Margaret Knowlton, Director of School Age Programs at Meeting Street believes that all children excel in an inclusive educational setting specifically designed to meet the needs of every student - with or without special needs. As Ms. Knowlton states, “Research supports that students of varying cognitive and physical ability learn best side by side, every day, all day. All children benefit academically and socially as a result of additional support and tailored instruction.”
Ms. Knowlton’s career choice in education was greatly influenced by her father, who was a teacher. While in college, she took a short detour in her educational pursuits due to the lack of jobs in Massachusetts at the time and decided to focus on business. However, that was short lived. When she became a teacher, she became actively involved in her school community with the help of some great mentors. She knew she wanted to be a part of a learning community where each and every child is appreciated for who they are. She believes that all children have the right to a high-quality education provided in a safe, caring and nurturing environment, and that all of the adults that work in the organization, take their role very seriously and make sure that each student’s individual learning goals and needs are met. It is also important for her to work with a group of professionals who learn together and collaborate so that they can be innovative and provide the best possible education for their students.
The Grace and Carter Schools reside on Meeting Street’s campus in Providence, while the Schwartz School resides at the campus in Dartmouth, MA. Meeting Street, now in its 71st year, is a non-profit agency where children of all ages and abilities receive individualized attention from highly trained, dedicated educators, therapists, and staff who work as a team, sharing strategies and identifying solutions to bring out the best in each and every student. As Ms. Knowlton states, “At Meeting Street, we believe in the power of inclusion and we foster that philosophy in all that we do. Our educational goal is to create a purposeful environment, and ultimately a world, where individuals of all abilities learn, play, work, and live together.”
Ms. Knowlton’s leadership is reflected in Meeting Street’s values: Respect, Compassion, Integrity, Inclusivity, and Excellence. These distinct values are deeply rooted in Meeting Street’s mission where the organization empowers children and their families to thrive by working with others for the development of the whole child. Ms. Knowlton’s leadership role among the schools is highly recognized among her peers, staff, families at the schools, and the community at large.
Ms. Knowlton is originally from Pittsfield, Massachusetts and moved to Rhode Island over 27 years ago and joined Meeting Street in 2011. She is married to her husband Steve for 11 years and they have 4 grown step-children (all married) and have 4 grandchildren. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Saint Michael’s College, in Colchester, Vermont and received her Masters of Education in School Administration at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island.
Her honors and awards include: Nationally Distinguished Principal and Rhode Island Elementary Principal of the Year, 2006-2007, The Hutchinson-Babbitt Award, Center for Dynamic Learning in 2013, and the Recognition Program Award, East Providence School Department Local Advisory Committee for Special Education in 2013. Margaret Knowlton is a Leading Lady and a true leader in inclusive education.