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Lockhart ISD CFO cruises into retirement

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Over the last 25 years Lockhart ISD’s finances have been under the watchful eye of Chief Financial Officer Tina Knudsen. She seen the district through leadership changes, technological upgrades, and watched a generation of Lockhart students come in as children and graduate as adults.


Regardless of the circumstances the nation’s economy threw at her, she kept the books balanced and the records meticulously kept. During her tenure LISD has earned a “Superior” rating from the Texas Education Agency for 18 consecutive years.


Knudsen completed a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, a report less than 10-percent of school districts in Texas even bother completing. Her extra effort earned the school district a Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting for 15 consecutive years.


But after 25 years of reports and calculations, it’s now time to bid farewell.
At Monday’s school board meeting Knudsen was recognized for her 25 years of service, one day before her official retirement. The pandemic prevented a big celebration, but current and former colleagues were able to participate in a video tribute shown during the meeting.


“I think her honesty and transparency are why we have been so successful in our finance department,” Superintendent Mark Estrada said in the video. “Her commitment to this community, to the taxpayers, is extremely deep, and every decision she makes is in the best interest of the Lockhart ISD community.”


Now-retired LISD Operations Superintendent Phil McBride beamed about Knudsen’s ethical standards, noting the importance of setting that example for the staff.


“Tina would not cut a corner to save her life, and in a finance director, that is a trait you absolutely must have,” McBride said.


In an interview with LPR, Knudsen humbly refused to accept all the credit for nearly two decades of awards.


“It’s not just about the finance department and what all I do,” she said. “While everyone looks to me for that rating, it’s a team effort. I couldn’t get it done without the support of the superintendent, and the school board.”


Knudsen and her husband of 37 years are avid cruisers. They had originally planned a cruise to the Caribbean for this month to celebrate the retirement, but it was postponed until next year due to COVID.


Until then the couple will stay state-side, visiting national parks in Montana, and their three daughters as much as the pandemic will allow.


December 15 marks her official retirement. But it won’t be the last time you will see Knudsen at an LISD school.


“I’m not going away. I have a daughter who is a teacher here and a grandchild in Lockhart public schools with another one coming up the way soon,” she said on Monday night. “I plan to volunteer when COVID is over.”

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