March 18, 2019
Dear Friends of Knowles,
The year ending May 31, 2018 (FY2018) was one of exciting changes that mark the beginning of a new era for our organization. But it also marked a renewed commitment on our part to trusting teachers to lead transformation in mathematics and science education. We ended some projects and started others. We welcomed new people into our community, and we wished others good luck as they transitioned to new adventures. Our new website, launched December 22, 2017, celebrates these new beginnings, successful completions and enduring commitments.
On May 11, 2018, we welcomed 34 new math and science teachers to the Knowles community as members of the 2018 Cohort, including eight who taught abroad, three published authors, one with a PhD in chemistry, one civil and environmental engineering researcher, one urban farmer and one engineer. These new teachers hail from 18 different credential programs and are teaching in 13 different states. With the addition of the 34 members of the 2018 Cohort, our national network grew to a total of 345 outstanding educators across the nation: 161 Teaching Fellows and 184 Senior Fellows.
Our Senior Fellows Program continues to evolve and grow. FY2018 was the second year of the Seed Project Grant Program for Senior Fellows, generously funded by Janet Knowles. This year, we awarded nearly $90,000 dollars to seven teams of Knowles Senior Fellows and their colleagues. Not all changes to our Senior Fellows Program were new beginnings, though. FY2018 was the final year of Project ASCENT, a three-year program that brought together five teams of teachers from across the country to learn and apply improvement science to their teaching practice. Although Project ASCENT has formally ended, the teacher teams are spending this year working to share what they’ve learned with their colleagues, and we are looking forward to seeing what they accomplish in the future.
This year also marked the first full year of the Knowles Academy. We see the Knowles Academy as both an opportunity to serve a wider pool of teachers, and a way to support Senior Fellows to act as agents of educational improvement with and for their peers. In FY18, we offered two courses through the Knowles Academy, which served 25 teachers in our area. We also continued to work with schools and districts across the country to provide customized professional development programs for teachers, by teachers. A total of 17 Senior Fellows facilitated Knowles Academy courses, led services, served as coaches, or participated in course planning in FY18.
Fiscal Year 2018 was also a year of beginnings and endings for our Board of Trustees. In March of 2018, we bid farewell to William Rulon-Miller as he ended his tenure on the Board. Mr. Rulon-Miller joined the Board of Trustees in 2008 and served on staff as President from 2012–2016. Although he no longer has an official role in the organization, Bill will always be a cherished member of our community. In May of 2018, Bei Saville was elected to the Knowles Board of Trustees by unanimous vote. Ms Saville is the Chief Investment Officer for Endowments and Foundations at Northern Trust, where she is responsible for managing not-for-profit investment programs. We are honored to have someone with her expertise and experience on our Board.
Thanks to contributions from our many donors—particularly Harry Knowles, Lucy Rorke-Adams and Janet Knowles—careful monitoring of program expenses, and prudent management of our assets, we are financially secure and can focus on program refinement rather than fundraising. The financial statements that follow reflect our current solid financial position, and our assets are sufficient to sustain the Teaching Fellows Program in perpetuity. I’m pleased to report that we raised $17,000 toward scholarships for teachers to participate in Knowles Academy courses. Included in that amount were donations from every member of our Board of Trustees and Staff.
Each year when I write this letter, I find myself awed by what we have accomplished in the past year and excited by the challenges and opportunities that await us in the years to come. As always, it has been an honor to lead this organization and a joy to work with the incredibly talented and dedicated people in our community.
Nicole M. Gillespie
President and CEO