McKnight Takes Job at UMD’s College of Education

McKnight Takes Job at UMD’s College of Education

Five months after resigning from Montgomery County Public Schools, former school superintendent Monifa McKnight has landed a new job as the first dean’s fellow and principal at the University of Maryland College of Education, the university announced.

“In this new role, McKnight will support the development and implementation of special projects that align with the College of Education’s strategic plan. She will focus on increasing student engagement in academic programs and building partnerships … to support student learning and school transformation,” the university said in a news release Monday.

McKnight is expected to start her new job on August 23.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. McKnight join our college,” Dean Kimberly Griffin said in the release. “She is an accomplished educator and leader whose extensive experience and commitment to educational equity will prove invaluable as we move forward boldly to transform education for good.”

The university touted McKnight’s more than 25 years of experience in school administration and instructional leadership, noting that as MCPS superintendent she oversaw the state’s largest school district with an enrollment of more than 160,000 students. “She led the complex transition to hybrid and full-time in-person learning and implemented operational structures and instructional strategies designed to meet the needs of students post-pandemic,” the release said.

McKnight’s tenure at MCPS ended when she resigned on Feb. 2 amid controversy over the district’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against a former high school principal. The fallout from the controversy led to a breakdown in trust between the MCPS community in the district and the school board, which promoted Joel Beidleman to high school principal while he was under investigation. Beidleman, who no longer works for the school system, has denied the allegations.

After a five-month search, the school board hired Thomas Taylor, a 1996 graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, as the new superintendent of MCPS. Taylor, who started July 1, is the former superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools in Virginia.

McKnight, who earned a doctorate in education policy and leadership from the university, said in the press release that she felt “deeply honored to return to her alma mater.”

“This unique opportunity allows me to contribute to the development of future educational leaders and to collaborate with esteemed colleagues in shaping innovative educational practices,” she said. “I look forward to bringing my experiences and insights to the university and working together to make a lasting impact on education.”

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