Published Oct. 8, 2021
BY EMMA BROWN
With over 20 years of education experience under his belt, Carmel Unified School District’s new superintendent, Ted Knight, says he’s here to initiate change through increased communication with the community and ensuring that schools remain open during the pandemic.
A Colorado native, Knight moved to Carmel in July, leaving his position as assistant superintendent of school leadership for the Douglas County School District, an educational district encompassing approximately 70,000 students. The superintendent began his career as a middle school science, technology, engineering, and math teacher, eventually transitioning to an administrative position in the school’s central office, helping teachers use data to make classroom decisions. From there, Knight became an assistant principal for the same high school he attended in his youth, before he transitioned to a position as a turnaround principal.
“When schools weren’t doing real well on test scores or students were getting lower grades, they called in a turnaround administrator,” Knight explains. “And if they didn’t improve in so many years, the school could get taken over by the state. I became a turnaround principal. and I spent seven years working at two elementary and two middle schools.”
After a few years, Knight took over as the chief academic officer for DCSD, before ultimately becoming the assistant superintendent.
While his administrative background is impressive on its own, his experience as a student has also had a profound impact on his life.
“I’m a life-long learner,” Knight says. “I like to just keep learning. That has taken up a lot of time in my life.”
Not only does he have his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Science and Technology with a minor in education, but the administrator has a master’s degree in curriculum instruction with an emphasis in technology, an educational specialist degree in curricular administration, a second master’s in educational administration and a doctorate in organizational leadership. Currently, Knight is working on his Master of Business.
Now, with the surge of national COVID-19 cases during the age of the delta variant, Knight’s primary goal for the 2021-22 school year is to keep school open for all students in CUSD.
“Everything is within California Department of Health guidelines, but we personalize them to Carmel and try to be very consistent amongst all our schools,” explains Knight. “We’re keeping everybody safe and it’s working right now. We’re not seeing a lot of positive cases across the district.”
Despite his objective to maintain in-person classes, Knight’s goals for the year span beyond health regulations. He is currently working to establish focus groups with different members of the Carmel community, including students, teachers, classified workers and parents.
“A main focus this year is being proactive in our communication,” says Knight. “I’ve had a lot of town halls and have sent out a lot of community letters. We want to tell people upfront everything that we’re doing. And then if they have questions, let us know. And so oftentimes it’s just calling parents back. I spend pretty much every evening on the phone, calling parents back and community members back, answering their questions.”
Outside of work, Knight is a father of two, with a 23-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son, as well as a grandfather of one. At this time, his family still resides in Colorado, while Knight commutes back to the Centennial State some weekends.