By Everett Brazil, III
THE Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Newkirk Public Schools (NPS) will start the 2021 – 2022 school year with three new principals, two of whom are new to NPS, and each not only has a passion for children, but are also ready to move their schools forward.
Cathy Bible replaces Kevin Engle as Newkirk High School (NHS) principal, as Engle will begin the school year as superintendent of Prague Public Schools. Wendy Terrazas will serve as the Newkirk Middle School principal, following the resignation of Jeff Wilson. Brandie Choate has served as Newkirk Elementary School (NES) assistant principal for two years, and is being promoted to principal following Pam Hunter’s retirement.
All three principals begin their new roles July 1.
Bible grew up in Inola, Okla., east of Tulsa and her love of children led her to want to be an educator.
“I love students, and enjoy making a difference in children’s lives,” she said. “I was inspired by my high school science teachers; they made such a difference in my life, and I wanted to pay it forward and give back.”
She received a B.S. in science education from Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, and a Master’s in administration from Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Okla.
Science is also a reason she studied to be an educator.
“I love science – it’s about life. It’s very engaging and dynamic,” she said.
Her first educational position was at her alma mater where she taught biology, AP biology, and anatomy and physiology. She would later serve as assistant principal in Coweta, Okla., then at West Middle School, in Ponca City for two years.
Stepping outside the classroom and into an administrative role was somewhat hard at first, but it was ultimately a good move. It is a role she actually has always wanted to do.
“I’ve always wanted to be a principal, so this will be the right spot at the right time,” she said. “The very first day (as assistant principal) was difficult, but I love the opportunity to make differences in both students’ and teachers’ lives.”
Terrazas is a Ponca City native, and is very familiar with the Newkirk community. She has only lived away from Ponca City a few years when her husband was transferred to Iowa.
She knew she wanted to be an educator since she was a child herself.
“I have wanted to be an educator since I was in elementary,” she said. “I like teaching people how to do things, and because of self-sufficiency in learning, they’re learning on their own.”
Her education began at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa where she earned an associates degree in business administration, then a B.S. in elementary education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva. She received her Masters in administration at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford.
Like Bible, she began teaching at home, starting at Garfield Elementary School in Ponca City where she taught fourth grade for five years .
In a few years, she had an opportunity to educate adults at Pioneer Technology Center (PTC). In a way, she would still be teaching children, by training their parents. She would go on to serve in that position for the next 20 years.
“When I helped one adult, I was helping multiple children, because when adults come in, they usually have children,” she said. “I got to work with adults and their families.”
As the adult education director at PTC, she would serve a variety of tasks, including helping adults get their high school diploma, or the equivalency, as well as getting their U.S. citizenship, and English as a second language, or ESL, programs.
As much as she enjoyed the role, she always knew she wanted to return to youth education, and found that opportunity in Newkirk. Her role as adult services director has, in a way, made her a better fit for the job, she said.
“I’ve been working with adults for most years now, and I’m looking forward to working in an environment with younger students,” she said. “It’s given me a lot of background knowledge and resources that I think will be able to help a lot of families.”
Engle is confident that Bible will perform well as NHS principal.
“I’ve known (Bible) for about seven years. She has a passion for kids, and she’s an excellent educator,” Engle said. “I’m very happy she accepted the position, and I have no reservations about her success.”
As for the new principals, they are simply happy to start a new chapter in their educational careers, and are happy to be doing it in Newkirk.
“I’m excited to be working with middle school kids. I have people that I consider family that live in Newkirk,” Terrazas said.
Bible added, “I’m excited to be in Newkirk. I’ve heard great things about the community, and I’m looking forward to working with our students, teachers and parents.”