New administrator Kristine Knapp makes significant attribution to MSD team


Maria Vera

New administrator, Kristine Knapp enjoys her first few weeks at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She looks forward to making connections with the student and helping them succeed.

Sophia Golberg, Section editor

With the start of the 2021-2022 school year, students and teachers are beginning to adjust to the changes that come with in-person learning. One of these changes includes the opportunity for students to once again talk to and connect with administrators face-to-face. Excited for this opportunity, new administrator Kristine Knapp can’t wait to do just this as her first year at MSD begins.

Kristine Knapp was born in Florida and remained in the state until she graduated high school.  She attended Pasadena Lakes Elementary, Pines Middle, and Flanagan High School. Ever since childhood, Knapp had wanted to work as an educator.

“When you’re little, you have this vision of what you want to be when you get older, and for me, it was always to be a teacher,” Knapp said.

Graduating from Flanagan High School in 1999, Knapp chose to attend Welch College in Nashville, Tennessee. Following her passion for teaching, Knapp began college as an Elementary Education major. Unfortunately, she quickly realized teaching young kids was definitely not for her.

“My first observation was that  I was surrounded by boogers and crying little kids and I absolutely hated it,” Knapp exclaimed. “I cannot do this.”

Disappointed with her initial encounter with teaching, Knapp chose to change her major entirely. She declared her major as undecided and eventually decided on psychology. She then graduated with a double major in psychology and biblical studies, later returning to Broward County.

“Back in Florida, I became a waitress because I had no clue what to do with my psychology degree,” Knapp said.

While working as a waitress, Knapp occasionally returned to Flanagan High School as a substitute teacher and was reminded of why she wanted to be an educator to begin with. In fact, she loved it so much that she chose to work as a teacher at Flanagan High School full-time.

Eager to connect with students, Knapp became  the cheerleading and water polo coach at Flanagan High School. During her final three years at the school, Knapp became an administrator.

“As a substitute [teacher], I loved it,” Knapp said. “I loved high school. I loved older students that I could build relationships with. Through coaching I really got to connect with students. I knew it was what I wanted to do.”

MSD Principal Michelle Kefford ultimately inspired Knapp to come to MSD and leave the only high school she had ever known. Kefford was the Principal at Flanagan before beginning at MSD. Knapp and Kefford have known each other for 11 years and Knapp loved the idea of working alongside Kefford once again.

“Ms. Kefford is my mentor and she started at Douglas after I had been teaching for seven years,” Knapp said. “She’s the one who encouraged me to join administration. I was so excited to have an opportunity to work with her again.”

In addition to her job as an educator, Knapp is also a dedicated and loving mother to her four-year-old son, Jackson.

Prior to beginning at MSD, Knapp thought long and hard about becoming an entirely new administrator. She worried that her relationships with students would suffer because they would all be meeting her for the very first time.

“My initial fear was that the students here wouldn’t know me and my heart,” Knapp said. “They won’t know that I really do want to be there for them.”

Despite her uncertainties, Knapp hopes to eventually build strong relationships with students at MSD by dedicating her time to making them feel comfortable and confident on campus.

“I’ve always been really big on relationships,” Knapp said. “Look back on the teachers that I had and the impact that they made on my life.They are the reason I wanted to get into education. I want to impact students the way that my teachers impacted me.”

Although students have only been on campus for a few weeks, Knapp has truly enjoyed her time at MSD so far. She can’t wait for an amazing school year and looks forward to connecting with more of the MSD team.