About Project ACHIEVE's Director
Howard M. Knoff, Ph.D. (Howie) is a nationally-known innovator and hands-on practitioner in the areas of:
- School Improvement and Turn-Around, Strategic Planning and Organizational Development
- School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management (PBIS/PBSS)
- Differentiated Academic Instruction and Academic Interventions for Struggling Students
- Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Instruction and Strategic and Intensive Interventions for Challenging Students
- Multi-tiered (RtI) Services, Supports, and Program
- Effective Professional Development and On-Site Consultation and Technical Assistance
Howie is the creator and Director of Project ACHIEVE, a nationally-known school effectiveness/ school improvement program that has been designated a National Model Prevention Program by the U. S. Department of Health & Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Over the past 30 years, Howie has implemented Project ACHIEVE components in thousands of schools or school districts—training in every state in the country. He has also been awarded over $21 million in federal, state, or foundation grants for this work, and recently received two School Climate Transformation grants and one Elementary and Secondary Counseling grant from the federal government to support work in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Kentucky.
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Howie also served as the director of the State Improvement Grant (SIG)/State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG) for the Arkansas Department of Education—Special Education Unit from 2003 through 2015. In this position, he was directly responsible to the Director of Special Education for the state of Arkansas, and involved in many Departmental policy and procedure discussions and deliberations. In addition to administering the $12 million received from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs to implement these grants, he and his staff have scaled-up critical Project ACHIEVE components across Arkansas focusing on:
- Statewide implementation of Positive Behavioral Support (PBIS) Systems;
- Literacy and mathematics interventions for at-risk, underachieving, and students with disabilities;
- Response-to-Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) and Multi-Tiered Systems (MTSS) of support to help close the achievement gap, reduce disproportionality, and speed essential academic and behavioral interventions to needy students; and
- Sustained and real school improvement for Priority, Focus, and other schools or districts
Significantly, Project ACHIEVE (through the SPDG grant) was written into Arkansas’ approved Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Flexibility process as the school improvement model for all Focus schools in the state of Arkansas.
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Before his work in Arkansas, Howie was a university professor for 22 years (leaving as a tenured Full Professor) at two Research I institutions—the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, and the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY-A). As a Professor of School Psychology at USF (1985-2003), he was the Director of its School Psychology Program for 12 years, leading that program to full accreditation status with the American Psychological Association at the Ph.D. level, and the National Association of School Psychologists at the Ph.D. and Ed.S. levels. He also established and directed the Institute for School Reform, Integrated Services, and Child Mental Health and Educational Policy at USF for over a decade.
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Dr. Knoff received his Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in 1980, and has worked as a practitioner, consultant, licensed private psychologist, and university professor since 1978. Dr. Knoff is widely respected for his research and writing on school reform and organizational change, consultation and intervention processes, social skills and behavior management training, Response-to-Intervention, and professional issues. He has authored or co-authored 18 books, published over 100 articles and book chapters, and delivered over 2,500 papers and workshops nationally—including the Stop & Think Social Skills Program (preschool through middle school editions) and the Stop & Think Parent Book: A Guide to Children’s Good Behavior through Cambium Learning/Sopris West Publishers and Project ACHIEVE Press, respectively.
Among his recent books are the following:
- Knoff, H.M., & Dyer, C. (2014). RTI2—Response to Instruction and Intervention: Implementing Successful Academic and Behavioral Intervention Systems. Rexford, NY: International Center for Leadership in Education.
- Knoff, H.M. (2012). School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management: A Positive Behavioral Support Implementation Guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
- Knoff, H.M., Blanchard, K., Covey, S., & Tracy, B. (2010). Discover Your Inner Strength: Cutting Edge Growth Strategies from the Industry’s Leading Experts. Sevierville, TN: Insight Publications.
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Dr. Knoff has a long history of working with schools, districts, and community and state agencies and organizations. For example, he has consulted with a number of state departments of education, the Department of Defense Dependents School District during Desert Storm in 1991, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has also served as an expert witness in federal court five times, in addition to working on many other state and local cases—largely for legal advocacy firms who are representing special education and other students in need. Specific to school safety issues, Dr. Knoff was on the writing team that helped produce Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools, the document commissioned by President Clinton that was sent to every school in the country in the Fall of 1998; and he participated in a review capacity on the follow-up document, Safeguarding our Children: An Action Guide.
A recipient of the Lightner Witmer Award from the American Psychological Association's School Psychology Division for early career contributions in 1990, and over $21 million in external grants during his career, Dr. Knoff is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (School Psychology Division), a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, a Licensed Psychologist in Arkansas, and he has been trained in both crisis intervention and mediation processes. Frequently interviewed in all areas of the media, Dr. Knoff has been on the NBC Nightly News, numerous television and radio talk shows, and he was highlighted on an ABC News' 20/20 program on "Being Teased, Taunted, and Bullied." Finally, Dr. Knoff was the 21st President of the National Association of School Psychologists which now represents more than 25,000 school psychologists nationwide.
Dr. Knoff is constantly sought after for his expertise in a wide variety of school, psychological, and other professional issues.