Guy-Perkins starts superintendent interviews

By Tammy Keith Published February 2, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.
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GUY-PERKINS — The Guy-Perkins School Board has begun interviewing applicants for the superintendent’s position, Board President Chris Acre said.

The fiscally distressed district received 22 applications for the job to date, including Guy-Perkins K-12 Principal Karen Hoskins of Greenbrier, who was interviewed last week, Acre said.

Ray Nassar, former superintendent of the Augusta School District, was being interviewed Tuesday. Nassar was reassigned to maintenance/buildings and facilities supervisor in July in the Augusta district and was placed on paid administrative leave in September.

The Augusta district is investigating issues that allegedly occurred during his tenure, according to Augusta School Board President Terry Shadwick and the district’s attorney, Donn Mixon of Jonesboro. Mixon said the district has asked Arkansas Legislative Audit, which conducts an annual audit of the district’s finances, to assist in the investigation.

Nassar said he has done nothing wrong and that the matter is “small-town politics.”

Guy-Perkins has had its share of controversy in the superintendent’s position.

Robert Stewart has served Guy-Perkins School District as interim superintendent since June, when former Superintendent Brian Cossey took a position as Wonderview Elementary School principal.

Cossey was the K-12 principal for four years before being named interim superintendent in January 2013, when former Superintendent David Westenhover resigned, effective at the end of the school year, and was placed on paid administrative leave. Cossey was hired unanimously in 2013 to be the superintendent, but the board voted in June to suspend him with pay and recommended that his contract be terminated.

Cossey has said in previous interviews that he doesn’t know why he was recommended for termination and that the board’s action surprised him. Acre will not comment on the reason for Cossey’s termination.

Westenhover was arrested and charged in Faulkner County Circuit Court with two felonies, including theft by receiving for allegedly having a stolen weapon on campus, as well as a misdemeanor charge. Those charges were dropped, according to the online database Arkansas CourtConnect. His son, Joshua, was charged with theft by receiving, a felony, and pleaded guilty, CourtConnect states. He was sentenced to probation, fined $500 and ordered to pay court costs.

The board has also interviewed Randal Betts of Conway, a Pulaski County Juvenile Detention teacher and former Cedarville High School principal from 2013-2015 and former Clinton School District superintendent; Shade Gilbert of Conway, principal of grades nine through 12 in the Nemo Vista

School District; and James T. Young of McNeil, a former director of the secondary career center of South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado. Young is not currently working, the application states.

Other applicants include the following:

• Jay Chalk of Gravette, principal of Gravette High School;

• Paulette Crouthers of Eminence, Missouri, principal of Highland Middle School;

• Andrew Curry of Hot Springs Village, the Deer/Mount Judea superintendent;

• Lincoln Daniels of Marion, Marion High School principal;

• Stephanie Dixon of Hot Springs, principal of Mount Ida Elementary School;

• Chris Ferrell of Manila, assistant superintendent of the Manila School District;

• Janet Gladu of Pittsfield, Illinois, superintendent of the Griggsville, Illinois, School District;

• Chad Harp of Gassville, superintendent of the Cotter School District;

• Steve Morris of Wynne, principal of Wynne High School;

• Angela Olsen of Harrison, office manager, Century 21 real estate, former assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum in the North Little Rock School District;

• Melissa Parks of Harrison, federal programs/professional development/human resources

in the Jasper School District;

• Amy Robertson of Ripon, California, a CEO at Atticus International School Consultants in Dubai;

• Dedrick Sims of Aurora, Colorado, CEO of the Sims-Fayola Foundation;

• Don Patrick Travis of Hot Springs, an English teacher in the Hot Springs School District;

• Stacy Wilson of Kotzebue, Alaska, principal of Kotzebue Middle School; and

• Joyce Wood of Pearcy, music/choir director at Hamburg High School.

Acre said the board is looking for someone with “a good background in education who can prepare a budget, financing. They’ve got to be able to work with the staff; they’ve got to be a personable person.”

He said no specific date has been set to have the position filled.

The Guy-Perkins School District was placed on fiscal distress in June 2015 by the Arkansas Department of Education for the district’s declining financial balance. Patrons approved a 2.5-mill property-tax increase in the September 2015 school election to help boost the district’s finances.

Cindy Smith, the Education Department’s fiscal and support-services coordinator, said in an earlier interview that the Guy-Perkins School District’s financial situation is improving and that state officials are pleased with the district’s progress.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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