MINETTO – When Jan Knight closes her chapter at Minetto Elementary following the 2017-18 school year, she will leave behind a legacy of love and literacy.
She spent the majority of her life at Minetto, beginning in the mid-1960s as a seventh and eighth grade student. The last 41 years have been dedicated to teaching and inspiring nearly 1,500 children.
Her career began in second grade and after a brief stint in third grade, she moved into her true passion: helping children learn to read and advance their literacy skill sets.
The self-proclaimed lover of reading credited former Minetto Principal Bob Stone with giving her that first change at becoming a reading teacher.
His guidance and encouragement has been forever imprinted on her heart, she said.
Knight first learned just how important reading and its associated connections were when her mom would read to her and her sister each night until they fell asleep.
Add in summer trips to the library and the discovery of the Nancy Drew series and there was no turning back.
A flood of memories returned to Knight when she began her Minetto teaching career and browsed through the collection of biographies on women; her name was still on several of the library record cards.
Knight has left Minetto with a vault of knowledge and supportive literacy programs. She initiated the building’s People as Reading Partners program and family literacy nights.
Even more than fun activities, Knight said, were all of the ah-ha moments form students when reading techniques and strategies worked for them.
Increased fluency was always the goal, she said, and that was accomplished through also teaching narrative writing and expository text. She also has deeply cared about each child, all of which Knight has considered part of her extended family.
“We take kids where they are and get them where they need to be,” she said.
In recent years, Knight has taught children of the children she had decades ago. As she readies for her final goodbyes, she will leave Minetto Elementary with the following advice- ”focus on higher-level comprehension, reading and writing are processes and each child processes differently, and all children can make a difference.”
The Minetto Elementary PARP Committee recently awarded Knight a certificate of appreciation for her hard work, organization and dedication to the success of the school’s PARP program.
While the end of her long career is bittersweet, Knight said she plans to occasionally sub at the school. Until then, Knight plans to travel more, spend time with family and keep on reading.