Tuesday, November 11, 2014

EDITORIAL >> Impressive new board

The state Board of Education will meet Thursday, when it is expected to approve a proposed seven-member Jacksonville School Board. The names for the interim board were submitted by a committee headed by state Rep. Mark Perry (D-Jacksonville), which also included Sen. Linda Chesterfield, Sen. Jane English, Rep. Doug House, all of North Little Rock, along with Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher and Rep.-elect Bob Johnson, also of Jacksonville.

The five men and two women being proposed to the state Board of Education represent a cross-section of the community. There are five black members and two white men on the list, all of them well qualified.

The proposed board includes Dr. Robert Price, who retired after 35 years as a professor of family medicine and regional programs and director of quality improvement and research for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Price also worked for the U.S. Office of Education, where he was involved in teacher education programs in 15 western states and several hundred school districts and boards.

Others proposed for the board:

• LaConda Watson, a district sales manager for Hewlett Packard’s mid-Atlantic region, will take time out from her Ph.D. program to help get the district off to a good start within two years.

• Daniel Gray, the local realtor who served as chairman of the Jacksonville Education Corps during the critical last two years of the three-decade long effort.

• Ronald McDaniel, a retired commander of the Arkansas National Guard’s 189th Maintenance Wing and an active community volunteer, is on the Pulaski County Special School District advisory board, which has taken the place of the disbanded PCSSD School Board

• Carol Miles, a Jacksonville High School graduate herself, is the Park University campus center director at the Little Rock Air Force Base Joint Education Center.

• Richard Moss is a student success coach and adjunct instructor in American government at Pulaski Technical College.

• Norris Crain, a retired Air Force educator, was an education and training manager at Little Rock Air Force Base and various other locations around the country.

Once the interim board is approved, the group will begin working out details for the new district, including hiring staff and calling for school elections as soon as next fall. Presumably, many of the interim board members will be candidates for the elected board.

The school district could then get off the ground in 2016. It’s an auspicious start.