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In honoring Joan Kniss, the writing is on the wall

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Former School District 27J teacher and board of education member Joan Kniss was honored at Brighton High School April 12, when the library was rededicated the Joan Kniss Library and Resources Center in her honor. Family, friends and community members gathered to celebrate Kniss’s legacy with School District 27J as well as her dedication to serving as a leader the community. 

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Kniss worked as a teacher in the district for 33 years before she retired in 2005. While she was employed with the district, she was honored as Colorado Teacher of the Year in 2001 and was honored twice as a Colorado Association of School Boards McGuffy Award Winner. 

Superintendent Chris Fiedler said Kniss recently wrote a grant for a little library to be placed in front of her house, and that its only fitting for a big library to be named after her. 

Longtime colleague and friend Jackie Swan said Kniss has always been about books and that when teachers in the English department retired, she started a book club that’s still going strong seven years later.

“I think when the community, when they pass by and they see her name, they’ll say we’re so lucky to have Joan Kniss because she touched us and showed us just why so many people should have value and purpose in education and she’s really changed our lives,” she said. 

Kniss — who was elected to Brighton City Council this past November after her term as a 27J Board member expired — resides in Brighton with her husband, Adam, and together they have six children and 17 grandchildren, five of whom are students in the 27J School District.