To help bring additional funding and resources to foster new learning experiences for students in grades K-12, the district has hired Ted Knight, Chief Advancement Officer.
Professional fundraising programs for public schools are part of a new initiative that has started around the country to generate more support for the schools.
“Shorewood’s student wellness vision emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive learning experience for every student that addresses multiple aspects of their development. That’s why it is important for our Advancement initiative to succeed, so that we can deliver on that promise,” Knight said. Knight has been working in the district since June 30.
Knight grew up in a place just outside of Buffalo, New York, before moving to Maryland. Knight majored in Philosophy for his undergraduate studies at Washington College in Maryland, and later earned his Master’s degree in Public Communication at American University.
Knight was previously familiar with Shorewood, as his wife grew up in the Milwaukee area and has family here. Both of them were attracted to the community and the high quality of the school district, and are now living in the district with their children.
Originally, Knight was interested in becoming a writer, but ended up with a number of other jobs. “I transitioned into web design, then strategic communications, then fundraising, corporate partnerships, and research development,” Knight said.
His professional background lies entirely in higher education, including working at both Washington College and the University of Maryland for a total of over 15 years. Knight hopes to transfer some of his previous success to Shorewood’s K-12 environment.
“I can honestly tell you that education has transformed my life,” Knight said.
At the University of Maryland, Knight established new programs for students through innovative industry partnerships, including the nation’s first undergraduate honors program in cybersecurity.
In Shorewood, Knight plans on expanding STEM education, and combining it with art and design, as well as incorporating hands-on, project-based learning experiences for students. He also plans on developing advanced programs to prepare students for challenges in years to come.
“Creative activities and team-based projects are amazing ways to learn and to build problem-solving skills,” Knight said.
Knight hopes that this will establish a national model for what other programs can do to advance public schools.
“[Knight]’s very much pursuing where we would like to go with the district, in terms of STEAM, and he’s allowing us to brainstorm and dream big,” said Karen Grzybowski, science teacher. “I am very happy and pleased to have him … He’s positive, he’s always going and he’s just the right person for the job.”
“I am planning to reach out to alumni, corporate partners and foundations to find support to help make these student experiences possible … I want to help make the Shorewood School District the best in the state, and one of the very best in the country,” Knight said.
“I think there’s enormous potential … [this fundraising] is becoming more and more necessary, especially in Shorewood, where the students and the parents in the community want the most out of the high school, and there are people who don’t want to be limited by state funding,” said Karen Frink, orchestra teacher.
“I think one of the greatest challenges [in a career like mine] is to get people excited about participating in something new … When people support education, they become vested in it, they become a part of it, and our collective movement grows,” Knight said. “So my challenge is to make my passion for advancing Shorewood Schools spread, so that others feel it, too.”
Knight enjoys traveling, playing guitar and being outdoors with his family.
by Ananya Murali