The Journey Makes The Man

Middle school principal shares life story

Danny Knowles as the Principal of Marine Creek Middle School

Danny Knowles as the Principal of Marine Creek Middle School

Gracie Knowles, Reporter

Danny Knowles at age 2

When a student is sent to the principal’s office at Marine Creek Middle School, they expect to get chewed out. They are prepared to run into another clean-cut authority figure who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a rough home life. What they get, though, is someone who is understanding, calm, and ready for their side of the story. They aren’t expecting that response from a strong and stern Danny Knowles.

But that’s because of what they don’t know. 

None of them know about his mother, Louise, and how she fell for a World War II veteran and started a family at a very young age. 

None of them know about his father, who was mentally ill and both physically and verbally abusive to his entire family.

Danny Knowles at age 12

None of them know how many times Danny was hospitalized because of the emotional wreckage. He was the one to get his mother to finally understand that they needed out of the situation they were in.  

None of them know how many times Danny sat in the back of a police car. At only 12 years old, he was threatened by a jail sentence for skipping school so often.

None of them know about his smoking addiction. He started when he was 14 and didn’t quit for another 14 years.  

His students all think they know the man they call intimidating. The one wearing suits in an office lined with teaching awards. The one who hands out suspension sentences with a stern face and an all-too-calm demeanor. The one who’s actually kind of cool, for a principal.  

What they don’t know is how much his heart hurts for them. How some days, he comes home on the verge of tears, silently praying for all of his kids. He feels so deeply for them because he was them. He strives every day to create more success stories for every single student, because he knows better than anyone just how possible it is to turn a life around.

Staff of Marine Creek Middle School under principal Danny Knowles

Gracie Knowles is a cub reporter for the CincoPesoPress. This is her first story for the paper. Danny Knowles is her father.