By Everett Brazil, lll
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Newkirk High School (NHS) Principal Kevin Engle has left a positive impact on Newkirk Public Schools in many ways, both as a student as well as athletics and administration. He has also seen a lot of positive change at the campus. His time at NHS has come to an end, however, as he and his family are moving to Prague, Okla. where he will begin his first role as a superintendent.
“I have enjoyed my time at Newkirk. It’s always been more than just a job for me,” he said.
Engle has only been a principle for a few years, but his roots run deep in a Newkirk, as he was raised in the community, attending NES since kindergarten and graduating high school in 2004. His teachers at NPS were instrumental in his choice to become a teacher and coach.
“I wanted to have a positive impact on kids the way my teachers did on me,” he said.
He received a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, and a master’s from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, which helped him obtain the administration roles. He acknowledged however that he didn’t initially wish to be an administrator, but a pay raise should a position come open.
Engle has been a social studies teacher for several school districts, including Ft. Gibson, Mounds and Ponca City. He also coached at all districts, including football, baseball, basketball, wrestling and track. Like teaching, he sees coaching as a way to impact young athletes.
“It’s definitely the competition, and seeing kids push themselves beyond what they think they could do,” he said.
His first role as principal began in Deer Creek-Lamont from 2014 – 2017, where he also coached football.
He finally returned to his alma mater for the 2017 – 2018 school year, and while he was a football coach the first school year, he has not coached since that season.
Returning to Newkirk has been a great experience, he said.
“Coming back to a place that gave me so much, and being able to impact the students and town that gave me so much grit, determination, strength, courage, that has been the biggest impact,” he said.
Many positive changes have happened while he was at NHS. For one, The school had the highest score on the School Report Card in Kay County, and they have also increased the Senior graduation rate from 82 percent to more that 96 percent, he said.
Engle does not take credit, however, and extols the teachers and staff for those impacts.
“The staff here at the high school has done an excellent job; they work hard every day,” he said. “They do what’s best for the kids, and they put kids first.”
Engle’s last day at NHS will be June 30, and he will begin his role in Prague July 1.
Engle will be superintendent at Prague Red Devils, located along I-44 between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, a district slightly larger than Newkirk. They have scored well on the School Report Card, and have high state academics, as well as extracurricular activities, from band to athletics, he said.
“High expectations in every area exist,” he said. “My predecessor has put the school at Prague in a great position, and I hope to continue that long tradition of excellence that Prague has.”
Engle’s wife, Leslie, currently librarian at NHS, will teach third grade at Prague Elementary School. Their children, will also be students at PES, including son Kasen, who will be in fourth grade, and daughter London, who will enter kindergarten.
The Engles still have family in Newkirk, including his parents, who live outside of Newkirk, and they will still be visiting home.
“It’s home,” he said. “I’m glad my kids got to experience a little of what I experienced growing up, and I wish Newkirk nothing but the best.”