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Employee Spotlight: Sibling Educators Make a Difference at Willow Charter Academy

NHA Communications Team  |  December 18, 2020
Siblings often spend a lot of time together growing up, but it’s not common that they grow up to work in the same school, doing the same job, and coaching the same basketball team.

Meet Kristopher and Kandus Knox – achievement and behavior support specialists Willow Charter Academy. They grew up in a close-knit family, a mentality they’ve kept as colleagues.

Kristopher Knox smiling.
Kandus Knox smiling.

Mr. Knox is in his third year with the school, and Ms. Knox has been at Willow for just over a year. Even though the duo have only been at the school together for a year, they’ve made an impact that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Mr. and Ms. Knox have been instrumental in creating a positive culture among staff and students at Willow,” said Jennifer Gordon, principal at Willow. “They are both self-motivated leaders that are proactive in implementing positive incentives and interventions for all scholars but especially our most challenging students. The Knox’s have also created great relationships with families that are essential for maintaining a true school community.”

In their role, they are able to come up with solutions to help students be successful. They try to find different programs to support their goals, and if they work, they keep it going. One program that’s been working well is their Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) store where students can purchase items using earned PBIS points.

“We began our store last year and it has proven to be an asset to assist with problem behaviors,” said Mr. Knox. “We are in charge of purchasing items for the store, tracking teachers and staff to make sure everyone is awarding points to their students, setting prices for items, and making deliveries of purchased items.”

Last year, the store was open every other Friday and students could come and shop. They could also go to a nacho or ice cream party or watch a movie in the gym with their points. However, the pandemic has changed up the routine, and now students have online access to shop and can get their rewards delivered.

Anker Play game.

The store teaches students to save their points for larger items, but it includes a variety of different point prices for every budget. Some of the items include Gatorade, nail polish, key chains, gel pens, but can range to ice cream, puzzles, remote control T-Rex toys, and headphones.

Remote control dinosaur toy.

“It really works to our advantage by taking student input on things they would like to see in the store,” said Mr. Knox. “We gather those items and set the points accordingly. The kids work hard to earn points to purchase their desired items.”

The PBIS store is something they work on together, like many of their day-to-day tasks. Ms. Knox believes that Mr. Knox’s best quality at work is his dependability and his trustworthiness. But as close as they are, they have very different styles of handling behavior.
Headphones in a box.

Mr. Knox believes that he asks the tougher questions and holds students accountable for their actions, and then Ms. Knox comes in to help them work through what they could have done differently to get a different result.

“As they get older, I’ve noticed that the students begin to respect us each for our role,” said Mr. Knox. “There are a few scholars who were in the office for behavior many times last year that are now teaching our newer students that nothing gets away from the Knox’s.”

Keep up the great work, Mr. and Ms. Knox!​​​​​​​

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