John Thiel leads the athletics department, supporting the needs of the boys and girls programs in both the Upper and Middle Schools. His emphasis is on long-range planning with a focus on facilities and fields, fundraising to support the athletics program, and strategies to attract and support top coaches. Thiel is responsible for hiring non-faculty coaches and all athletics department personnel. He also participates with other school administrators in the process of hiring full-time teacher/coaches.

Prior to coming to Penn Charter in 2012, Thiel worked for 23 years as an athletics director. From 2007 to 2012, he served as athletics director at Woodberry Forest School, an independent boarding high school in Central Virginia. At Woodberry, his work emphasized building shared vision and values for the athletics program among students, parents, faculty and staff; he also helped develop and renovate gym facilities, an Olympic track and two synthetic fields.

Prior to Woodberry, Thiel was the director of athletics and head football coach at Breck School in Golden Valley, Minn. During his 18-year tenure at Breck, he was instrumental in restructuring the coaching staff for each athletic offering;  he led a program that regularly competed and won championships at the state level. While at Breck, he was named Conference Coach of the Year eight times, Section Coach of the Year five times, and State Class AA Coach of the Year twice.

Thiel has a BA in history from Williams College and a master's in educational administration. He also worked at Macalester College and Pomona College as an athletics administrator and coach at the college level.