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Board of Education Unanimously Approves Superintendent’s Four-Year Contract
By a unanimous vote, the Montgomery County Board of Education approved Dr. Monifa B. McKnight’s employment contract as superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) on Tuesday, May 10. Dr. McKnight, who has served MCPS in various capacities for two decades, started as a classroom teacher and currently serves as the district's interim superintendent.
“Dr. McKnight is an exceptionally skilled leader who will build on our district’s legacy of excellence, and help us ensure that we are an innovative and equitable school system that provides a world-class education to all of our students,” said Brenda Wolff, president of the Board of Education. “Dr. McKnight brings a deep understanding of what students and staff need to take MCPS to the next level.”
The Board conditionally appointed Dr. McKnight as superintendent on Feb. 8, 2022, pending agreement on terms of an employment contract and approval by the state superintendent of schools, as required by Maryland law. The Board and Dr. McKnight completed negotiations on the terms of a four-year employment contract within the last month, and the state superintendent approved Dr. McKnight for the superintendency on Feb. 9. Dr. McKnight’s past experience in MCPS as teacher, principal, deputy superintendent and, most recently, as interim superintendent has deeply immersed her in the work of the system and leaves her well-prepared to take on the challenges.
“I am looking forward to the work ahead as the next superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools and to collaborating with students, parents, staff and community leaders to expand opportunity so that our students are college, career and community ready,” said Dr. McKnight. “My priorities center on building and rebuilding trust, supporting mental health and wellness and returning the district's focus on equitable teaching and learning for all students so that our school system’s potential.”
Since the Board conditionally appointed her, Dr. McKnight has spent time listening to the community’s input around these priorities through a series of engagement sessions, “All Together Now: Putting Our Students First.” Hundreds of community members have gathered to discuss schools’ strengths, opportunities for growth and how to better serve the students. Additional opportunities for engagement are being planned.
Under the terms of the four-year contract, Dr. McKnight will earn a salary of $320,000 per year, and also will receive $48,000 in deferred compensation, as well as a matching contribution toward her retirement plan. She will also receive other benefits, including health, disability and life insurance; moving expenses; and the use of a vehicle.
Dr. McKnight’s Biography
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight currently serves as the interim superintendent for MCPS. Prior to this role, she served as MCPS' deputy superintendent. She also served as the Chief School Management and Instructional Leadership Officer for the Howard County Public School System.
Prior to working in Howard County, Dr. McKnight served as the Director for Secondary Leadership Development Programs in MCPS. She also served as a Campus Principal Ambassador Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education in 2016 under Secretary of Education John King.
Dr. McKnight was honored as the 2015 Maryland Middle School Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals and as the 2015 Maryland State Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She received this honor during her fifth year as the principal of Ridgeview Middle School in Gaithersburg.
Her prior experience includes: classroom teacher, English resource teacher, staff development teacher and assistant principal. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bowie State University and a doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy from the University of Maryland, College Park.
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