Tarboro councilman battles health threat
By Amelia Harper
Friday, April 15, 2016
Tarboro Mayor Pro-Tem Taro Knight is facing more than one challenge in his life now since he was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Knight was diagnosed with the condition about two weeks ago, he told the Telegram on Thursday in a telephone interview. This was shortly after taking over leadership duties of the town council when former Mayor Rick Page resigned in March.
“It was devastating news, “Knight said, “but I immediately went into treatment and am feeling much better already.”
Knight is undergoing chemotherapy in Greenville and remains upbeat about his condition.
“I am very optimistic about this,” Knight said. “I believe God’s healing power and in the instructions He gives to doctors.”
However, this situation is affecting the dual roles he plays in the town of Tarboro: that of mayor pro tem and as middle and high school principal at North East Carolina Preparatory School.
Miles Brite, executive director of the charter school, said Knight likely will be out for the rest of the academic year since his immune system is compromised by the treatments he is undergoing. Assistant Principal Bob Lannaccui is stepping into Knight’s role at the school during this time, Brite said.
All this is happening while Brite is preparing to step down as director of the charter school. However, Knight said his temporary absence from the school should not affect the search for a new school leader.
“I have full confidence in the Board of Directors,” Knight said. “They have this under control. I can’t worry about the rest of this year. I need to focus on my future school career.”
Knight said he hopes to return to town council meetings even sooner.
“The last meeting was the first one I have missed in years,” Knight said. “I hope to be back at the next meeting. We will have to see how this month goes.”
In the meantime, Tarboro town council members plan to take turns running meetings until a decision is made as to a replacement for mayor. The town could survive until the 2017 municipal election without someone in that position, according to town officials.
Knight stresses that he feels his current hiatus from public life is temporary.
“I have to put these things on hold so I can get myself together,” Knight said. “It is important that I get my health back.”
Tarboro Councilwoman Deborah Jordan said the council wishes Knight a full recovery.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Taro and his family during all this," Jordan said.