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Newport Central Catholic turns to alum, coaching legend Ron Dawn to serve as principal

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Posted at 7:00 AM, Aug 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-07 07:14:43-04

NEWPORT, Ky. -- High school principals wear a variety of hats on any given day. Lucky for longtime educator and coach Ron Dawn, he’s already worn quite a few of them at Newport Central Catholic High School

Dawn, a 1974 alumnus, is the new principal at the small, Catholic school. He took on the new role this summer after working at his alma mater for more than three decades as a teacher, head coach, athletic director, assistant principal and most recently, as its dean of students.

The first month in his new position has been quiet, Dawn admits. That will change on Wednesday when Newport Central Catholic students head back to the classroom.

“I’m always excited to welcome them back,” Dawn said of the students. “We have a unique school and a great group of kids. It’s a very close-knit school community, and we’re like a family here.”

Dawn is an integral part of that family, according to school business manager Jeff Schulkens. He has worked with Dawn for about 20 years and said he sees him as a “perfect fit” for the principal position.

“He’s a leader,” said Schulkens, who coaches both golf and baseball at the school. “When you look at all the successful principals we have in the Diocese of Covington, many were great coaches. I think it helps build that special skill set.”

Dawn was a standout basketball player at Newport Central Catholic during his time there as a student. He started coaching at the school in 1980 and served as head coach of both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams at different times during his long career. 

He’s the only coach in the state to win an All “A” State Championship in both boys and girls basketball, according to a recent school announcement. He is also the only 9th Region coach to win a regional title for both boys and girls teams, it states. 

Dawn hung up his whistle last spring and retired with 495 career victories. He took over as principal just a couple of months later on July 1.

Basketball has been an important part of Dawn’s life: His time as a coach helped prepare him for leadership positions at the school, he said. And his love of basketball and desire to be a coach is what led him to teaching. 
He found out early in his career that the two go hand-and-hand, he said.

“To be a good coach, you have to be a good teacher,” he said. “Both are very rewarding. When you see a kid make strides and have success, there’s nothing else like it.”

Dawn grew up in Fort Thomas, where he still lives with his wife, Patty. The couple raised a son and a daughter, who followed in her father’s footsteps and works as a teacher. The Dawns have six grandchildren.

Family is important to him -- both at home and at school, Dawn said. In his “welcome back” letter to parents this school year, he promised to continue to work hard to create an environment at the school where kids can grow “spiritually, academically and socially.”

He also introduced eight new faculty and staff members, who will join the 30 returning to the school this year. 
Dawn replaces Jason Huther, who held the principal position for just two years. Huther accepted the principal position at Covington Latin School.

In the Diocese of Covington’s recent announcement of Dawn’s appointment, Superintendent of Schools Michael Clines spoke of Dawn’s long commitment to the Newport Central Catholic community and to Catholic education. 

During his long career, Dawn has “proven to be more than capable and dedicated,” Clines wrote. “I am confident Mr. Dawn’s leadership will provide continuity and advancement to the entire learning community.”