Kevin Kleiner will be leaving New Life Academy as athletic director after this spring season as he accepted an assistant activities director position with New Prague Area Schools for the 2019-20 school year.

Kleiner has been the athletic director at New Life for the last three years and even though it was a tough decision, he knew it was the right decision for him and his family.

"That's an area I'm familiar with," Kleiner said. "It's closer to where my wife and I grew up ... New Prague is a growing community and growing school district. The chance to move from athletic director here to being assistant activities director was kind of the progression I was looking forward to and broadening out more than just athletics to activities."

Kleiner is excited to be in this new role at New Prague because it will give him the opportunity to continue growing as an activities director. As an assistant activities director, he said his responsibilities will include helping the overall activities director Brad Skogerboe.

Along with those duties, Kleiner will be seen as the middle school activities director and will help to continue growing relationships between the youth programs and high school athletics. Since the youth programs are feeder systems for the varsity teams, Kleiner thinks it's important to bring those aspects of the community together.

He believes the ability to be in a school that has kindergarten through 12th grade like New Life Academy has allowed him to understand how the younger students interact with the high school students. He also has been working on a program at Hamline University titled Administrative Licensure: K-12 Principal and he's hoping to continue growing from that program as an educator.

"One of my strengths is being a learner," Kleiner said.

Kleiner wanted to thank the New Life faculty and staff as well as the community of students and families for their support throughout his three years as an Eagle. He's proud of all the accomplishments that have happened throughout his time at New Life.

Some of those accomplishments are internal like providing the resources to help coaches and student athletes reach their highest potential. Also internal aspects like providing programs to continue educating coaches in their respective sports.

There were also external accomplishments that many community members saw throughout his tenure at New Life. The building of co-ops for alpine skiing and boys and girls hockey as well as restructuring the football co-op with more teams and players.

Obviously, the biggest external that fans and community members see is the accomplishments of the varsity teams throughout Kleiner's three years at New Life. Those include conference titles, section titles and state titles for numerous teams like baseball, basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, soccer and many other activities within the New Life Academy department.

Most importantly, Kleiner hopes his biggest accomplishment is how he led the athletics department at New Life and he hopes it continues to carry into the next athletic director.

"It always comes back to what your purpose is," Kleiner said. "We always talk about the difference between our purpose and goals. Your goal, especially for a varsity team, may be to win the game or win a championship, but our purpose is much bigger than that.

"Simply put, it's teaching students about life and helping them prepare for life ... using those teachable moments for life skills, that's our purpose."

Kleiner will finish out the spring season as the New Life Academy athletic director and then start the transition paperwork. On July 1, he will officially become the assistant activities director at New Prague Area Schools.