Knost named deputy superintendent; VanLaere new assistant superintendent

Eric Knost

Eric Knost

Eric Knost was named deputy superintendent of the Mehlville School District last week by the Board of Education.

Knost, who has served as north area superintendent since July 1, 2005, was named deputy superintendent with a 6-0 vote during a Nov. 15 closed session.

Board President Ken Leach was absent.

Knost’s appointment is retroactive to Nov. 1, and his new salary of $124,000 will be prorated from that date.

The Board of Education also voted 6-0 during the closed session to name Vicki VanLaere assistant superintendent for supervision of instruction, effective Nov. 20. VanLaere has been serving as executive director of human resources since July 1. Her new salary of $110,000 will be prorated from Nov. 20.

Board members also voted 6-0 during the closed session to accept a revised retirement date for A.D. McClain, who has served as associate superintendent since July 1. McClain had served as assistant superintendent for human resources since the 1999-2000 school year.

The board accepted McClain’s retirement in September. McClain had planned to retire Jan. 31, but his retirement date was adjusted to Nov. 21 at his request, according to interim Superintendent Jerry Chambers.

Chambers told the Call that Terry Noble, who will become the district’s permanent superintendent July 1, was very involved with the decisions to name Knost and VanLaere to their respective positions.

“The board was excited about promoting Eric Knost to deputy superintendent,” Chambers said. “This will put Eric in a more global role of having a close relationship with all 17 schools, and it’s a departure from the north-south (area superintendent) arrangement that’s been the case in the Mehlville School District for a number of years.

“There was considerable discussion about how to work with parents so that there’s efficiency in returning calls and dealing with issues, and Eric had some good answers for how he hoped to accomplish just that. The vote for Eric was unanimous and quite enthusiastic, and with A.D. McClain’s departure, there is a need to immediately fill that void. A number of student discipline issues normally handled by Dr. McClain have been appropriately dealt with through the efforts of Dr. Knost and Dr. Brian Lane (executive director of student services ). However, that was stretching the administration quite thin. So the board authorized the administration and Terry Noble, the incoming superintendent, to move quickly in replacing Dr. McClain.”

Four candidates applied for the post of assistant superintendent for supervision of instruction and were interviewed by a 10-member committee comprised of administrators, Board of Education member Cindy Christopher, teachers and other district staff.

“The committee rated each candidate. This was based on not only the interview, but also written materials, resumes and reference letters shared with the committee,” the interim superintendent said. “There was also a discussion among the 10 committee members of the various skills of the four persons being considered. While all were valued, the scoring for Vicki VanLaere was clearly a higher number than the other three candidates. Vicki will work with Dr. Knost and me between November and January in filling that position, but also carrying on with the Human Resources Department. This is a slower season for the Human Resources Department, but things pick up dramatically in January.

“We hope to reorganize and have a plan for the Human Resources Department in January. That plan will be taken to the board by Mr. Noble and me at the December board meeting,” Chambers added.

Before he was named north area superintendent, Knost had served as principal of Oakville High School since July 1, 2002.

Knost also served as assistant principal of Parkway North High School in the Parkway School District (1997 to 2002), assistant principal at Woerther Elementary School in Rockwood (1996 to 1997), director of bands at Marquette High School in Rockwood (1993 to 1996) and assistant band director at Lafayette High School in Rockwood (1989 to 1993).

He also was a band teacher at Windsor High School in the Windsor School District (1988 to 1989).

Knost earned a doctorate degree at St. Louis University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Lindenwood University and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Webster University.

He also holds a lifetime certification in music/instrumental kindergarten through 12th grade. He also has a renewable certificate in administration for kindergarten through 12th grade.

Before being named executive director of human resources, VanLaere had served as principal of Oakville Middle School since July 1, 2003. Before that, she was principal of Union Middle School and director of alternative education in the Union R-XI School District.

Previously, she was assistant principal at Union Middle School (1994-1998), a history teacher at Union Middle (1991-1994), a reading at-risk teacher at Meramec Valley (1989-1991) and a reading teacher for kindergarten through the sixth grade in the Monmouth District (1987-1989).

VanLaere earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central University of Iowa. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an education specialist degree in educational administration from UMSL. She received her doctorate in education last week.

She has certificates in principal kindergarten through ninth grade, principal grades four through nine, superintendent kindergarten through 12th grade, elementary education grades one through nine and social studies grades five through nine.