About Project ACHIEVE's Director
Howard M. Knoff, Ph.D. is the creator and Director of Project ACHIEVE. After 22 years as a university professor, he is now a full-time national consultant, author, and lecturer; and he has also been the Director of the State Improvement/Personnel Development Grant for the Arkansas Department of Education—Special Education Unit since 2003. Formerly a Professor of School Psychology at the University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) for 18 years and Director of its School Psychology Program for 12 years, Dr. Knoff was also the creator and Director of the Institute for School Reform, Integrated Services, and Child Mental Health and Educational Policy at USF. He also was an Assistant Professor of School Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany between 1981 and 1985, and a practicing school psychologist for four years prior to that.
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. Known for his research and writing in organizational change and school reform, consultation and intervention processes, social skills and behavior management training, personality assessment, and professional issues, Dr. Knoff has published 18 books, more than 75 articles or book chapters, and delivered over 2,500 papers or workshops nationally—including School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management: A Positive Behavioral Support Implementation Guide (Corwin Press, 2012), the Stop & Think Social Skills Program (Preschool through Middle School editions) through Cambium Learning/Sopris West Services, and the Stop & Think Parent Book: A Guide to Children’s Good Behavior through Project ACHIEVE Press.
Dr. Knoff was a recipient of the Lightner Witmer Award from the American Psychological Association's School Psychology Division in 1989 for early career contributions. During his career, through a number of collegial collaborations, he has been awarded over $21 million in external grants—including a foundation grant from the Metropolitan Life Foundation, and seven grants from the U.S. Department of Education (primarily from the Office of Special Education Programs). Dr. Knoff was the 21st President of the National Association of School Psychologists which now represents over 25,000 school psychologists nationwide. He has received numerous awards for both his professional service and his work through Project ACHIEVE.
Current Positions and Experience ...
As 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), Dr. Knoff has trained over 1,500 schools or school districts over a 25 year career. He is constantly sought out for his in-service presentations and his on-site consultation and technical assistance expertise in school improvement and school turn-around, the integration of general and special education services, implementing Positive Behavioral Support Systems, Response-to-Instruction and Intervention, behavioral interventions for challenging students, preventing and responding to teasing and bullying, and the implementation of school-based mental health systems.
As Director of the Arkansas State Improvement Grant (SIG; 2003-2009), and now the State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG; since 2009)--a five-year $1 million per year grant from the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, he helps to oversee the primary SPDG goals of: statewide implementation of Project ACHIEVE’s school improvement, strategic planning, and turn-around processes; Positive Behavioral Support System approaches; literacy and math interventions for at-risk, underachieving, and students with disabilities; Response-to-Instruction and Intervention/Closing the Achievement Gap initiatives; and special education and related service personnel recruitment, training, and retention.
Dr. Knoff is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist through the National Association of School Psychologists, a Licensed Psychologist in Arkansas, and he has been trained in both crisis intervention and mediation processes.
Previous and Notable National Impact...
From a consultation perspective, Dr. Knoff has a long history of working with schools, districts, and community and state agencies and organizations. He has worked with over 1,500 schools or school districts across the country as an organizational consultant or a technical consultant relative to the district- or building-based implementation of Project ACHIEVE or one of its seven components. He has consulted with such agencies as the Department of Defense Dependents School District (DoDDs), the Southern Poverty Law Center, a number of state departments of education—including the Alaska State Department of Education, and a number of legal advocacy firms relative to expert testimony on cases related to student rights and assurances. He has also served as an expert witness in federal court five times, in addition to working on many other state and local cases--typically for legal advocacy firms who are representing special education students or others in need. Finally, in 1991, Dr. Knoff went to Germany, as lead on a contract with DoDDs during Desert Storm, to help evaluate the U.S. school system there relative to its preparation to respond to mental health and other issues due to the Gulf War. All told, Dr. Knoff is constantly sought after for his expertise in a wide variety of school, psychological, and other professional issues.
Relative to school safety issues, Dr. Knoff has been a national expert for over 20 years. Included in some of his early work are the following: he was on the writing team that helped produce Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools, the document commissioned by the President 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. In addition, Dr. Knoff was invited to discuss both Project ACHIEVE and its safe schools component at the “National IDEA Summit,” sponsored by OSEP and held in Washington, DC in June, 2001. He also has discussed Project ACHIEVE at such national meetings as: (a) the 1999 Improving America's Schools Conference "Creating Safe Schools and Healthy Students Institute," sponsored by the U. S. Department of Education in Tampa, FL in October, 1999; (b) the Safe and Effective Schools for ALL Children: What Works! A National Teleconference sponsored by the U. S. Departments of Education and Justice and the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D. C. in September, 1999; (c) the National Education Association's Safe Schools Summit in Los Angeles in April, 1995: and (d) the National Education Goals Panel/National Association of Pupil Personnel Service Organization's "Safe Schools, Safe Communities" meeting in October, 1994. Dr. Knoff has been a featured speaker at numerous national and state conventions across the country; he provides frequent interviews in all areas of the media; and he was highlighted on an ABC News' 20/20 program on "Being Teased, Taunted, and Bullied" on April 28th, 1995.