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Hunter, Wood named to state Education Board

Hutchinson selects attorney, banker for 7-year terms by Cynthia Howell | September 7, 2022 at 4:22 a.m.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday appointed Lisa Hunter of White Hall and Jeff Wood, a current member of the Little Rock School Board, to seven-year terms on the Arkansas Board of Education.

Wood said Tuesday evening that he will resign from the Little Rock board "very soon" to begin service on the state board. He will replace Charisse Dean, also of Little Rock.

Wood's term on the Little Rock board expires in November and he had recently said he was not a candidate for re-election.

Wood was one of nine people elected to the all new Little Rock School Board in November and December 2020 after the state Education Board released the capital city school system from six years of state direction. The state took control of the district and disbanded the board in January 2015 as the result of chronic low achievement in six of its schools.

Prior to his 2020 board election, Wood was appointed in 2016 by Arkansas Secretary of Education Johnny Key to the Little Rock district's Community Advisory Board, which served as a liaison between Key and the Little Rock community. The advisory board made policy, budget and personnel recommendations to Key. Wood was a chairman of the advisory board.

In appointing Hunter, 56, and Wood, 42, the governor on Tuesday cited their experience and passion for education and students.

"Jeff has a dedication to education and his leadership provides him with a vision for the future of Arkansas' students," Hutchinson said in the announcement. "The time he has served the students of Arkansas has been a great benefit to our education system, and in this role he will continue pushing for a better future for Arkansas."

Wood is a graduate of Camden-Harmony Grove High School and has a bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The father of three children, two in Little Rock and one in the Pulaski County Special School District, he has a law practice in which he focuses on consumer protection litigation.

"I am honored and thankful to have Governor Hutchinson's trust to do this important work," Wood said Tuesday.

"My hope is that improving education -- and literacy, in particular -- will be the highest priority of our state's leaders. While I have enjoyed serving the students and families of Little Rock with my colleagues on the Little Rock School Board, I look forward to working with my new friends on the state Board of Education to continue moving Arkansas education forward."

Hunter, executive vice president and chief data officer for Simmons Bank, will replace Beth Anne Rankin of Magnolia on the state Education Board.

"Lisa will provide excellent leadership experience to Arkansas schools and communities," Hutchinson said. "She is as experienced as she is passionate and I believe she will have a meaningful impact on education within the state."

Prior to joining Simmons Bank, Hunter started her career as an internal auditor at Premier Bank (JP Morgan Chase) in Baton Rouge, La., and later served as the assistant controller at Andrew Jackson Savings Bank in Tallahassee, Fla. She was part of the Thomasville National Bank in Thomasville, Ga.

Hunter and her husband Jeff have two daughters.

"It is an honor to be selected, and I am very excited to serve the state of Arkansas," Hunter said. "I am grateful to the governor for his confidence in me and for giving me an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of Arkansas children."

Print Headline: 2 named to state Education Board


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