Starting a new position in the middle of a pandemic brings with it some unique challenges. For Kendra Faustin, who started as athletic director at Comstock Park High School in June, it’s especially challenging to meet athletes — especially those who are distance learners this year.
Faustin replaces Tony Petkus, who now serves as full-time assistant high school principal.
“We are excited to have her on board,” Petkus said. “She brings a lot of unique experiences from the college level, where she’s been very successful.
“She’s really strong with team building. She has a great knowledge of educational athletics, and most importantly she has a passion for kids. She wants kids to succeed in life.”
And it’s a good bet she’s up to the challenges, having met them head-on before. Faustin is one of only four female high school athletic directors out of 40 in the O-K Conference.
She comes to the district after five years as women’s basketball coach at Ferris State University, where she led the team to its first NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance and the school’s first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in eight years.
“We reached a level of achievement that had not been done before,” Faustin said about her 21-8 team. “I coached for 20 years. It was really hard to walk away from a championship team.”
Admittedly, the Comstock Park post offers her a better work-life balance. As a wife and mother of two young children, she said she appreciates being home at night in Rockford. As a Ferris coach she worked late nights, ran summer camps and made recruiting trips, all of which kept her away from family.
Faustin said she likes feeling a part of the Comstock Park community, and being in a place where high school athletics matter. She describes high school sports as an “experience you can’t get anywhere else.”
She calls coaches the “lifeline” of all Comstock Park’s sports programs. As athletic director, she has a “wider breadth of influence on athletes and coaches,” she said. Previous administrators and colleagues served as mentors to her, and she said it’s in her nature to help and support people.
A native of Hartland in Southeast Michigan, Faustin likes to say that she grew up in a gym, diamond or football field. She is the daughter of two high school coaches, and her mother started the golf program at Novi High School in Michigan. She and her younger brother were three-sport athletes while in school, she said.
At Comstock Park, approximately 300 of the high school’s 540 students take part in sports. The district offers boys soccer, junior varsity and varsity girls volleyball, boys tennis, football, boys and girls basketball, wrestling, competitive cheer and bowling.
“I think we are excelling at male participation but there’s work to do with female participation,” Faustin said.
More on Kendra Faustin:
Other previous coaching jobs:
- Head women’s basketball coach, Niagara University, New York
- Assistant women’s basketball coach, Canisius College, New York
- Assistant women’s basketball coach, Hillsdale College, Michigan
- Assistant women’s basketball coach, Gannon University, Pennsylvania
Education/Degrees: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Lake Superior State University; master’s degree in sports management, Canisius College, New York
Coaching/Administration philosophy: Faustin wants to support individuals to be their best. She will work to create an environment that is safe for staff and students to be themselves. “Live the values of integrity, accountability and service to others,” she said.
Hobbies/Interests: Playing the piano and guitar
As a high school student she was: “social, high energy and tough”
If you could go back to school, ”I would go to grade 12, because I had a lot of fun: school, sports and family.”
If you walked into school to theme music: “The clean version of “Psycho” by Post Malone, “Simple Song” by Chris Stapleton or “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. I have an eclectic taste in music.