Knight initially filed paperwork to run against Washington County Commission Chairman Greg Matherly in the 6th District, but has since had a change of mind, opting to enter the August general election for the school board’s 3rd District seat.
“Switching from County Commission to school board was difficult, especially because I had already put a little money into running for County Commission,” Knight, the full-time pastor at Rock Heritage Baptist Church, said.
“But after meeting with some of our local leaders, and some phone calls trying to get people’s advice on needs in the area, I feel like there truly is a need on the school board where I can make a difference.”
A Daniel Boone alumni whose wife graduated from David Crockett, Knight is a major proponent for building a new Jonesborough school, rather than renovating sections of the old circular facility.
“If one side of the county is going to get something, especially if it’s going to be brand new, we'd like to see the other kids on the other side of the county get it, too. To me, that’s a common sense kind of thing,” said Knight, who earned his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University and also studied theology at the VBC Bible Institute in Roan Mountain.
Knight even said he believed the county should “delay some things, if need be,” to make sure a new Jonesborough school could be financed properly.
Children safety and anti-bullying programs are other topics Knight plans on promoting during his campaign. He also plans to visit each county school and meet with every principal.
Knight also emphasized cooperation between the school board and the director of schools, and specifically said he supported current Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton.
“I support her. She deserves to work out the vision she was hired to do,” Knight said.
Prioritizing “children first,” Knight said he was disappointed with the school board’s decision in May to reinstate Gray Elementary School teacher Jennifer Collins, who faced allegations of inappropriately touching students and insubordination.
“I think that was a mistake that she was reinstated. Based on what the school board decided the first time, the director of school’s opinion (and) the investigation after the teacher appealed, all of that proves she should lose her position,” Knight said.
“I want to be a person on the school board who is going to stand up for the kids. Not stand up for a tenured teacher just because she’s that.”
While some might portray his age in a negative light, Knight said will capitalize on his youthfulness to captivate voters.
“I'm hoping I can bring a fresh and energetic look,” Knight said. “I’m prepared. I know this is going to take some time and effort, but I'll be able to get out there and work it with the advertising (and) campaigning.”
Married with one child, Knight previously worked as a lab technician at Eastman for over three years before achieving his goal of ministering full time.
A total of six county school board seats, three in the First District and three in the Third District, are up for election in 2018.
Candidates can pick up nominating petitions beginning Jan. 5.