D70 Rockland principal named new Antioch D34 Human Resources director

  • Jeff Knapp high-fives students at Rockland School.

    Jeff Knapp high-fives students at Rockland School. Courtesy of Libertyville Elementary Schools 70

  • While principal at Rockland, Jeff Knapp lost a wager with PE teacher Mike Kolar that the St. Louis Cardinals would beat the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won and Knapp made good on his bet by kissing a goat that Kolar brought to school.

    While principal at Rockland, Jeff Knapp lost a wager with PE teacher Mike Kolar that the St. Louis Cardinals would beat the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs won and Knapp made good on his bet by kissing a goat that Kolar brought to school. Courtesy of Libertyville Elementary Schools 70

  • Jeff Knapp reads to students. After nine years as principal of Rockland School, Knapp is moving on to become director of human resources for Antioch School District 34.

    Jeff Knapp reads to students. After nine years as principal of Rockland School, Knapp is moving on to become director of human resources for Antioch School District 34. Courtesy of Libertyville Elementary Schools 70

 
Submitted by Libertyville Elementary Schools 70
Updated 7/6/2020 11:28 AM

After nine years at the helm of Rockland School, Principal Jeff Knapp is moving onto an administrative position with Antioch School District 34.

Knapp, 43, will be the new director of human resources for the kindergarten through eighth-grade school district, which has five schools and 2,600 students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Knapp came to Rockland School after a series of five principals, including an interim, led the school over a 15-year period. Libertyville School District 70 was looking for stability in hiring Knapp, who quickly became the caring and trusted leader the school needed.

"The hardest part of me leaving is that it's very hard to say goodbye to all the great relationships I've made with students, parents, and staff," said Knapp, who was the first male principal for the school in more than 25 years.

"This is such a tight-knit community. Everyone loves this school, the red doors, and all that it means. This place is very special. It is hard to walk away from."

A popular principal who brought the staff together to unify the school, Knapp guided the school in gaining its second U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon award. While at Rockland, he added a Lake County Principal of the Year award in 2012-13 and a communication award from the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association, and was president of the Illinois Principal's Association during the 2018-19 school year.

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Staff embraced Knapp because they knew he cared for them and always had their best interest at heart.

"Every single day we were working together for the students," Knapp said. "This place is more than just a job. There is so much more here; it is a family. We come together every day. There are good times, there are challenges, but every day we come together like a family and do the best we can for the students. That's where it starts and ends."

After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree to teach social studies, Knapp spent five years as a middle school teacher, moved to be a middle school assistant principal and then an elementary principal in Community Consolidated School District 46 in Grayslake.

Knapp has a master's degree in school counseling from Concordia University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from the University of Illinois, and an administrative certificate in educational leadership.

Moving to become a director of human resources is a natural step for Knapp, who received his Human Capital Leaders in Education Certificate in 2018.

"I took the next step to continue to grow," Knapp said of being interested in human resources. "It's a natural progression of wanting to tap into people. I'm looking forward to what's ahead. It's exciting."

Knapp is one of four new administrators in the school district.

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