Superintendent of St. Louis County’s largest school district’s thoughtful note on retirement

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EUREKA, Mo. — St. Louis County’s largest school district is looking for a new leader.  Rockwood Schools Superintendent Eric Knost will retire at the end of the current school year. He’s been in education for 31 years and has led the Rockwood District since 2014.

The Rockwood School District posted this note from Dr. Eric Knost to their Facebook page:

“To all my colleagues, friends, students both past and present, and others;

In one of my favorite poems, Rudyard Kipling refers to filling the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds of a distant run. It’s up to the individual to interpret these words, but for me, I have always believed they highlight the idea of giving your all, always, no matter the circumstance, and never allowing the efforts to fade. Through the years, it has remained my intent to approach my work this way, and I vowed to make sure these efforts stayed constant.

As many know, I am currently in my 31st year as a public educator. The inevitable idea of retiring from this chapter in my life has crept into my heart in an unsolicited way, bringing interest in new endeavors. The very fact that I am having these thoughts tells me I need to face them, as I never wanted to be that guy who hung-on despite such feelings.

I wish I could deliver this message personally, but with so many people to reach, that is simply impossible. I have informed the Board of my intent to retire as superintendent at the end of this school year. Things are very good right now, and please know nothing but the matter of time has precipitated these thoughts. I have been fulfilled beyond expectation and have enjoyed every year, regardless of the hurdles… and to my Rockwood family, these five years since I returned as your superintendent have been so very rewarding. Collectively, I have now spent more career years here than any other district.

The decision to retire has not been the least bit easy, in fact, it has been painful. But, as these thoughts infiltrate, it’s hard to deny them. There have been many significant changes in my life in recent years, including the passing of both my parents. My daughters are in college, with my oldest close to graduating, and the years keep ticking away. I have other aspirations to consider, and I am excited to think about the next chapter in my life. You can rest assured; I do feel there is plenty of good work for me to pursue.

I have cherished the ability to meet and work with all of you, not only in Rockwood, but throughout my years, and I hope I have served you well. I have enjoyed being in so many schools, classrooms, meeting rooms and gatherings. I will surely miss you all, but I think mostly, I will miss the students who have inspired me over the years to constantly improve myself as an educator, a leader and as a person.

To all whose paths I have crossed, …. students, adults, community members, lifelong friends and so many mentors, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to serve and to help others thrive. You all mean the world to me.

Please help me smile about this as we continue our work to complete this school year together. The field of education is, and always will be, deeply seated in my heart and soul. Encouragement and hugs will be gladly accepted in the months to come, as I am sure I’ll need both.

Very Sincerely, Eric (DK)

Dr. Eric D. Knost

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