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Education notebook: LR Central’s Iyer chosen as scholar

by Cynthia Howell | January 15, 2023 at 2:38 a.m.

LR Central's Iyer chosen as scholar

The Society for Science has announced that Anu Iyer of Little Rock Central High School is one of 300 students named as scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.

Iyer's project is titled: Systematic Parkinson Audio Recognition Construct (SPARC): A Novel Machine Learning Method to Detect Parkinson's Disease Using Voice in 3 Seconds.

Each of the 300 scholars, selected from 1,949 entrants, receives a $2,000 award with an additional $2,000 going to their respective school, resulting in $1.2 million in total scholar awards from Regeneron. The 40 finalists chosen to compete in March will be announced on Jan. 24.

LR district selects Michael for HR job

Henry Michael has been named interim chief officer of human resources for the Little Rock School District, effective Feb. 1.

The top-level position that carries an annual salary of $155,533 has not been filled in recent years.

Robert Robinson will continue to serve as the district's executive director of human resources.

Michael is currently executive director of human resources in Allentown, Pa., where he has worked since last year. Before that, he worked for five years in the Duval County, Florida, school system, where he was most recently regional superintendent for middle schools. He also served as executive director for elementary schools in that district, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla.

His other work experience has been as director of human resources in the Springfield, Ore., public schools and director of instructional personnel services in the Clay County school system that is based in Green Cove Springs, Fla. He is a former principal, from 2003 to 2011, in Florida and Springfield, Mass.

Michael has a doctorate in educational leadership from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla. His master's in educational leadership degree is from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Fla.

Iowa district hit with cyberattack

The largest school district in Iowa joins the Little Rock School District and other districts in the nation as victims of cyberattacks.

The 30,000-student Des Moines schools were closed Tuesday and Wednesday last week after school leaders realized the breach of the district's technology system on Monday morning.

Schools reopened Thursday for "an offline learning experience until further notice" -- with limited access to internet and network resources and no wi-fi," the Des Moines Register newspaper reported.

Classes were canceled "because taking the district's servers and internet network offline affected not only classes, but also bus routing and food and nutrition systems, as well as access to important student documents," the newspaper also reported.

The Little Rock School District announced Dec. 14 that it had finalized a settlement to the recent cyberattack on the district's computer network systems but divulged no details on the terms, including the amount of any ransom that might have been paid.

Little Rock Superintendent Jermall Wright has said that the "suspicious activity" in the district's technology network was initially detected Nov. 11.

Wright first told all district employees and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Dec. 1 that the 21,000-student district was a victim of a data network breach, and that the district had employed external computer forensics experts to determine the scope of the problem. The cyberattack was also reported to the FBI.

Henderson named to Parkview post

The Little Rock School Board has approved the appointment of Eric Henderson as the interim principal at Parkview Arts and Sciences Magnet High School.

And Dexter Booth, a former Parkview High principal, has been hired as a temporary adviser to the Parkview principal.

Henderson is a midyear replacement for Philicia Bell in the Parkview leadership role.

Bell is now an administrator on special assignment for the district for the remainder of this school year. She is also assured of placement in a school or district-level administrative position for the coming 2023-24 school year without an application or interview.

The principal change at Parkview comes after Bell and Little Rock School Board member Vicki Hatter got crosswise with each other in the 2021-22 school year.

Bell had complained that Hatter failed to enter the school's front doors when she visited the campus where Hatter's daughter was a student, that Hatter entered classrooms and teacher work areas without permission, and that Hatter had pressured Bell to enroll students without their going through the audition process. The complaints resulted in a $46,000 investigation by out-of-state attorneys. The School Board considered, but stopped short of, censuring Hatter.

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