Eric Knost, whose job as the superintendent of the Mehlville School District thrust him into the middle of this school year’s student transfer drama, has resigned that job and is in line to become superintendent of the Rockwood schools.
In a notice posted on Mehlville's Facebook page, Knost said he was released from his superintendent’s position, effective June 30, during a closed meeting of that district’s school board Monday night.
“I made this request after being named the finalist for the superintendent’s job in the Rockwood School District,” Knost wrote. “The Mehlville School Board approved my request by a vote of 7-0 while the Rockwood School Board will formally confirm their decision this Thursday, March 27 at their scheduled Board Meeting.”
His note added:
“While I have never expressed an interest in leaving my current post, this opportunity brings a new challenge to my career as an educational leader. My 12 years in Mehlville have been some of the most rewarding years of my career. I’m proud of the students, staff, and the community, and I’m proud of the district’s many accomplishments. I’m confident of a bright and promising future for Mehlville Schools and I am honored to have served as your superintendent.”
In a post on the Rockwood website, Knost said:
“In all of my years as an educator I have carried with me a personal mission of helping all kids thrive in this world. To me, this commitment is paramount over every task in the field of education. Regardless of where my career takes me, my mission will always remain the same. I look forward to sharing this mission with Rockwood staff, students, parents and community members.”
While the final vote will not come until Thursday night, Rockwood spokeswoman Kim Cranston said that Knost is “THE lone finalist.” He would succeed interim superintendent Terry Adams, who took over in July after the departure of Bruce Borchers. The district had 27 applicants from 10 states for the superintendent's job.
Borchers’ tenure was marked by controversy over his hiring former colleagues as assistants and other questions that arose about operations in Rockwood. A state audit identified several problems, including the relationship between a board member and the district’s construction management firm.
A follow-up audit said many of the problems found earlier had been corrected.
Last April, voters in Rockwood not only rejected a $38.4 million bond issue but also voted out two members of the school board.
Knost has often spoken in public in recent months about the effects of the student transfers from Riverview Gardens and Normandy. Riverview Gardens designated Mehlville as one of the two districts, along with Kirkwood, to which it would pay transportation costs for students who transferred along with tuition.
Knost has welcomed the transfer students, saying that as soon as they enter Mehlville buildings, they become Mehlville kids. But he also has criticized the hurried nature of the transfer process and the failure of schools to provide quality education where children live.
He told lawmakers during a hearing in Jefferson City last October:
“Every single student needs multiple champions, and every single student needs positive relationships, and they shouldn’t have to be bused 30 miles to find someone who cares …. Pick up the cause for a child’s right to stay put.”
His job as superintendent will be Knost’s second stint in Rockwood.
He was band director at Marquette High School and several other schools in the district, then was an administrative intern at Woerther Elementary School before becoming an assistant principal at Parkway North High School.
He left Parkway to become an administrator in Mehlville, where he was principal of Oakville High School and a deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2011.
In his post on the Mehlville Facebook page, he gave thanks for the support he has had in that district.
“I’m thankful for the many relationships I have established," Knost wrote, "and I am excited to encounter so many new faces in the weeks and months ahead. I value people and I value environments where kids and adults are made to feel extraordinary. I remain humbled by the support I have encountered in Mehlville as well as the early welcomes I have received in Rockwood.”