National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Regional Director Cam Sholly announced the selection of Kendell Thompson as superintendent of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio. A 31-year veteran of the NPS, Thompson is currently Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial superintendent. He has served as the acting superintendent at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park since August 2017. He assumes his new role August 5, 2018.
“I have appreciated Kendell’s performance as the acting Superintendent at Dayton Aviation over the past months and what he accomplished previously as the Superintendent of Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial,” said Sholly. “He has done an excellent job of listening and fostering relationships and will be a strong Superintendent and partner to the community.”
“It is an honor to be selected as the superintendent of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, a site that explores the limitless possibilities that can be accomplished by determined people,” Thompson said. “Dayton Aviation tells a story of innovation and resiliency. It celebrates how the Wright Brothers changed history, and also examines the amazing legacy of Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of America’s most revered poets. Like the Wrights and Dunbar, Dayton Aviation marks a truly innovative, partnership approach to a national park, and I am excited to join the efforts of our many partners, staff and the Miami Valley community to help tell these stories.”
For the past eight years, Thompson has served as superintendent of Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. Originally from Oklahoma, Thompson’s career with the National Park Service spans over 42 years when he began volunteering at age 13 at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. He has served in 13 National Park Service areas including Mount Rainier National Park, Denali National Park, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, The USS Arizona Memorial, Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, and Yosemite National Park. He is a second-generation ranger, following in his father’s footsteps.
Thompson earned his Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation with minor degrees in botany and sociology from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and earned a law enforcement commission from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He has served as the editorial advisor for Ranger magazine since 2012, has authored a novel, and published multiple articles.
In his spare time, Thompson enjoys outdoor recreation, home brewing, and cooking. Along with his wife Emily and their three children, he is looking forward to exploring the Five Rivers MetroParks and hiking, biking and kayaking the many miles of Dayton’s trail system.