Dr. Monifa B. McKnight appointed Superintendent of Schools

On February 8, the Montgomery County School Board voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Monifa B. McKnight as Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Dr. McKnight, who currently serves as acting superintendent, will assume the permanent role on July 1, 2022, subject to contract negotiations and approval by the state’s Superintendent of Schools.

“With her long and distinguished record of service to the MCPS community, Dr. McKnight is uniquely qualified to lead the district during this time,” said Brenda Wolff, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “She intimately understands the challenges our community faces and deeply believes in the limitless potential of our students and educators. The Board looks forward to working with her to provide every MCPS student with a first-class education.

Dr. McKnight is the first woman and second person of color to be appointed to the post of superintendent on a permanent basis.

She has served as Acting Superintendent since June 1, 2021, following the retirement of Dr. Jack R. Smith. During this time, she helped guide the district through an unprecedented school year of challenges while reinforcing the district’s commitment to equity and excellence.

Watch the MCPS moment.

“I am honored by the trust the Council has placed in me to lead the district I have called home for 20 years,” said Dr. McKnight. “This is a time that calls for leading with empathy while pursuing academic excellence. I plan to focus on understanding the educational needs and interests of students and teachers, while prioritizing safety and well-being of all in our school community.”

The Council’s vote was the result of a months-long nationwide search for superintendents that included a remarkable level of community engagement. The Council solicited feedback through three public forums, a district-wide survey, and a series of focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Additionally, panels of community members interviewed a diverse list of four finalists for the superintendent position. In total, more than 5,000 community members, including parents and educators, participated in the selection process.

Dr. McKnight has had a long and accomplished career at MCPS, having served as a teacher, principal, and district administrator. She first joined MCPS in 2001 as a teacher at Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology.

Dr. McKnight was honored as the 2015 Maryland Middle School Principal of the Year by the Maryland Secondary School Principals’ Association 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 principal of Ridgeview Middle School.

She also served as the Senior Campus Ambassador for the U.S. Department of Education in 2016. Prior to her role as Acting Superintendent, she served as Deputy Superintendent of MCPS. She was also responsible for school management and instructional leadership for Howard County Public Schools. Prior to her tenure with Howard County, Dr. McKnight served as Director of Secondary Leadership Development Programs for MCPS.

A native of South Carolina, Dr. McKnight holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bowie State University and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Message to the community from Dr. Monifa B. McKnight


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