Dave Stevenson "Steve" McKnight III, 65, of Atlanta, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 1, 2018, surrounded by his family.
Steve was a gifted and talented teacher who was loved by his students and respected by his colleagues. He was inspired to teach because of several excellent teachers who encouraged him as a student. His great passion and dedication to teaching and learning was rewarded in knowing he had made a difference in the lives of children. He was a lifelong learner, and was always eager to learn something new each day from his students and colleagues. He saw giftedness in every child.
Steve was born in Chattanooga on Aug. 20, 1952, to Dave and Maxine McKnight. He was a 1970 graduate of Hixson High School where his love of choral and band music began. He earned a B.S. in Music and Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he was a member of the Pride of the Southland Marching band and the UT Singers. He received a master's of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville.
He held a Career Ladder lll award from the state of Tennessee Education Department. Additionally, he had completed four years of Pastoral Studies while in Atlanta. In Chattanooga, he began his elementary teaching career at Sunnyside Elementary. He then became a founding faculty member at the nation's first public K-12 Paideia School, The Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.
While there, Steve was the first recipient of the Metropolitan Opera's Creating Original Opera grant and was able to study at the Met in New York. He then spent another year working with 4th and 5th graders creating and writing the original opera "Spilled Beans". He became a founding faculty member of The Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts where he taught computer technology. He later served as assistant principal of Chattanooga Middle School before moving to Atlanta.
In Atlanta, he conducted technology staff development for the Fulton County School as Technology Specialist for Haynes Bridge Middle School, as well as Atlanta Public schools when he began working at Morningside Elementary. While at Morningside he was awarded a Reinventing Education Technology Grant from IBM and spent three years working to help develop software for the classroom. He received his endorsement in teaching Challenge and Giftedness from the Atlanta Public School System. He taught for 15 years at Morningside before applying to Springdale Park Elementary, from which he retired in 2017.
Steve was a gifted and talented vocalist known for his rich, baritone voice. He loved musical theatre, and loved to perform. In Chattanooga, he was a member of the Downtown Cabaret, the Chattanooga Bach Choir, the Chattanooga Opera Association, and performed in numerous stage productions at the Chattanooga Little Theatre and Backstage Theatre for which he won many awards. To those who knew him best, he was best known for his hilarious sense of humor, and will be remembered by his friends and family through countless "Steve Stories." He was deeply loved by many, and will be greatly missed by all.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dave and Maxine McKnight of Hixson; paternal grandparents, Dave and Lucinda McKnight of Gallatin, Tn.; maternal grandparents, Melba Boone, Gallatin, Tn., and Arthur Pilkinton of Chattanooga.
He is survived by his spouse, Donnie Davis of Atlanta, sisters and brothers, Carol (Walter) Hawkins of Signal Mountain; Donna McKnight of Signal Mountain; Cheryl Pruett of Spring City, Tn.; Cindye (David) Valentine of Hixson; Mike (Dora) McKnight of Hixson; several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.
Memorial services will be held in Atlanta at the Grady High School auditorium on Tuesday, July 24, at 6:30 p.m., and in Chattanooga at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences auditorium, on Saturday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Atlanta Pet Rescue or the no-kill animal shelter of your choice.