Monifa McKnight made history last March when she became the first Black woman to lead Montgomery County Public Schools. After Jack Smith retired as superintendent, McKnight, the district’s deputy superintendent since 2019, was named acting superintendent for one month, then interim superintendent. She is scheduled to remain in that role through June 2022 while the district, using an outside firm, searches for Smith’s successor. McKnight has applied to be superintendent. Paul Vance was the first Black MCPS superintendent, serving from 1991 to 1999. “If there is in some way a spark of inspiration for a young woman or people of color in our community and abroad,” McKnight says, “I’m happy to be able to do that because I know that that inspiration has paved the way for me in my goals and dreams in life.”