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Advisor Spotlight: Catherine Knepp

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Frontline’s newest Analytics Advisor: Expert in Frontline’s Financial Planning & Budget Management Analytics  

In K-12 education, where every dollar counts, navigating budgetary challenges can feel like solving a complex puzzle. However, districts are finding a new ally in the form of innovative budget management and financial planning tools. At Frontline Education, Analytics advisors are hard at work finding ways to improve tools to help districts business officials simplify their financial processes, communicate transparently to stakeholders, and maintain legal compliance.  

Equipped with field experience and tool expertise, Frontline’s Analytics Advisors are uniquely positioned to empower districts to enhance their analytics processes. Leveraging a deep understanding of their clients’ experiences, they work to optimize Frontline’s analytics tools, aiming to make them true solutions for common district data problems.  

This spring, Catherine Knepp joined the Analytics Advisory team. We sat with her to talk about her path from middle school teacher to district CFO to Frontline’s Analytics Advisor. Read on to see what she had to say. 

4 interesting

facts about


  1. Before becoming a financial consultant, Catherine taught middle school Latin and technology. 
  2. In her last job, she was the Director of the Texas Senate’s Committee on Education. In her role, she advised Texas State Senator, Brandon Creighton, current chair of the K-12 Education Committee. 
  3. Right now, she’s working on a Texas-specific revenue calculator to help Financial Planning & Budget Management Analytics clients in Texas districts drastically shorten their time spent on data input to insight. 
  4. Catherine’s interest in educational policy started early. Her parents were both teachers and her mom was a member of the school board when she was young. 

It really stems from my experiences in the classroom. Standing before a group of  students with limited resources, I often questioned where the funding for our classroom came from and why it seemed insufficient. That curiosity led me to delve deeper into understanding how districts allocate their resources and whether there might be areas of improvement. Transitioning from the classroom to my roles in district finance, I’ve been able to bring a unique perspective to the table, combining firsthand experience with a keen awareness of the broader systemic challenges facing education. 

For the past seven years, I have been deeply involved in school district finance. My most recent role was with the Texas State Legislature, where I gained a comprehensive understanding of how legislative actions impact school budgets and compliance requirements. Prior to that, I served as the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations at Dripping Springs. It was there that I first used Frontline’s Financial Planning & Budget Management Analytics tools. Having access to historical financial data – five years’ worth – some of which was compiled before I took on the role, helped me better understand the financial state of the district. This experience showed me the importance of having tools that can collect and organize data efficiently, especially for districts experiencing turnover. Before taking on that role, I worked as a consultant, helping districts and other clients manage their financial data. 

I served as the Director of the Texas Senate’s Committee on Education. I worked closely with Senator Brandon Creighton, who chairs the K-12 Education Committee. My role as his education advisor involved analyzing and shaping legislation affecting K-12 districts. I am well-versed in the workings of the Capitol, tuned in to ongoing changes, and maintain strong connections with key individuals who continue to play important roles there.  


Managing money as a school district is deeply connected to the context of our environment. Effective planning hinges on anticipating what lies ahead, which requires a solid understanding of the legislative climate. And so with my understanding of that climate, I am poised to coach districts, aid them in the decision-making process, and help them communicate effectively with their stakeholders.  

To that end, at Frontline, our strength lies in translating complex data into accessible formats. Our dashboards and models generate visually engaging reports tailored for board members and other stakeholders. What sets us apart is our ability to bridge the gap between budget officials and community members. Our dashboards and models empower business officials to articulate their district’s financial status and why it matters to the community. It helps them explain what their money is doing and what it can’t do. There are limits to everything, including school budgets. So, it’s important that district business officials have the tools they need to clearly communicate the levers behind budget limitations to the people who are extremely impassioned – and rightfully so — about maximizing district resources to create positive change for kids. We have the tools that can help business officials transform their numbers into a story that informs local citizens, the superintendent, the board, the people who need to know what’s happening – to communicate important facts and truths and maybe even dispel rumors. 


With the current financial challenges facing districts, especially in Texas where state investment is falling short, there’s a real urgency to find innovative solutions. Having used tools like Frontline’s Financial Planning & Budget Management Analytics myself, I knew firsthand their potential to provide a much-needed edge. These tools offer districts the ability to tackle budgetary obstacles without the need for additional hires. It was this that inspired me to join the team – that and the goal of enhancing the product to better serve the districts’ needs. My prior work experience sets me up to truly empathize with district business officials. Having been in their position during a challenging time, I understand the answers they’re seeking from Frontline and recognize the incredibly huge impact the tool can have. It not only brings peace of mind to them as individuals but also delivers answers that resonate on a much larger scale, affecting every taxpayer and student in the local area. That’s huge. So, getting numbers right can mean avoiding community crisis.  


Currently, most revenue calculators on the market require extensive data entry and a solid grasp of the data you’re inputting. Many districts resort to Excel spreadsheets, which demand hours of manual data entry and produce estimates only as reliable as the data entered. Essentially, the output is directly related to the input effort and accuracy.

The advantage with Frontline is our aim to streamline the process from the get-go. As experts, we know what fields should go into those boxes already, and so we plan to automate data entry by pre-populating fields with relevant information, saving users time and effort. Our tool aims to provide estimates with minimal input, offering a quicker, more efficient solution. In essence, it’s a revenue calculator designed to simplify and expedite the process for business officials in Texas districts. 


Frontline’s Analytics Advisors prove that we’re more than just solution providers; we’re dedicated to fostering transparent communication, ensuring legal compliance, and simplifying financial processes for district business officials. With advisors like Catherine on board, we’re poised to advance our mission of empowering districts with tools that streamline processes, drive efficiency, and ultimately, enhance student outcomes. 

Ellen Agnello

Ellen is a graduate assistant at the University of Connecticut. She is a former high school English language arts teacher and holds a Master’s Degree in literacy education. She is working on a dissertation toward a Ph.D. in Educational Curriculum and Instruction.