MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries, Inc. and the MERS Goodwill Excel Centers Announce Dr. Eric D. Knost as New Superintendent

Dr. Eric D. KnostST. LOUIS, MO (June 15, 2022) —MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries, Inc. and the MERS/Missouri Goodwill Excel Centers are proud to announce that Dr. Eric D. Knost has accepted the position of Superintendent. He will be filling the roll previously held by Mark Arens, who was recently named as president and CEO of MERS Goodwill. Knost will officially begin the Superintendent position in August. The MERS/Missouri Goodwill Excel Centers are accredited tuition-free high schools that provide adults with the opportunity to earn their high school diploma. MERS Goodwill operates four Goodwill Excel Centers in Missouri, with locations in Springfield, St. Louis, Poplar Bluff, and Columbia.

Dr. Knost has thirty-four years’ experience in the education field, and seventeen years of experience as a superintendent and deputy superintendent in three school districts. He returns to his home of Missouri after serving three years as Superintendent at the Lewis Central Community School District in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Knost successfully united and led the schools through the unprecedented pandemic while still moving the District forward.

“Eric has devoted his entire career to the education system and has shown his dedication to helping students excel,” said Mark Arens, CEO and President of MERS Goodwill. “We are confident in his experience and believe his values in advocacy and leadership are in line with ours. He will be a great leader and example for all of our MERS/Missouri Goodwill Excel Centers.”

Prior to his position in Iowa, Knost served five years as Superintendent at the Rockwood School District. Rockwood is the third largest district in Missouri consisting of nineteen elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools and two early childhood centers as well as a center for creative learning and an independent learning center. He also served as Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of the Mehlville School District.

His dedication to the education field both refining his teaching and providing leadership guidance to aspiring principals and educators was honed as an Adjunct Professor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, where he also pursued his Master’s in Education.

Knost graduated from Webster University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music/Education. He obtained his master’s degree in Education Administration from Lindenwood University in 1997 and completed the PhD program at St. Louis University with a doctorate in Education Administration.  Knost will reside in St. Louis with his wife, Julie, the Interim Director for the Alliance for Healthy Communities within the Parkway School District. They have two adult daughters, who are also educators in Missouri.

“I am extremely honored and excited to join the team of educators leading the efforts with the Excel Centers in Missouri. I have served throughout my career as an advocate to help all students thrive in this world,” said Dr. Eric D. Knost. “As I return home to Missouri, having the opportunity to continue my advocacy in a slightly different role seems absolutely perfect for my next chapter. I am beyond thrilled, and I am eager to begin this work.”

Helping to remove barriers such as limited childcare and transportation, the MERS/Missouri Goodwill Excel Centers are available free of cost to enrolled adults who wish to obtain their high school diploma and provide drop-in childcare centers as well as transportation assistance. The Excel Center’s also provide small class sizes, flexible schedules, and students may earn college credits and a variety of industry-recognized certifications in order to increase their earning potential. In total, the Goodwill Excel Centers have graduated 642 students though its four high schools since opening in 2018.