“Don’t stop fighting. Not for me, but for these kids.” That is a quote from Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles. His words made quite an impression on me.
You see, at the time he said them, a deeply divided school board had, without offering any real reason, voted not to renew his contract. Their action caused hundreds of students, parents, and teachers to launch a “Keep Kelly” fight.
Mr. Sprinkles’ words to supporters back then spotlighted the real reason any truly good educator enters the field. It’s not for personal status or accolades, but to serve a cause far greater than self – the training and education of our children – our future.
On Tuesday night this week, both Mr. Sprinkles and those protesting for him won a big battle. A change in board members swung the school board 3-2 in his direction. Now he will lead Knox County schools for four more years.
But, I hope his victory is only one in the long, challenging fight Mr. Sprinkles so rightly encouraged. We have to keep fighting, because “These kids” still face huge challenges. Our eastern Kentucky economy is struggling. KCEOC states that 34.7% of Knox County families are living below the poverty level.
Our number one issue derailing young lives is still illegal drug abuse. It is so pervasive Operation UNITE and others are implementing and testing multiple special programs to help kids and parents avoid or overcome that addiction.
Then of course, globalization forces our children into competition with students from around the world for the jobs of tomorrow. But our relative isolation and unique Appalachian culture further challenges our children’s ability to compete.
While our schools’ test scores have improved much during the last 3 years under Mr. Sprinkles’ leadership, I believe he would be the first to say we still have a long way to go.
So, as Superintendent Sprinkles retakes the reigns of the Knox County Schools, his words from back then are as important as ever. I think we all need to do everything we can and keep fighting for “these kids.”
What do you think?