Montgomery Co. school board OKs contract for new superintendent

Montgomery County Board of Education has approved a four-year contract for the Maryland county school system’s new superintendent, Monifa McKnight.

Back in February, the then-interim superintendent was picked to lead the school system as the permanent replacement for Jack Smith, who retired in June 2021. But it was subject to approval by the state superintendent and to a contract agreement.

The state superintendent approved the appointment shortly after she was picked, and the contract was approved unanimously Tuesday.



“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, in a statement.

“Dr. McKnight brings a deep understanding of what students and staff need to take [Montgomery County Public Schools] to the next level.”

In addition to an annual salary of $320,000, McKnight will receive $48,000 in deferred compensation, as well as retirement and health benefits, moving expenses and the use of a vehicle.

By comparison, Fairfax County Public Schools incoming superintendent, Michelle Reid, will receive an annual salary of $380,000. The incoming superintendent in Frederick County, Cheryl Dyson, will get $265,000 annually.

Before serving as interim superintendent, McKnight was the county’s deputy superintendent. She’s also worked as a teacher and in administrative roles.

In 2015, as principal of Ridgeview Middle School in Gaithersburg, she was honored as the Maryland Middle School Principal of the Year by the Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals. That year, she was named Maryland State Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals as well.

McKnight also served as a campus principal ambassador fellow for the U.S. Department of Education in 2016.

Her first day on the job as permanent superintendent will be July 1.

Jack Pointer

Jack contributes to WTOP.com when he's not working as the afternoon/evening radio writer. In a previous life, he helped edit The Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune.

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