Nancy Turnipseed is the newly elected President of American Association of Adapted Sports Programs (AAASP) Board of Directors, bringing a wealth of experience to this important position. Currently, a 1st-grade teacher at Decatur City Schools, Nancy is paralyzed from the waist down, due to Spina Bifida, and is a former AAASP athlete. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Spina Bifida Association of Georgia and is involved with other organizations advocating for those living with disabilities such as the Junior Committee for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
Having been an AAASP athlete herself, Nancy comes with a great desire to promote and inspire others to participate in athletics. She is thankful for the encouragement of parents when at age 7, after deciding not to play the piano, her parents told her, “There is no reason why you shouldn’t try sports.” At that time, 1986, there were only 2 Adapted Sports teams in the area, and they all practiced in one gym. Since Nancy lived in Decatur, GA, she was ineligible to play with DeKalb Schools Adapted Sports, but her parents jumped through the necessary hoops, and soon she was playing wheelchair soccer. (As a side note, Attorney Bill Turnipseed and the late Sara Turnipseed, both of whom were instrumental decades ago in promoting adapted sports in DeKalb county Georgia, lead some of the initial efforts to seeding the organization as it exists today.) “My parents were really good about not putting limitations on me and encouraged me to do things I couldn’t do,” said Turnipseed. Sports did not stop at soccer… at age 8 she was swimming, age 9, track and field and at age 13 she became certified to scuba dive. “I never considered that I couldn’t scuba dive, I truly believe my dad wanted a dive buddy,” she shares.
Nancy has had over 20 surgeries, but says her disability was never really talked about at home.
After high school, went to University of Arizona to study Communications and Journalism. While there, Nancy dabbled in sports, practicing with the wheelchair tennis team, and wheelchair basketball team. Nancy graduated from U of A in 2002 and began work in Healthcare PR, but felt a strong calling to teach. She went back to school to get her Masters in Education, and went into the classroom – this is her 11th year teaching. “Being in the classroom is the hardest and best job I’ve ever done. It is so rewarding to see the children grow.”
Turnipseed had served as vice president of the AAASP board since 2015, until her recent nomination to Board President.
Even though she has been acting President for the past year, Nancy is still a little nervous to be running the meetings. “Maybe it’s just the parliamentary portion that is,” but she says, “the rest of the board thinks I can do this, and I’m eager to step up to the challenge!”
“I know how important it is to be raised with high expectations, and I know today there are a lot of people who don’t know how to help their kids with disabilities,” said Turnipseed. “As AAASP Board President, my goal is to be an advocate of the organization and give back to an organization that gave me so much as I was growing up. I will always be thankful!”
And now, she works at being that advocate for others.
For more info on Nancy, please visit: https://adaptedsports.org/nancy-turnipseed/