Monifa McKnight to Serve as Inaugural Dean's Fellow

New position to help strengthen partnerships between the college and PK-12 schools across the state
Monifa McKnight

The ֲý of Maryland College of Education has named Monifa McKnight as its inaugural Dean’s Fellow and Superintendent in Residence, effective August 23. In this new role, McKnight will support the development and implementation of special projects aligned with the College of Education’s strategic plan. She will focus on growing student engagement across academic programs and building partnerships across PK-20 to support student learning and school transformation. She will help strengthen the college's relationships with school partners and state leaders, generate creative ideas and strategies to expand their educator pathway program and collaborate on existing partnerships that drive school improvement and reform.

“We are delighted to have Dr. McKnight join our college,” said Dean Kimberly Griffin. “She is a seasoned educator and leader whose extensive experience and commitment to education equity will prove valuable as we move fearlessly forward to transform education for good.”

McKnight brings more than 25 years of experience in school administration and instructional leadership. She previously served as the superintendent and deputy superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the largest district in Maryland, where she provided strategic vision and oversaw the education 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 students’ needs post-pandemic.

Throughout her career, McKnight has led various strategic initiatives, including establishing a principal pipeline for MCPS, overseeing the school improvement process for Howard County Public Schools; focusing on teacher professional development, and enhancing student achievement and school climate in individual schools in Maryland and Virginia.

Her collaborative work with local government agencies, parents, education associations, and community leaders has led to increased access to advanced math courses, new and sustained investments in key district initiatives, such as student well-being, and greater community engagement.

“Strong partnerships between our college and PK-12 schools are essential for preparing future educators and fostering practical learning experiences that ensure a brighter future for all students,” said Dean Griffin. “Dr. McKnight values collaboration, and her insights will help create partnerships that build on opportunities and address challenges in Maryland schools.”

“I am deeply honored to return to my alma mater, the ֲý of Maryland, as the inaugural Dean’s Fellow and Superintendent in Residence,” said McKnight. “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. I look forward to bringing my experiences and insights to the university and working together to make a lasting impact on education.”

McKnight received an Ed.D. in educational policy and leadership from the ֲý of Maryland. She also holds a M.S. in education and administration and supervision from Bowie State ֲý and a B.S. in elementary education from South Carolina State ֲý.