The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

McKnight is pronounced excellent


Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Seward educator Terri McKnight

Terri McKnight came to Alaska with a dream, but she started in Fairbanks. After that initial dalliance, the elementary school educator found a slice of heaven in Moose Pass, teaching there for seven years until making a final move to Seward Elementary School in 1999. Soon thereafter McKnight started doing double duty in the name of education, teaching during the week and studying nights and weekends for a masters of arts in teaching from Grand Canyon University.

After adding that degree in 2002, McKnight continued building her reputation as one of Seward El's most inspiring teachers. Consistently regarded as a top-notch educator for her no-nonsense approach to academic rigor as well as for being fair minded while simultaneously encouraging creativity. Parents, students and former students unanimously express their respect for her. She also gets props from her fellow teachers, all of whom she outranks as the only one left standing after 15 years.

Longevity not necessarily being the key to respect among peers, McKnight is not only a leader of children, she often is lead educator among the staff at Seward El. Her experience finds her in the role of a school-wide resource, helping to lead meetings and tapped to provide historical insight. She is constantly in demand after school for meetings with teachers, parents and frequent conducts academics reinforcement classes for individual students and groups.

McKnight's track record caught up with her this spring when she was nominated for the annual BP Teachers of Excellence award. The nod turned into the first win for a Seward El nominee and earlier this month, McKnight was recognized with four other Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers at a formal presentation in Soldotna.

Although she has taught in Alaska for 22 years, McKnight's experience as a educator began at the same Florida elementary school that she attended as a student. After graduation from Florida State University with a degree in elementary education, McKnight returned to her childhood school to teach for three years. However, the wider world called, and in 1992 she made her move to just about the furthest point on the continent.

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Terri McKnight with her portion of Seward Elementary's Class of 2014. The group of fifth graders enjoy some respite at Waterfront Park while on a bike tour of Seward last week.

Seward El's principal, David Kingsland, came on the scene for McKnight's second year at the local elementary school. He is another in a growing list of Seward educators to receive recognition for their dedication and accomplishments, having been named the honoree for the state of Alaska in the National Distinguished Principals Program for 2014. The admiration is mutual between the two veterans of Seward El, as Kingsland is quick to note McKnight's value to the community.

Indeed, McKnight has interests beyond the three Rs including her support for, and work with, local conservation groups as well as the Seward Nordic Ski Club and the Seward Tsunami Swim Club. She doesn't just confine her pupils to pure academics either, as there is a continual panoply of creative projects and engaging field trips to challenge the imaginations of the youngsters. With the year's core requirements dwindling and the scheduled curriculum winding down, a class camping trip will bring the school year to a close.


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