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Natisha Knight, 39 

Program Manager at Vision to Learn

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Scott Elmquist

In August 2017, Natisha Knight suddenly found out that her daughter's preschool would close before the year ended. She began working to keep the doors open at this Montessori school run by the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton. As a single parent and former teacher, Knight immediately recognized the importance of an affordable yet quality educational space.

Luckily, others tuned in and pulled together with Knight to create a nonprofit called the Fulton Montessori School. Nine months later, on Sept. 4, the school opened.

"It was not easy and I look back now through everything we went through and realize I must have been crazy," Knight says. "But I'm glad I pushed through because the school is really going to be a benefit for the Fulton community."

Growing up in the Bronx, New York, projects, Knight and her immediate family didn't have much. But they would go to Queens and visit her grandparents' house on the weekends, where she got to see the world from another point of view. 

"I pushed myself to be the best I could be and escape those circumstances and doubters," Knight says.

Knight is currently a program manager for Vision to Learn, a nonprofit that provides eye exams and glasses for youth free of charge. She is also the president of the Fulton Montessori board of directors, a board member at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts and a member on the associate board at the Children's Museum of Richmond.

"I was one of those kids who wasn't supposed to be successful," she says. "So I make sure that any individual I come in contact with knows their worth and potential."

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