June 1, 2021

Dear Members of the MCPS Family,

This time 20 years ago, I was wrapping up my first year teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). As that first year at Parkland Middle School came to a close, I felt enormously proud of my students and profoundly grateful to be a part of the MCPS community. I hold those same feelings—of great admiration for our students and deep connection with our school family—close to me today as I have the honor of writing to you as the acting superintendent of MCPS.

childrenEvery day that I have worked in MCPS—as a classroom teacher, staff development teacher, assistant principal, principal and central office administrator—the key ingredient to our school system’s record of success has become clearer: MCPS is a great school system because we have great people.

Our students are brilliant and compassionate; our teachers skilled and caring; our support professionals and central services staff are invaluable and dedicated; and our families invested and encouraging. At our best, a shared trust serves as the basis of ongoing collaboration through which we meet our students’ academic, social and emotional needs. We work together because we know that our students deserve the powerful support that can only come from our collective strength.

I know these qualities embody the spirit of our MCPS community because I have seen and felt them time and again as I’ve grown up in our school system. When I moved to Maryland to teach in MCPS, I formed an immediate family bond with my grade-level team, who taught me everything from structuring lessons to financial planning. The way they embraced me instantly reminded me of my family roots in South Carolina, where my mother worked as a food service worker in our local school system. That grade level team marked the first of many friendships I cherish with current and retired MCPS staff—friendships that grew out of our common belief in students and the personal connections we shared. Over the years, parents have also made me feel like a part of their families over discussions about their children’s learning, hopes and fears.

I continue to celebrate my former students’ successes and challenges as I hear about them thriving and succeeding in college and career. Together, MCPS has built a village to support my personal and professional development as I became a teacher, leader, wife and mother.

childrenAs that first year came to a close, I relished the opportunity to celebrate my students’ accomplishments, recharge and plan to best serve my students in the year ahead. As this year of extraordinary challenges winds down—no matter your role in MCPS, be it in a school or office, please take some time to do the same. Rest, relax and recharge; you’ve earned it!

In the coming weeks, I will write to you again with my plans for positioning MCPS to prosper in the year ahead. Thank you for your ongoing dedication to our students.

In partnership,

Monifa B. McKnight, Ed.D.
Acting Superintendent of Schools

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