Governor Larry Hogan announced Friday the appointment of Carla Lynn Knight, a Centreville attorney, to Judge of the Circuit Court of Queen Anne’s County.

“The appointment of qualified individuals to serve across our state’s justice system is paramount to upholding our responsibilities to the people of Maryland and the rule of law,” Hogan said in a statement announcing the appointment. “I have confidence that Ms. Knight will be a strong advocate for the law and will serve the citizens of Queen Anne’s County admirably.”

“I was notified by the Governor’s Office on Friday and I was surprised and very happy,” she said in a brief phone interview with the Spy.

Knight will be sworn in on Jan. 31 to replace retiring Judge Thomas G. Ross.  She said she learned of the vacancy in September and was encouraged by many people to apply.

She rose to the top of six applicants after a series of interviews, and three names were forwarded to Hogan. She will be the first woman judge of the court since its founding in 1706.

The appointment of Knight is interim. She will have to run in the 2020 primary and general elections. In Maryland, circuit court judges are elected to 15-year terms.

Knight said she will have to close her law firm in Centreville, which has focused on family law for 17 years.

She has worked for Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services on juvenile matters, termination of parental rights–and she has served as executive director of the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, Inc.

Before starting her own practice, she was an associate attorney with Foster, Braden, Thompson, and Palmer. She is a member of the Centreville Rotary Club and serves on the board of St. Martin’s Ministries.

She is a 1988 graduate of Washington College and earned her law degree from Widner University in 1999.

Knight is married with two children and two grandchildren. She said her family is “excited and very proud” of her appointment.

“It not only changes my life, it changes my family’s life as well,” she said. “My family has been part of Queen Anne’s County going back to the [17th Century].”