Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 4, 2014

Wilkins eager to lead KHS

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — The Knoxville School Board officially approved a contract with Tracy Wilkins Thursday night. Wilkins is set to take over as Principal of Knoxville High School for the coming school year. 

Wilkins was hired to replace the retiring Kevin Crawford. Originally from Grinnell, Wilkins is currently the Assistant Principal at Maquoketa High School. 

After graduating from Grinnell High School, Wilkins went on to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). There, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Teaching. He has since gone back to UNI to earn his Master's in Education Technology. 

His first job in education was as a teacher and track coach in Newton. He spent time in New Sharon before moving on to Maquoketa. He has been with that school district for the past 12 years, six of which he has served as assistant principal and athletics director. Several duties have been assigned to him with Maquoketa, including oversight for the schools' math department (grades 7-12) as it transitions to the Iowa Core. 

Wilkins said he went in to teaching to make a difference. He enjoys having a role in preparing young people for life beyond school and providing them with necessary life skills for success. 

Knoxville will be his first forray into serving as a full-time principal. The role of a principal, in his view is to take a leadership role as the primary administrator in the building. His job will be to work with teachers and provide instructional leadership, while providing guidance and leadership for all students. Other necessary functions of a principal are to maintain discipline and oversee a budget. 

Wilkins' contract with Maquoketa expires June 30. His Knoxville contract begins the next day. 

The school board approved a contract worth $105,000 in salary over 225 days. Also approved was $3,500 in moving expenses, pending Wilkins' move to the Knoxville School District. 

His goal is to have his house sold and bring his family to Knoxville the last week of June. That family includes wife, Dana, with whom he has shared the past 17 years. The couple have three athletic children; a daughter in high school, a son in seventh grade and another daughter in fifth grade. Dana works in the insurance field with a company based out of DeWitt. 

As a Grinnell native, Wilkins views this move as something of a homecoming. He has fond memories of coming to Knoxville to participate in sports. Ken Locke Stadium holds many memories for him, and he compliments the community for its efforts to preserve the stadium and its continued utilization. 

His visits to Knoxville, during the interview process, also made a positive impression. Local residents he has met thus far demonstrated the kind of pride that exists in Knoxville. Wilkins is confident that coming to Knoxville is a great opportunity for himself and his family.