A Message from Dr. Monifa B. McKnight
The following message was emailed to staff on Wednesday, April 28.
I am writing to share my organizational vision for next year in anticipation of my June 1 transition as our school system’s interim superintendent.
I recognize that leadership transitions can arrive with both excitement and trepidation—particularly as we continue to operate under the ongoing conditions of uncertainty that the pandemic has introduced. As we brace for these adjustments, I recognize how important it is for you to hear directly from me. Going forward, my commitment to you will remain prioritizing communication with one another by establishing open and ongoing channels for connection.
My proposed leadership structure (attached)—which the Board of Education supports and I have shared with our employee associations—positions our school system to make significant, noticeable progress on our core mission: to improve teaching and learning and provide a strong academic program for ALL students. You and your teams sit at the heart of this mission. That is why I have designed this leadership team with particular attention to how the central office can best support you and our schools now and into our collective future. Given Governor Hogan’s announcement that all schools will open a full five days a week in the fall of 2021, planning now for successful implementation is critical.
Based on feedback collected across this year, I have built this structure with the goal of minimizing disruption without sacrificing the organization’s ability to provide the highest-quality opportunities for our students. To that end, the Board of Education and I share as a top priority returning students to five days per week of in-person instruction next school year with a virtual educational option for those in exceptional circumstances. Additional chiefs will join my leadership team to coordinate and implement this expanded range of services for which we are responsible in the post-pandemic frontier of schooling.
There are a number of foundational values embedded throughout all parts of this organizational structure. Grounded in our culture of respect, all of central office must effectively communicate, authentically collaborate and strategically coordinate alongside you and our schools. In other words, I expect schools and central office to leverage a shared trust to exploit the opportunities in front of us and find solutions to the challenges we collectively face. This trust must also contribute to building our school system’s resilience so that we can successfully adjust to the changing circumstances around us and anticipate, endure and recover from disruptions.
Though more hard work lies ahead, I am confident that this new structure will establish a strong foundation as we strive to create equitable and excellent experiences for all our students. I am honored to work with you every day on their behalf—and in service of our teachers, support personnel and communities.
Dr. Monifa B. McKnight