New Hillsboro High IB Diploma Program coordinator ready for major challenge

Monday, July 4, 2011 at 9:05pm

It’s tough following a legend.

Consider Bill Guthridge, who almost passively succeeded to the role of North Carolina men’s basketball coach following the now-canonized Dean Smith. Or Sammy Hagar, the adequate (at best) Van Halen replacement frontman who lacked David Lee Roth’s vocal prowess, karate kicks and sex appeal. Or Andrew Johnson, consistently ranked among the worst of U.S. presidents, who followed a gentleman named Abe Lincoln. 

But Stephanie Knight isn’t the Andrew Johnson of Metro Nashville Public Schools, nor does she have any intention to be. Indeed, Knight hopes to continue the legacy of the beloved Mary Catherine Bradshaw when she assumes her role as coordinator of Hillsboro High School’s International Baccalaureate
Diploma Program.

With two years of IB teaching experience at Hillsboro, Knight has earned considerable respect from parents and students. She begins her tenure with momentum.

“I’m following the woman who started this program,” Knight said, adding she is humbled by the opportunity. 

“It’s such a valuable program to Hillsboro High School, and to be entrusted with its
leadership was a wonderful feeling.” 

Earlier this year, a number of Hillsboro parents voiced concerns that with the IB program in a state of flux, the district could lose students to area private schools. But Knight’s hiring seems to have assuaged those apprehensions.

“It will be a new approach from a smart woman and a good teacher who will bring her own personality and style,” said Paula Jennings, the mother of two children who graduated from Hillsboro and the IB program. “The current IB faculty, including Ms. Knight, are top-notch teachers.” 

Tania Carter, a Hillsboro parent, called Knight a “stellar teacher.”

“I have seen her apply IB methods in a class my son took, and he truly benefited,” she said. 

Knight will teach at least four classes, in addition to her IB work. The load will be heavy — but so was that of Bradshaw, who is now at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School.

“It is [a major undertaking], but it’s not without precedent,” Knight said.