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Newport Names New Athletics Director

Newport Independent Schools announced a new athletic director.

Mario Kirkendall will serve in the role and also teach physical education at Newport High School.

“This is the first time in my tenure at Newport that we have gone out of district to hire an athletic director,” said Newport Superintendent Kelly Middleton. “It will be interesting to receive an outside perspective on our athletic programs.”

Kirkendall, a native of Cincinnati, has a master’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati as well as a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Prior to being hired at Newport, Kirkendall served as national sales manager at Norris Productions Corporation, where he served as head of educational market expansion.

“It is very exciting to be named Athletic Director of the Newport Independent Schools,” Kirkendall said. “From my initial tour, to meeting the students and community members, to exploring the Newport community, it has all been a great experience already. There is a lot of good that can be done at Newport and I am more than fortunate to be involved.”

Kirkendall began his career as a teacher and program director at Phoenix/Teresa where he was responsible for leading teams of 12 to 18 teachers on multi-dimensional projects. He also implemented a successful state-mandated reading program that increased student-reading levels from 54 percent student success to 87 percent.

Kirkendall then served as a physical education teacher at Princeton City Schools where he also contributed to building leadership at the schools by developing strategies for increasing teacher and parent communication, as well as student engagement. He also was Mariemont High School's boys basketball head coach from 2015 to 2017.

“My philosophy for the athletic program ties back to Newport’s mission statement, Preparing Students for the Future", he said. "There is a lot to be learned through athletics; the sense of pride for your school and your community, ownership, forging friendships, and having an outlet to grow. I want to be able to instill such skills as work ethic, integrity, and leadership that student-athletes are not only able to use now, but throughout their entire lives.”

Kirkendall is joining the school district just weeks after Joe Wynn,  an experienced Northern Kentucky high school football coach, was named head coach of the Newport High School varsity football team.

Wynn, 27, played high school football at Dayton High School and has spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at Holmes and Campbell County high schools under head coach Steve Lickert. Wynn, a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University, will teach in Newport's New Pathways alternative school program.

"I am extremely honored to be the head football coach of the Newport Wildcats and a teacher at Newport High School," said Wynn, who has served as an offensive and special teams coordinator. "I've always dreamed about being a head coach and I'm grateful to Newport High School for giving me this opportunity. Right now I'm just excited to get going."

-Staff report

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