Kirk’s father, Don Watson, didn’t originally go to college out of high school. After starting his family, Kirk’s dad spent years working all day and going to night school, until he earned an electrical engineering degree and became the first Watson to go to college. His father’s dedication and drive made deep impressions on Kirk, demonstrating the importance of higher education and the need to prepare for the future.
Kirk spent his fourth-grade year living in Syracuse, New York, and in the Washington, D.C. area when the Federal Aviation Administration transferred his father for additional education and training. He remembers his parents taking him to see every monument, battleground and museum they could find. Kirk feels like that year greatly contributed to his drive for public service.
Kirk returned to Saginaw Elementary for the fifth grade, and then he moved on to Wayside Middle School. It was at Wayside that his political career “officially” began – he was elected president of the student council in the eighth grade.
At Boswell High School, Kirk was involved in football, track, theater and debate. His freshman year, he began dating Liz McDaniel, whom he’d known since elementary school. They married in 1979.
Kirk was president of his freshman, sophomore and junior classes at Boswell. During his senior year, he was elected student body president and won the state debate tournament.
In 1976, Kirk graduated from high school and started at Baylor University in Waco. By 1981, after only five years, he had earned his bachelor’s degree and graduated first in his class from law school. He served as editor-in-chief of the Baylor Law Review and qualified for the national finals in both moot court and mock trial. In 2010, he was awarded the university’s Pro Texana Medal of Service, which is given to those whose work in the public or non-profit sector has helped further the university’s mission.