Meet our Executive Directors...
Bess & Chuck Knight are the Executive Directors of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra Foundation.
Bess has been a lover of the violin since she started playing the instrument at 8 years of age, thanks to the Los Angeles School District’s then commitment and dedication to musical education in the classroom. Bess continued to perform with school orchestras through high school graduation and beyond. She had the privilege of performing with the Los Angeles School District Honors Orchestra at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the age of 14, which was an incredible highlight of her high school experience.
Bess holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and Family Counseling from California State University Dominguez Hills. Her position as a Foster Care and Adoption Social Worker spanned 20-years, where she supervised hundreds of children placed in out-of-home care throughout her illustrious career. Her greatest joy was helping families realize their goal of adoption, and working collaboratively with the large network of social workers, attorneys and resource agencies, helping to facilitate countless ‘forever homes’ for children throughout Santa Clarita, Antelope Valley and the greater Los Angeles area.
Bess resumed playing the violin after a two decade ‘hiatus’. She began taking private lessons, and through her teacher, SCVYO’s Julissa Bozman, was introduced to the musical world she loved and missed. Bess calls herself “the do-over girl” as she reclaims her musical journey she began as a child. She now performs with symphony orchestras in the Santa Clarita Valley and has been a requested artist on several recordings. She was asked to join the SCVYO Board of Directors in 2010, transitioning to Executive Director, along with her husband, in 2015. This long-standing affiliation with the Board has taken Bess full circle in her life’s passion of helping children fulfill their personal dreams and realizing their goals.
Chuck holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from CSU Northridge. He taught woodworking and industrial arts at Hawthorne High School for 40 years, as well as furniture and cabinet making at El Camino College for 15 years. Chuck also served as Dean and Associate Principal at HHS. He retired in 2013. Chuck’s dedication and commitment to teaching students the ability to hon creative self-expression by using their mind, hands and heart has left an indelible impression on thousands of students who have crossed the threshold of his woodshop throughout the years. Working in a community that has been historically underserved, countless number of his students have told Chuck they have secured well-paying, respected jobs in the trade industries; and attribute their success to the skills acquired and the gentle guidance while under the tutelage of “Mr. Knight”.
Chuck is also a licensed contractor and builder. He loves making personalized gifts for friends and family. His trademark is a handcrafted oak rocking horse that he makes for a child’s first birthday. These become treasured family heirlooms.
Bess and Chuck have been married for 30 years, and reside in the Santa Clarita Valley. They enjoy spending time with family and friends, music, hiking, traveling and their fun-loving English Springer Spaniel pup, Katy.