By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
Scott Kempenich has served the community’s education program for the past few years as Superintendent of Newkirk Public Schools (NPS), overseeing childhood education from pre-k to seniors. His time as superintendent has come to an end, and following the close of the 2022-2023 school year, he is stepping down and moving in a new direction in his career.
Kempenich joined the NPS administration staff for the 2020-2021 school year, following the departure of previous superintendent Brady Barnes.
He has enjoyed his tenure at the school.
“I appreciate the three years I was able to serve as superintendent at NPS,” he said. “The school’s in a better place than it was when I took over.”
There were many transitions already underway at the school including with school bond and windfarm funding, and under Kempenich’s leadership, many that weren’t finished finally came to fruition.
Some of those include new HVAC units on school roofs and renovations for classrooms, technology and the transportation system.
Teacher pay has also been something Kempenich and the Board of Education (BOE) have addressed.
“We’ve added $1,000 on the base of pay for every teacher, raised support salaries by $1.65 an hour, increased special education bonuses and increased pay for extracurricular stipend,” he said. “Newkirk’s had the largest carryover in general funds over any three years in our school history.”
Kempenich’s love of NPS has been seen not just with the teachers in the classroom, but also the BOE itself.
“It was very enjoyable. I learned a lot of things, and I think he’ll be a tough person to follow,” said BOE President Russell Cobb. “He communicated with the Board really well, and he was very open.”
Kempenich has made many connections far beyond the school itself, and has spent many volunteer hours within the community, including the Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, Newkirk Main Street and Leadership Newkirk, and was a regular face at Senior Center activities.
“I have enjoyed serving on Newkirk Main Street, Chamber, as a local Lion and developing great relationships with our city and county leadership,” he said. “Over the past three years I’ve developed friendships that I cherish and will continue for many years to come.”
Many applaud Kempenich’s service to Newkirk, including Rhonda Packard, who as director of Newkirk Main Street, has worked with him on the Board of Directors and Promotion Committee.
“His passion to help support our community was one I’d never seen before. I enjoy working with him very much,” she said. “Not everybody has a passion to volunteer, and he did. He felt like it was part of his calling to do that, so I appreciate that very much.”
Cobb also saw him as important to the community.
“I think he’s a man who was involved in the community. One Wednesday nights, he worked with the youth at First Baptist church,” Cobb said. “He was seen at games, and the kids know him at the elementary and high School.”
NPS is currently taking applications for a new superintendent.
Kempenich will greatly remember his time at NPS.
“I can’t emphasize how much I’m blessed to be able to serve tShis great community and school,” he said.