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Outgoing board president Kniss honored as new District 27J board members are sworn in

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By The Staff

BRIGHTON — Longtime educator and Board of Education director Joan Kniss’ commitment and dedication to the students of School District 27J will now be recognized for generations of students to come. 

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In a release from School District 27J, Superintendent Chris Fiedler announced the Brighton High School Library will be renamed the Joan R. Kniss Learning and Resource Center during the Nov. 19 Board of Education meeting.

Joan Kniss and Kristi Crisman were honored prior to the swearing in of newly-elected board directors. Kniss was term-limited after eight years on the board, and Crisman chose not to seek a second term.

“Joan Kniss’ commitment and support of School District 27J, first as a teacher and then as a Board of Education director, spans more than 40 years,”Fiedler said. “In that time, her focus has never wavered from the simple premise of doing what is right for children. She has been a tireless champion for School District 27J and we will always be grateful for the enormous contributions she made to our district.

“The renaming of the Brighton High School library is especially fitting given Joan’s passion for literacy and her creation of the Little Free Libraries program in Brighton, which places small lending libraries in convenient community locations,” he added.

Kniss began her career in 27J as a student teacher. She spent 10 years as an English teacher and counselor at then-North Junior High School. She then moved to Brighton High School where she spent the majority of her teaching career as an English teacher. She was honored as Colorado Teacher of the Year in 2001. She taught for two years at the new Thimmig K-8 as a teacher before returning to Brighton High School as an instructional coach. She retired in 2005. 

Kniss was then elected to the School District 27J Board of Education to represent District 4. She served as board president for more than two years and was twice honored as a recipient of the Colorado Association of School Boards’ McGuffey Award winners. 

Kniss and her husband, Adam, have six children and 17 grandchildren — five of whom are students in the district. 

A date for a ceremony to officially unveil the renamed library is still being determined.