Meet our Coaches: Excellence in Action

Eagle Character starts with our Coaches. Each are experienced and successful in their sport, but more importantly, are excellent role models for our students on and off the field, understanding how to manage team dynamics while bringing out the best person and player from each team member.

Varsity level coaches work closely with families and Oakwood Athletic Directors to tap the possibility for play at the college level.

Kris Arnold

Varsity Girls and Boys Golf; Varsity Girls Basketball; JV Boys Soccer

Day Job:

Middle School Math Teacher The Oakwood School; Executive Director of Horizons at The Oakwood School

Playing Experience:

  • High School Varsity Golf 2002-2005
  • Number 3 Member and State Qualifier as a Junior and Senior
  • East Carolina Club Golf Team (Vice President) 2006-2009
  • Top 2 Qualifier
  • Played in 30+ competitions throughout college career
  • Won the Campbell Invitational in 2007
  • Top 3 Medalist in 7 other events
  • Carolina Golf Association Competitor
  • Compete yearly in 5-10 events throughout North Carolina
  • Current Golfing Member and Board Member at Ironwood Golf and Country Club
  • Commission a group of 24+ weekend golfers
  • Play each weekend

Coaching Experience:

  • Assistant to the Pro at Endwell Greens Golf Club 2004-2007
  • East Carolina Club Golf Vice President and Individual Instructor 2005-2009
  • Oakwood Golf Team 2016 & 2017
  • Christian Youth Organization Basketball Coach
  • Oakwood JV Boys Basketball Coach 2016-2017
  • Oakwood JV Boys Soccer Coach – 2015-current
  • CPR/First Aid/AED Certified

Ashley Blackmer

Varsity Girls and Boys Cross Country

Day Job:

4th/5th Grade Science Teacher, Lower Middle School Division Coordinator

Playing Experience:

  • 2000-2004 High School Varsity Swimming (Distance Freestyle, Backstroke, Freestyle Relay), 2004 Co-captain
  • 2007 Directed 5K Race Fundraiser for Florida Wildlife Hospital
  • 2008 Won 1st place in Age Division in Running Zone 2007-2008 Race Series

Coaching Experience

  • 2017- The Oakwood School Cross Country
  • 2011- AMR 5/6 year old Cheerleading squad
  • 2006-2008 - Stretch-N-Grow of Brevard County (Elementary School Cheer and All-Sports Coach)

Jason Boyd

Middle School Boys Basketball

Parent of Katie Lou Boyd, who started Kindergarten at Oakwood this fall in Mrs. Atkinson's class; Executive Director and co-owner with wife of Creative Arts Kids, Inc. an arts-based after-school and summer camp; double majored with BA in English and BA in Philosophy from East Carolina University


  • MVP Middle School Junior Varsity
  • 2A High School Varsity and holds a record or Northside High School
  • Coached Jeff Lebo's Basketball Camp at ECU
  • Coached Mike Gottfried's Basketball Camp at NCSU
  • Middle School Head Coach at Winterville Charter
  • Created summer-long Sports Camps
  • CPR/First Aid/AED Certified

Darren Dawson

Varsity Girls Soccer

Day Job:

Lawyer at Dawson & Albritton, P.A. in Greenville, NC

Playing Experience:

  • Campbell University (1985-1988)
  • Big South All-Conference & All-Tournament Honors
  • Campbell University Team of the Decade Honors (1980s)
  • Various clubs in Florida during youth
  • AAU National Champions, Brevard Rangers, Florida (1984)

Coaching Experience:

  • PGSA Club (1999-2014)
  • Presidents Cup State Champion, Region III Champion, and 3rd Nationally in 2009
  • NC State Cup Finalist in 2012 and semi-finalist in 2011
  • DH Conley High School Boys Soccer (1994-1998)
  • Coastal Conference Coach of the Year in 1997
  • The Oakwood School (2016-current)


  • USSF Certified Referee (1997-2014)
  • NCHSAA Certified Referee (1999-2014)
  • NCAA Certified Referee (2000-2008)
  • NCHSAA Regional Supervisor of Officials (1999-2014)
  • CPR/First Aid/AED Certified

Amy Gardner

Varsity Softball; Middle School Volleyball

Day Job:

AD/Teacher/Coach at The Oakwood School

Playing Experience:

  • Barton College softball (1994-1997)
  • All Conference 4 years
  • All south Softball 1997 as utility player (catcher/1st/3rd)
  • Farmville Central softball, volleyball, and track and field
  • All Conference Volleyball
  • All Conference Softball
  • All Conference/Individual State Champion Track and Field

Coaching Experience:

  • 1997-Current Softball Pitching instructor
  • Rockets Softball travel team Coach
  • Pitt Co. Girls Softball League All Star World Series Coach
  • Oakwood Volleyball Coach
  • 3 Conference Championships
  • 3 Conference Tournament Championships
  • 1 NCISAA Runner-Up
  • Oakwood Softball Coach
  • 5 Conference Championships
  • 2 NCISAA State Championships
  • CPR/First Aid/AED Certified

Kendall Ham

Varsity Boys Basketball

Day Job:

Basketball coach and individual player development specialist

Playing Experience:

  • 07-08 Most Outstanding Player – High School 1A basketball state championship
  • Two years of junior college at Pitt community college

Coaching Experience:

  • 2 years head boys basketball coach at the Oakwood School
  • Assistant Coach for girls in Mexico and Australia: the Mexican club won the championship of their league, Team Logan of Australia fell short in the semi finals


  • Trained all levels of players, from recreation basketball players to NBA players.
  • Holds a basketball camp for kids every summer age 6-13 for 2 weeks

Taylor Niemotka

Middle School Girls Basketball

ECU Student; Sports Camp Counselor at YMCA New Bern

Basketball High School Varsity 2011-2014
Soccer High School Varsity 2012
Softball High School Varsity 2013-2015
Softball Pitt Community College 2015-2017
Region Champion (SUCO)
JUCO World Series Appearance
CPR/AED Certified

Axel Smith

Varsity Boys Baseball

Day Job:

Senior Property Manager at Cooke and Associates

Playing Experience:

  • Greenville Little League, Prep League, Babe Ruth, American Legion
  • JH Rose
  • NC Wesleyan
  • Semi-Professional

Coaching Experience:

  • 19 Years Coaching
  • Greenville Little League
  • AAU Greenville Hurricanes
  • South Central High School
  • Dirtbags Showcase
  • The Oakwood School (2012-current)
  • NCAA Div III National Title at NC Wesleyan
  • 2 AAU State Titles
  • 1 AAU National Title
  • Oakwood 2015 State Runner Up
  • Oakwood 2016 State Champions