout athlete for the Golden Knights playing field hockey, basketball and softball.
Following her graduation from Central, Polk become a student-athlete at Columbia Union College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology, as well as a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.
She was a standout student-athlete while at Columbia Union, where she became a 1,000-point scorer as a member of the school’s women’s basketball team. She also played softball during her time on the Takoma Park, Md., campus. The school changed its name to Washington Adventist University back in 2009.
Polk has served at the DIAA’s coordinator of interscholastic athletics since November 2018. She will lead all strategic planning for the DIAA, while working with its Board of Directors, member schools and DIAA staff to support the advancement of student-athletes while managing 20 DIAA championships.
Prior to joining DIAA, Polk worked for a short time at Indian River High School, where she served as a student advisor and head girls’ varsity basketball coach. She brings 14 years of experience at the collegiate level, having worked as an associate athletic director/senior woman administrator at Bowie State University and compliance coordinator/sports information director/office manager at the then-Columbia Union College.
She has experience in administration, game day management, facilities and operations, compliance and governance, human resources, internal operations and sport supervision.
Polk gained a wealth of knowledge and experience during her time at Bowie State University, having served on several campus committees. At the conference level, she served on basketball, softball, women’s volleyball and bowling sport committees. She also was president of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Senior Woman Administrators and served nationally on the NCAA softball ranking committee. She was also on the women’s basketball national and regional ranking committees.
During her time at Bowie State University, she served as head women’s basketball coach for three seasons, compiling a 55-29 record. With Polk as head coach, her team reached the conference championship twice and was ranked regionally during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. She also has experience as head and assistant women’s basketball coach at Columbia Union College and head varsity and junior-varsity girls’ basketball coach and assistant junior-varsity softball coach at Bowie High School.
Polk began her new role with the DIAA on Feb. 2, just in time for the start of the winter sports championship season.
By Jason Feather