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Knott enjoying new role at NES

By By LYDIA GRIMES Features Reporter
By LYDIA GRIMES
Features writer
John Knott is a familiar sight around W.S. Elementary School, but this year he is sitting in a new chair. He is serving his first year as principal at the school where he has taught for several years.
Teaching was not his first occupation. In fact he had many before he came to the school as a special needs teacher. But he seems to have found his niche. He absolutely loves what he is doing. The only problem seems to be that he doesn't have as much one-on-one time with students as he did when he was teaching classes.
Knott was born in Memphis, Tenn., while his father was in the military. The family moved to the small community of Munson, Fla., while he was still small and he grew up doing all the things that "country boys" do. He was raised on a farm with horses and cows and plenty of work was needed to keep it running. He, along with the rest of the family were kept busy with their everyday chores.
His father died when he was a little boy and he and his brothers and sisters were reared by their mother, who was blind.
He attended school in Munson and graduated from Munson High School in 1973 in spite of the fact the school burned down during his senior year. While he was in school he said that he was "not big on books" but enjoyed sports.
After graduation from high school, Knott came to Brewton to attend Jefferson Davis Junior College. He intended to pursue a career in business administration, but after two years his college career came to an end, at least for the time being.
In 1974 he married his wife, Margaret, who is also a teacher at W.S. Neal Elementary School. He began to think that he should put his schooling on hold while he got a job to support his new family. He tried a little bit of everything over the next few years.
He then came back to Brewton and did various jobs until he opened his own mobile home business, Brewton Mobile Homes Center, which he ran for several years.
He had considered several career directions including medical or teaching. Perhaps the one thing that directed him to teaching was his love for the children and his experience working with Special Olympics.
He got his bachelor's degree in special education and is certified in K-12.
About that time he got a call from Leon Hartley who was then the principal at W.S. Neal Elementary School. There was a teacher who had left on maternity leave and there was a temporary opening if he wanted it. He worked for a half year and when the teacher decided not to return, he got the job.
If you had asked him several years ago if he intended to go into administration, he would probably said that he was not interested, but time changed that for him.
Knott and his wife enjoy traveling when they have free time. He also has several hobbies of interest, but the one that he enjoys most is his love of photography.