Charlene Shepard's more than 20 years officiating began with her career as an all-state high school player and 1,500-point scorer at Notre Dame Academy in Waterbury. And before that?
“I grew up with four brothers who were into football and go-kart building,” Charlene said. “I asked my dad for a basketball hoop one Christmas and, the next spring, I was in the yard every afternoon shooting.”
Charlene, who graduated from Notre Dame Academy in 1987 with 1,681 points and 1,024 rebounds – she was the first player in program history to score 1,000 points and finished with the school record of 1,681 – is now one of the state's most distinguished referees.
Beginning her officiating career on CBCBO Board 4 in 1995, she has been a member of IAABO Board 6 since 2007 and has been a referee at the ECAC Division III level in New England since 2010. She has served as the IABBO's assistant interpreter, the chair of the new members' class and as the co-director of the board's summer camps.
Prior to the 2015-16 season, “Shep” refereed three Connecticut girls' basketball state championship games, calling the Class LL final in 2012-13, the Class M final in 2013-14 and the Class L championship in 2014-15, all at Mohegan Sun Arena.
She calls basketball her “go-to place.”
Charlene said her No. 1 goal as an official is to open the door for more female officials. She would advise those just starting out in the game to find a mentor, saying she learned many things as a referee that didn't come from a book.
Charlene calls her high school coach, Marie Mastandrea, her greatest influence – “she believed in me and my talents long before I realized how good I was,” she said. Charlene was a two-time Class S all-state pick and an All-City selection at Notre Dame Academy, receiving the Richard L. Genua Sr. Memorial Award as the best girls' basketball player in Waterbury. She was the four-time team MVP and once scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games.
She went on to play basketball at Central Connecticut State University under Hall of Fame coach Brenda Reilly, with Charlene earning her bachelor's degree in psychology in 1992. She earned her Master's in criminal justice and is currently a juvenile probation officer for the State of Connecticut.
Charlene is a resident of New Britain and enjoys working out, cooking and traveling to all Major League Baseball stadiums.