By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Phillip Knight has spent the past five years serving Newkirk Public Schools on the Board of Education, helping make decisions that will positively impact the students and faculty of the facility. He now seeks to keep influencing the school system for another five years, and is seeking community support as he runs for a second five-year term on the Board.
Knight serves on Seat Two of the Board of Education. Also running for the seat is P.J. Butler. The Election will be held April 5, and also on the ballot will be a seat on the Newkirk City Commission, and a proposed 1-cent tax increase for city improvements.
Originally from Oklahoma City, the Knight family moved to the Newkirk community in 2013 for a better education experience for their children, including Senior Laithan and sophomore Ensley. Daughter Khylen graduated Class of 2021.
“We decided it would be best for our children to attend a school in a small town, with smaller class sizes, and to have an opportunity to attend school with their cousins,” Knight said.
Knight was first elected to the School Board in 2017 for a chance to make an impact on the school system.
“My main goal is to maintain a positive environment for all Newkirk students and staff,” he said. “I believe having an impartial, unbiased, level-headed board member benefits the district as a whole.”
During his term as a board member he has seen many positive changes at the school, including construction of the new gym and the Newkirk Elementary School Early Childhood Center, saferooms for the school and public, the launching of the Newkirk After School Academy, upgrades to the football, baseball and softball fields and new fleet vehicles.
Unfortunately, he has also seen negative impacts.
“We have lost some staff and administration due to retirement, promotions or better opportunities that we could not offer,” he said. “However, the current administration has implemented excellent student and teacher recognition programs. They have also done a great job interviewing and recommending excellent teachers to replace the teachers we have lost.”
It is the educator overturn that Knight sees as the biggest issue facing the district.
“The biggest issues are funding and teacher retention, and these two issues are intertwined,” he said. “Every year, legislators introduce new bills that directly or indirectly cut school funding. If the new bills pass and funding is cut, the class sizes will increase, which will result in lower teacher morale. This can lead to difficulty in retaining teachers.”
It is the positives he would like to see moving forward.
“I would like to see a new ag facility and auditorium bond issue for the patrons to have input on and to vote on,” he said. “I would like to see continued improvement to our students’ academic success by offering teachers and staff continuing education that is beneficial and targeted.”
Knight is looking forward to the possibility of a second term on the NPS Board of Education, and hopes the community supports him in continuing to improve the school system he and his family love.
“I have worked very hard the last five years to make decisions based on what’s best for all Newkirk students, not just articular groups. The day of school board meetings, I walk or drive around the Newkirk campus to focus on my belief a school board member must do what is right for all students, all teachers, all support staff and all employees of the district,” he said. “Since I have lived in the Newkirk for a relatively short period of time, I am able to make decisions on what is best for the school district. I would like to ask you and thank you for your vote on Tuesday, April 5.”