The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) was organized by independent schools throughout the state of North Carolina who desired the opportunity to compete for state championships in various sports. Initially, the NCISAA was designed to oversee state play-offs and not to serve as a governing body for regular season play.

In July of 1973 representatives from twenty-six North Carolina schools met with Calvin C. Criner at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh. Mr. Criner was, at that time, coordinator of non-public schools from the North Carolina Department of Public Education. James E. Williams, head of Wayne Country Day School, served as the organization’s chairman. The following school year, state tournaments were conducted in boys and girls basketball, tennis, and golf. Membership gradually spread throughout the state, and an executive committee evolved and subsequently developed the association’s first handbook.

In 1978 David A. Thompson, Director of Athletics at Charlotte Latin School, was elected President and served until 1985. During his tenure the Handbook was refined and regulations increased as membership continued to grow. In 1981 Wachovia Bank and Trust Company became the association’s first corporate sponsor and agreed to present a Wachovia Cup for NCISAA athletic program overall excellence. In 1984 the first two division play-off was held in boys and girls basketball.

In 1985 Charles N. Carter was elected President, a Board of Directors was formed, and Kathy Bailey was hired as the first paid employee. Member schools accepted a system of state-wide realignment requiring all schools to affiliate with recognized NCISAA conferences as a condition of membership. In 1987, after two years of deliberation, the Board of Directors, with the assistance of attorney Durwood Laughinghouse, developed a constitution and bylaws which were accepted by the membership, and the NCISAA was incorporated by the state of North Carolina.

In 1991 South Carolina and Virginia schools were added to the growing organization. In 1993 Otho Tucker of the O’Neal School served as President for one year after which Charles Carter was once again elected President.

In 1995 the NCISAA restructured and approved a new constitution authorizing the head of every NCISAA school to be a member of the NCISAA Board of Directors.  Elected from this board was an Executive Committee with one representative from each conference.  In 2005, the Executive Committee was reconstituted as the Board of Directors and authorized to act on the behalf of the NCISAA membership.  Officers of the Board of Directors are the President, Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer.  At the present time, Matthew Gossage (Cannon School) serves as President, Todd Anderson (Wayne Country Day School) serves as Vice-President, and Ray Quesnel(Fayetteville Academy) serves as Treasurer.  Under this structure, the working committee (originally the Board of Directors) is known as the Board of Managers and remains under the leadership of Charles N. Carter.  Regular season governance continued to expand.

In 1998,the organization voted to expand to three classifications with thirty nine state tournaments planned in that year. These events are now supported in part by donations from the following corporate sponsorship partners: Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia), Time Warner Cable, Marketing Special Promotions, Excalibur Awards, Sink Photographic Designs, Excalibur Awards, Wilson Sporting Goods, Adidas and Nike.

By 2001 the organization’s needs had grown to a level requiring an official Executive Director. While Chuck Carter had performed these services on a volunteer basis for many years, his position was officially recognized and he was formally hired by the Executive Committee as the NCISAA’s first Executive Director. Kathy Bailey, formerly Secretary-Treasurer, was named Business Manager and Executive Assistant. In 2003 Chappell Carter joined the NCISAA as Web Site Manager; in 2006 he was appointed Director of Communication.

The year 2004 saw the implementation of a strategic planning process and the ratification of new bylaws with budgetary changes designed to ensure NCISAA leadership for the future. Additionally, the Executive Director took steps to form the North Carolina Federation of Athletic Associations providing an opportunity for the NCISAA, North Carolina High School Athletic Association, and the North Carolina Christian Schools to discuss common issues and opportunities. The NCISAA presently oversees regular season activities as well as 53 state tournaments.

In 2010 the NCISAA enjoyed record growth in corporate sponsorship and implemented a Hall of Fame to honor adult contributions in leadership and service to the organization.  The inaugural class included James E. Williams, founding father; David Thompson, first President of the NCISAA; and Charles N. Carter, President for many years and the first official Executive Director.  Recognition was also given to Isaac B. (Ike) Southerland (Arendell Parrott Academy) for whom the 8 Man Football Championship was named and Benny Alexander (Rocky Mount Academy) for whom the 1A Boys and Girls Basketball Championships were named. Mike Williams received the inaugural NCISAA Service Award for his contributions to the NCISAA.

In 2011 the 10th edition of the bylaws was ratified, and Chappell Carter was named Associate Director.

The winter of 2013 saw the second Hall of Fame event where Jimmy Broadway, long standing Director of Athletics at Charlotte Latin School and Board of Managers representative, and John Hardison, notable Head at Hobgood Academy and long standing Vice President of the Board of Directors were inducted. Kathy Bailey was presented a service award for her participation in the growth of the organization.

In the winter of 2015, Doug Cobbs of Ridgecroft School was recognized for his 25 years of service on the Board of Managers. The Doug Cobbs Service Award was named; the first presentation was made to Steve Dahl of O’Neal School for his dedicated service and longstanding presence on the Board of Managers.

Chuck Carter, after 42 years of leadership in the NCISAA, retired on May 31, 2015. Homar Ramirez, Jr. was chosen as his successor and officially became the Executive Director on June 1, 2015.

In February 2016, four individuals were inducted into the NCISAA Hall of Fame: Benny Alexander,long-standing DIrector of Athletics at Rocky Mount Academy, 1A Basketball Site Director for many years, and long-standing member of the Board of Managers;  Kathleen Bailey, who worked closely with Chuck Carter during the formative years of the organization, was a charter officer, and has continued to serve as Business Manager;  Doug Cobbs long-standing Director of Athletics at Ridgecroft School and renowned as the “voice of 1A schools’ during his many years of service on the Board of Managers; and Benjamin Crabtree, former Head of Fayetteville Academy and President of the Board of Directors who worked hard to set in place the present structure of the NCISAA.

In 2017, the leadership paradigm was changed to reflect regional rather than conference representation.  The Board of Directors was reorganized as the Board of Trustees, all at-large members, and the Board of Managers became the Board of Advisors, regional as well as at-large members.  The 11th edition of the bylaws were ratified by the membership to support the organizational changes.

2017 also heralded the addition of Susan Steadman and Kim Ramirez to the Management Team and Kathy Bailey’s retirement after 35 years of service.  Also, the NCISAA home office moved to a new home at  the Charlotte Motor Speedway in July.