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Signing the dotted line: McKnight signs on as teacher at IES

On Wednesday, Ironton Elementary School had a signing.

Not for an athlete, but for their newest teacher.

Cory McKnight, of Ironton, was hired to be the intervention specialist for the third and fourth grades.

“I will be teaching kids with independent education plans, kids that may have specific learning disabilities,” he explained; adding that he will help them stay in the main classrooms and at times, pull them out for additional resources.

He was an aide at a different school and worked with a student with autism and a student with extreme behaviors.

While most might find that a tough job, McKnight loved it.

“I knew I wanted to go on and be an intervention specialist and work with these kids all the time,” McKnight said.

McKnight graduated from Ironton High School in 2008 and then went to Shawnee State University in Portsmouth for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

He said it is a little weird coming back to a school as a teacher instead of a student.

“It is, in some ways,” McKnight said. “I coached at the high school for several years, so I know those teachers. But coming back to the elementary school and being around some of the middle school teachers who taught me, it has been interesting going from student to colleague.”

He said he does have a bit of a problem calling former teachers by their first name.

“I don’t. I call my coaches “coach” and, Mr. Joe Rowe, he was my principal at the high school and now he is my boss here at the elementary school. I still call him Mr. Rowe, that’s what I know him as. It’s like his first name doesn’t exist to me.”

He said he is looking forward to meeting his new students when school resumes on Aug. 16.

“That’s always the first big step,” McKnight said. “I’m responsible for their paperwork, for their education. So meeting those kids and learning who they are, learning who their families are. That is what I am looking forward to and helping them get to their next grade and meeting their goals.”

He said he is excited by working at Ironton Elementary School.

“This is exactly where I wanted to be,” McKnight said.

IES assistant principal David Ashworth said he set up the teacher signing like the ones that are done for high school athletes going on to their college careers because “it is a really big deal. It’s a big deal for the teacher, because they are on an adventure for the next three decades of their life and where they commit to is, to their new home.”

He said it was a “super big deal” for the school because “we are extremely happy to land someone like Cory McKnight for this position. Because of the value and love we have for our kids, who we have attending to them, educating them and leading them matters.”