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Meet the Athletics Department

Director of Athletics and Athletic Planning

 John Thiel

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.

Associate Directors of Athletics

Colleen Magarity brings to her work as associate director of athletics her energy, passion for sports, experience as a high school, collegiate and professional player, and her commitment to helping students tap their leadership potential. Colleen will continue as head coach of Upper School girls varsity lacrosse, and she will develop a leadership program for student athletes. Among her other administrative duties is assigning all game officials for both Middle and Upper School contests. 

Magarity graduated from Northwestern University in 2011, her women's lacrosse team the Division 1 National Champions. She was the 2011 team captain, All-American, and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. Magarity was drafted in 2016 by the Boston Storm, a team in the nation’s first professional women’s lacrosse league. 

A graduate of Germantown Academy, Magarity was named Philadelphia Inquirer Athlete of the Year in 2007 and was a member of the USA U-19 Team, winning gold at the lacrosse World Cup. 









Ed Foley OPC '81 is responsible for day-to-day athletics operations as well as scheduling for PC teams and external organizations with a need for indoor or field space. He coaches the PC Middle School football team and assists the Upper School basketball program, and is a member of the Admissions committees for both Middle and Upper School.

Foley is a member of the Mathematics and Social Studies departments; he currently teaches courses in Finance and Economics.

Foley was head coach of the Philadelphia Little Quakers youth football team for 32 years and continues to work with the organization administratively. Foley graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he played baseball and earned All Ivy in football while playing on three Ivy League championship teams.

Middle School Athletics Director

Brian Hecker

Brian Hecker joined the Penn Charter faculty in 2014. In addition to his work with PC Athletics, Hecker is the Middle School technology coordinator and teaches sixth grade Social Studies. Prior to Penn Charter, he worked as a teacher and coach at Episcopal Academy and Chestnut Hill Academy.

Hecker is the athletics department's connection to all things Middle School. He has the pulse of the MS building and assists with staffing, dismissals, class scheduling, and updates the department on important events in the lives of our Middle School students. He is also head coach of Upper School girls water polo and boys and girls swimming and diving.

He previously developed and ran Lower School intramural programs at both CHA and EA. Along with developing the intramural programs he has previously coached baseball and lacrosse on the high school and middle school levels.

Strength & Conditioning Coach

Athletics Trainer

John Estok, MS, CSCS,PES

John joined the athletics department in January of 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburg and most recently came to Penn Charter from Villanova University's S&C program. John works closely with our coaches to enhance our athletes performance. John oversees the athletes development in the areas of strength, speed, agility and conditioning. He worked closely with John Thiel on the complete renovation of the Blaine A. Steinberg OPC '11 Center for Fitness and Performance, located in the Graham Center. John also teaches in the Physical Education department.


Jess Rawlings MS, ATC

Jessica graduated from Temple University in 2014 with a bachelor's of science degree in athletic training. As an undergrad Jess worked with Widener, Temple, and The University of Pennsylvania athletics, as well as the Shipley School.  She continued her education at Temple and earned her master's degree 2016. While pursuing her MS, Jess was the graduate assistant athletic trainer for Penn Charter. Jess also teaches Anatomy and Physiology at Temple.

Administrative Assistant to Athletics

Assistant to the Athletics Directors

April Witherspoon

215-844-3460 x 177

Gerry Sasse

215-844-3460 x 189


Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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