Mark Newton is new executive director of The Riekes Center

by Contributed Content on August 19, 2022

The Riekes Center, a Menlo Park non-profit that offers athletic fitness, creative arts, nature awareness and community service, announced that Mark Newton will lead the organization forward as executive director following the passing of founder Gary Riekes. The Riekes Center currently serves approximately 7,500 participants each year from all over the San Francisco Bay Area and has more than 100,000 alumni, including Olympians, Paralympians, professional athletes and award-winning artists.

“We are thrilled that Mark has joined our team, bringing his leadership experience as a teacher, coach and administrator to building and growing the Riekes Center, said Caroline McNally, Riekes Center board chair. “Mark has been an active member of our community for decades, both as a student and a supporter. He exemplifies the values of the center and deeply understands our mission.”

The Riekes Center was founded in 1973 by Gary Riekes, a former Stanford football player and professional musician. While recovering from injury, Gary began offering fitness training at his home in Woodside. He developed innovative injury-prevention programs, an effective peer mentoring process and a set of core values—sensitivity to others, self-supervision and honest communication—which remain at the heart of the center.

Newton said, “The Riekes Center is more important than ever today. Our methodology and programs help people build connection, community and confidence, creating a positive impact wherever they go. It is an honor for me to serve the participants, staff and community of the Riekes Center.”

Most recently, Newton served as upper school head and principal at Oakwood School in Morgan Hill, Calif. He helped Oakwood staff and students navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting isolation by starting and championing programs focused on social and emotional well-being. Prior to Oakwood, he spent 17 years at Menlo School in Atherton, Calif. serving as a history teacher, head varsity football coach, theatre director and dean.

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