Ridgeland High School (RHS) will have a new principal and athletic director for the 2019-2020 academic year is building in Ridgeland.
Keith Fennell started earlier this week as principal and David White is joining the Titans as athletic director and football coach.
Tim Dowdy retired from the principal’s post at the end of January. Since then, Assistant Principal Cody Zumbro has served as interim principal.
Ryan Earnest also resigned as football coach and athletic director in January. He coached the Titans for three years, starting with a 2-10 season, with two 5-6 seasons after.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Madison County and the Ridgeland community as principal of Ridgeland High School,” said Fennell, who previously was an assistant principal at Northwest Rankin High School.
Fennell has more than 20 years of experience in education and is a former recipient of the Administrator of the Year award from the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association.
He was principal at Starkville High 2009-2014 before joining Jackson State University's Athletic Department as director of student academic services.
White has already started building the 2019 football team at RHS and getting to know students, parents, and others in the community.
White is focusing on developing athletes into leaders on and off the playing field and on sports championships. “I wouldn’t be here,” he said, “if I wanted us to be in second place. We have a tremendous amount of talent, and we can win here.”
He believes that preparation is the key to success. "I emphasize the complete student-athlete, where you must balance academics with athletics. I tell my players that their leadership doesn’t disappear once they take their uniforms off, but carries over into the classroom, the community, and the rest of their life.”
A native of Oklahoma, White coached three conference championship victories at Bishop Gorman, a Nevada power house, and has served as director of player development at the Army All-American Bowl. He has served the past two seasons as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Nevada.
Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee said the high school is key to the city’s growth and success. Ridgeland High, Ann Smith Elementary, Highland Elementary and Olde Towne Middle make up the Ridgeland attendance zone of the Madison County School District.
“Ridgeland High School is very important to us,” McGee said, “and our students have had so much success. Our choirs have won many awards, and our robotics team has won national and international honors. Our baseball team just won the district. The City of Ridgeland stands behind you.”