Longtime teacher brings educator’s perspective to Bald Knob School Board

By Lisa Burnett Published November 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Jeannine Jolly of Bald Knob is the newest member of the Bald Knob School Board. She was an elementary-school teacher for almost 28 years and has been retired for two years.

BALD KNOB — Jeannine Jolly has spent 37 1/2 years as a teacher, and 27 of those were in Bald Knob. She is now using her many years of teaching children to help them in a different way — by serving on the Bald Knob School Board.

This is only her second school year to be retired.

“I have grandkids in the schools here,” Jolly said. “I love the kids, and I love the people who work there, and I wanted to give back to them.”

She’s seen the school district from the perspective of the classroom and is now seeing the district from the board table. Her main concern is the students, and she wants to make sure they have the tools necessary to get a quality education.

Jolly was elected to the school board on Sept. 17 and attended her first meeting Sept. 23.

“I didn’t realize that school board members have to have professional development [hours],” Jolly said. “We have to have six hours a year. It’s nothing like when I was a teacher.”

Though she’s been a board member for just more than a month, Jolly said, she is learning a lot about how the school district as a whole works.

“I wanted to be a part of the decisions that concern my grandkids,” Jolly said. “I have a daughter who teaches, and I’m really concerned for all of the school employees.”

Jolly said there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a school board member.

“I’m learning about a lot of the dos and don’ts in a school board meeting — you can’t say anything at certain times, and there are a lot of things people in the community think the board is responsible for, and it’s not.”

Teaching was a passion for Jolly and is something she misses every day, she said.

“I love the fact that every child is so different,” she said.

She taught half a year in Clinton, then went back to school to get a master’s degree, then taught for 10 years in Kensett before teaching at Bald Knob Elementary School for 27 years.

Jolly comes from a long line of teachers, she said. Her mother was a librarian, and her father was in education for 49 years and ended his career as an elementary-school principal in Searcy.

“All four of my brothers are coaches,” she said. “All of my mother’s sisters were teachers.”

As a former school employee, becoming a part of the Bald Knob School Board was something Jolly thought was important and necessary, she said.

“There’s going to be a lot of changes [in the district],” she said. “We’re going to have a new superintendent after this year, and [replacing him] is going to be a major decision.”

Jolly’s experience in education is extensive, and she said she wants to do what she can to benefit the district.

“I want the best for this school because the school is the heart of the community,” she said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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