By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Brady Barnes has served the Newkirk Public School (NPS) system for the past few years as superintendent, with him and his family taking an active part of the community and school as students and educators. That tenure has come to an end, however, as he has resigned the position to take a job at another school system in southwest of Oklahoma City to be closer to family.
Barnes’s last day at NPS was June 30. Barnes has accepted to position of Superintendent at Blanchard Public Schools in an effort for his family, including wife, Cara, and kids Cassidy and Callen, to be closer to extended family members. Barnes’ son Cameron graduated NHS, Class of 2019.
“It was a family-driven decision. Cara’s’ parents retired there a few years ago, and it gave our children the opportunity to spend more time with their grandparents,” he said. “This is not personal. I love Newkirk. The kids have always been supportive and the community has been supportive of the building program. We have nothing but fond memories of Newkirk.,”
Barnes’ role at NPS began in 2016, but his education career began much earlier.
Raised in Hennessey, Okla., he graduated with the class of 1995, and received a B.S. degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma.
“It was a love of children that led him to became and educator and coach,” he said. “I wanted to coach, I wanted the reward of teaching kids, and watching them grow up as an individual. My competitive nature is what brought me into coaching.”
His first role as an educator was at Casady School, a private k-12 school in Oklahoma City, from 2000-2004. There, he taught math and served as a physical education coach. He also coached junior high basketball and football, as well as high school baseball.
It was at Casady School that he went back for a Masters in school administration at UCO, a degree he needed to be a principal or superintendent.
“After teaching and coaching for a while, the opportunity presented itself to me, so I got my Masters,” He said.
He served one year at Dover Public Schools, just south of Hennessey, where he taught math and social studies, while also coaching boys basketball.
He soon found himself back home in Hennessey, putting his school administration degree to work as principal while also coaching baseball. Coming home to his alma mater was a wonderful experience, he said, as he got to work with many of the same people he knew his whole life.
“A lot of the teachers I had there as principal, they were my actual teachers I had when I was growing up there,” he said. “That was a great opportunity for me, and it worked out well.”
It would be NPS, however, when Barnes had the opportunity to become superintendent. The Newkirk Board of Education had posted a wanted ad for the position on a job board, and accepted Barnes for the position.
“The Board of Education gave me the opportunity, and that is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Barnes began his role in the fall of 2016, where he served primarily in an administration role, instead of teaching, although he also was an assistant high school baseball coach, as well.
Serving as NPS superintendent has been a positive experience for him, he said, as he got to see the support of not only the school board, but also teachers, students and other community members.
One thing he is proud of is seeing the expansion of the school, which involved a new basketball gym, which opened in February, as well as the Early Childhood Center, new band instruments, a new track, new lights at the fields and a new middle school roof. However, Barnes stresses that it is actually the community that made those projects happen.
“I think what the bond committee came up with is good for the kids, and the bond committee has good interests for the school,” he said.
Barnes also took part in the community outside the school system. For one, he was a graduate of Leadership Newkirk, class of 2018.
”That is a great organization. It’s nice to learn about the things you don’t know about in Newkirk,” he said.
He also served as a Newkirk Main Street amphitheater committee, which seeks to build a community-wide amphitheater next to the Kay County Courthouse.
At BPS, Barnes will serve primarily as superintendent, although he does look forward to possibly coaching again.
“Coaching may come again. That is a passion of mine, to coach, but being a superintendent is a full time job,” he said. “It’s fun being around the kids, it’s rewarding.”
As for NPS itself, he loved the school, and knows the district will continue to move in a positive direction, he said.
“I think the people in town have a good plan in mind for the school, and they are going to add to the tax base and give the opportunity to add to the school district,” he said.
Barnes would like to thank the school board for their support while superintendent.
“They gave me the opportunity to lead the school and it has been a reward to serve the school district,” he said. I think we all have the end goal, of doing what’s right for the kids.”