Montgomery County Public Schools
Monifa McKnight

Montgomery County (Maryland) School Superintendent resigns

Feb. 5, 2024
Monifa McKnight is leaving the 160,000-student district after completing two years of her four-year contract.

Monifa McKnight, superintendent of the Montgomery County (Maryland) School District, the nation’s 16th-largest, has resigned.

The Washington Post reports that McKnight stepped down amid questions about how the district handled sexual harassment, bullying and other allegations involving a former principal.

McKnight reached "a mutually agreed separation" with the county school board and is departing about two years into a four-year contract.

The school system, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., has about 160,000 students.

Brian Hull, the district's chief operating officer, will serve as acting superintendent. The school board plans to name an interim superintendent this week and launch a national search for a new leader "in the coming days."

McKnight's departure comes weeks after she said that school board members indicated "their desire for me to step away."

The conflict arose as the school system was the subject of county inspector general investigative inquiries related to its handling of sexual harassment and workplace bullying complaints filed about former middle school principal Joel Beidleman. The Washington Post reported that the school system had received at least 18 written or verbal complaints about Beidleman dating back to 2016. He has since left the school system.

McKnight, was named to the top job in 2022 after a stint as interim superintendent. Shehas nearly two decades of experience with the Montgomery County system and was named Maryland Principal of the Year in 2015. 

Later, she briefly left the school system to join Howard County (Maryland) Public Schools, but returned to Montgomery County in 2019 to serve as deputy under Superintendent Jack R. Smith.

In a letter to the district Friday, McKnight pointed to the school system's progress in increasing early literacy and mathematics test scores since the return to in-person instruction.

 

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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