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Education notebook

by Cynthia Howell | August 1, 2021 at 4:14 a.m.

Gilbert president of ed association

Colton L. Gilbert, a debate coach and communications teacher at Central High -- as well as the Little Rock School District's current Teacher of the Year -- assumes the presidency of the Little Rock Education Association this month.

Gilbert replaces Teresa Knapp Gordon, a librarian/media specialist, in the leadership role for the union of school system teachers and support staff.

A graduate of the science program at Parkview Arts and Sciences Magnet High, Gilbert has a minor in mathematics and both a bachelor's and master's degree in communication studies from Arkansas State University and a second master's degree in secondary education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Throughout his college career -- which started with a scholarship to the University of Kentucky -- he was a participant and coach in debate competitions.

Gilbert has been a Little Rock teacher for eight years -- two years at Hall, three years at Parkview and three years now at Central where he teaches Debate 1, Professional Communications and Personal Communication. He is one of three debate coaches at Central.

"I have served on the Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association (ACTAA) Executive Board, until recently," he said in an email. "I am still an active member of ACTAA and have served on numerous committees throughout the years. I have been Arkansas's representative at the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Policy Debate Topic Selection since 2014. In 2018, I wrote a Topic Paper on Middle East policy that was a contender for the national topic. In 2019 I wrote a Topic Paper on Criminal Justice Reform that became the national Policy Debate Topic this school year (2020-2021)."

Gordon wraps up as ed group chief

Teresa Knapp Gordon, has completed four years as the elected president of the Little Rock Education Association.

Speaking to the School Board about her two terms, Gordon said much was accomplished in terms of standing up for and protecting the schools and its students.

She called a 2019 community-wide candlelight vigil at Central High "a night of solidarity and community that we will never forget."

She also noted the association's work last November and December to elect "a thoughtful and engaged" School Board.

"We have finally achieved freedom from state control," she said.

"And we have worked collaboratively on a proposal to provide substantial, well-deserved increases to our educators," she said, noting that the final pay plan proposal is still being finalized, "but I know we will get there working together."

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