Dr. Knost Explains His Move to Lewis Central Community School District in Iowa
Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost announced on Feb. 12 that he would be moving to Iowa to work as superintendent for the Lewis Central Community School District.
Dr. Knost said that he hadn’t been planning on taking another superintendent position.
“To be honest, I was kind of banking on the education commissioner position,” Dr. Knost said. “But in the end, I ended up losing it to the current commissioner, and I just hadn’t planned on what to do next.”
After learning he hadn’t gotten the position, Dr. Knost said he decided he needed to find another job in education because he didn’t want to be finished with the work he’s been doing.
Upon advice from those around him, Dr. Knost said he began to talk to some superintendent search firms out of state in December, after the commissioner position was announced.
“It was never, ever something I’d planned on doing,” Dr. Knost said. “I never talked to my family about it, or considered it in my mind. It just sort of happened when the commissioner position didn’t pan out.”
Dr. Knost said he applied to be superintendent for nine districts across Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.
“It kind of snowballed before I knew it,” Dr. Knost said.
During that period in time, Dr. Knost interviewed for the Lewis Central Community School District in Iowa. The same night he was interviewed, Dr. Knost was offered the job and took it.
“It seemed like a really good fit,” Dr. Knost said. “It’s only a couple hours away from Missouri. It’s really close to areas that have booming artistic spots, which is something that I personally enjoy, and there’s just something about the district that made it special for me. Once I was offered the job, everything else sort of cancelled out.”
Dorene Scheffel, president of the Lewis Central Community School District Board of Education (BOE), said Dr. Knost stood out to them because of his experience in comparison to their other candidates.
“Dr. Knost has 31 years of experience in education and he has several years of superintendent experience with student enrollment up to 22,000,” Scheffel said. “Even though we are a district of 3,000 students, Lewis Central has lots of good things happening, and we wanted someone with experience to continue the successful path Lewis Central is currently on.”
In addition to experience, Scheffel said that, while Lewis Central had a lot of good things going for them, she wants to make sure they never settle where they are, and always set to strive for more. She said the board felt that, because Dr. Knost had led several innovative programs, increased student achievement and led successful bond issues, he would be able to do even more within the smaller community of Lewis Central.
Scheffel also said she hopes the different experience of leading a much smaller district like Lewis Central will be a fun challenge for Dr. Knost. Scheffel said she thinks the difference in size will amplify Dr. Knost’s positive effect on the district.
“He will be able to dig deeper and work shoulder to shoulder with our administrators and teachers to keep moving Lewis Central forward, so all our students thrive and succeed,” Scheffel said. “He will be able to use his skills to increase student achievement, keep our facilities updated and keep our district financially solvent.”
Ultimately, Scheffel said the BOE wanted someone who would unite the district by regularly interacting with students and teachers and creating a sense of progressiveness and togetherness.
“We wanted someone who is approachable, visible and brings out the success in others,” Scheffel said. “We want someone to be a part of our community. It is very easy to see Dr. Knost has done that in Rockwood and we are sure he will continue to do this at Lewis Central.”
Principal Dr. Greg Mathison, said he thinks the position will be a good fit for him.
“I believe he plans to lead that school district for quite some time,” Dr. Mathison said. “He cares about kids and I believe he will make a positive impact in their community.”
Dr. Mathison also said Dr. Knost’s strengths in leading the Rockwood School District will greatly benefit his new district.
“He is positive, student centered, and builds solid relationships,” Dr. Mathison said. “Dr. Knost is a ‘uniter’ and believes in empowering those around him. I hope our new superintendent can do the same for us in the coming year.”
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