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Knief’s Athletic Journey Leads to Superintendent’s Job in Carver

Apr 01, 2019 11:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Carver School Superintendent Scott Knief

Where Are They Now? written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports Editor
Scott Knief was a top-notch basketball player at Bellingham High in the late 1980s and later starred for four years at Bridgewater State. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound center used his size and ability to become a high-profile all-star in high school and college.
Knief also stood tall in the classroom. He was vice president of the National Honor Society at BHS and was twice named an academic all-star while playing at Bridgewater. As a senior in college, Knief was selected as the Male Scholar Athlete for maintaining a GPA above 3.5. He majored in history and minored in secondary education.
 After graduating from Bridgewater in 1993, he joined the faculty at Carver High as a history teacher and later earned his master’s in educational leadership from Bridgewater in 2001.
So it should come as no surprise that the 47-year-old Knief became Carver’s School Superintendent in 2016 after serving as the high school’s principal for 10 years. In 2009, Knief, who was in his third year as principal, took on added duties and became the principal of the middle school. Before taking on these two principal posts, he was assistant principal at the middle school.
Carver has two schools — the Middle/High School (Grades 6-12) and the new Carver Elementary School (Pre-K to Grade 5). Both schools have about 800 students.
“I enjoy being Superintendent,’’ Knief said. It’s a position where I can be a visionary and provide students with the best educational opportunities possible. I still get to interact with students, but not as much as I did as a dual-principal. However, as Superintendent, I get to connect with elementary students and their teachers. I also enjoyed participating in the building of our new elementary school, which opened in September 2018.’’
The most challenging part of Knief’s job is dealing with the budget. “That can be a struggle,’’ he said. “I work with the Selectmen and the Finance Committee on a variety of issues. My goal is to avoid cuts so that we can maintain staff and keep a balance.’’
While he was teaching, Knief was appointed varsity basketball coach at Norton High. His teams won 65 percent of their games and qualified for tourney play four times during his five-year stint. He also coached varsity tennis at Carver for two years.
Knief firmly believes that playing and coaching basketball were valuable for his future in education. While working toward his master’s degree he even wrote a paper that detailed the value of athletic disciplines as they relate to real-life situations.
“The concept of the project was to show ways to reach students beyond the classroom,’’ Knief noted. “I wrote about how athletics can develop skills that will help an individual in everyday situations.
“I learned as a player that you rely on dedication and preparation, you work hard, you mesh with your teammates, you set goals, and you become responsible and accountable,’’ said Knief, who lives in Taunton with his wife (Lisa) and four children. “You also learn leadership, sportsmanship, time management and how to overcome adversity.
 “As a coach, I had to be organized and prepared. All these disciplines became assets when I was a principal. I worked with the faculty, we overcame problems, we strived to improve test scores, and we set goals and formed strategy.’’
Knief credits coaches like Dave Gibbs at Bellingham and Mark Champagne and Joe Faroba at Bridgewater as major assets in his development as a student-athlete. “Coach Gibbs taught me a lot about basketball,’’ Knief said. “Mark was a superb motivator, and Joe was excellent with X’s and O’s,’’ he said.
At BHS, Knief could rebound, shoot and dominate inside. As a junior, he played on a unit that featured Steve Bradbury and Jeff Black. A stylish frontcourt player displaying lots of passion and intensity, Knief helped that squad go 17-6. As a senior, he guided the Blackhawks to a 14-6 campaign.
“In my junior year, we beat Sacred Heart of Kingston and Cathedral of Boston in the tourney before losing to Wareham by a point,’’ Knief recalled. “Beating Cathedral was my top thrill. We were underdogs but we beat a city school by 21 (75-54). I played well, getting 14 points and 10 rebounds.’’
Knief’s most productive efforts came as a senior when he scored 30 points against Ashland and 24 against Westwood in the same week. A Tri Valley League all-star at Bellingham, Knief continued to excel in college, averaging 17 points his senior year.
“We had .500 teams in college,’’ he said. “One of my favorite times came as a freshman. We started 1-6 but won 14 of our next 20 games to finish at 15-12. It was also fun to play for three years with T.J. Chiappone, a teammate at Bellingham. He was a tremendous athlete, even leading us in rebounding one season while playing guard.’’
Knief speaks highly of his early years in Bellingham. “The school system prepared me well for a career in education,’’ he said. “I knew as a junior I wanted to teach history and coach. I admired all my teachers, especially in history, and all my memories of Bellingham are positive.’’
In his leisure time, Knief stays physically fit by jogging, working out and playing basketball in an adult league.
Calling his parents (Ed and Jane) role models for their encouragement, Knief rates Larry Bird as his favorite pro. “He was an all-around player who elevated all his teammates,’’ Knief said. “He made everyone around him better.’’
Knief also was an all-around talent who could subordinate his game to fit a particular situation. He was undoubtedly one of Bellingham’s all-time best student-athletes. And who knows? He could also be the first to have written a paper for master’s-degree credit on how athletic disciplines help an individual in the real world.
By the way, and not surprising, Knief’s grade for that paper was a straight “A.”

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