Jessica Rayner, the principal of a high school in the Arkansas Delta, has been appointed principal of Seventh Street Elementary School, the North Little Rock school that Superintendent Gregory J. Pilewski is attempting to improve academically with a new staff, grade configuration and academic theme.
Rayner has been principal at Dermott High -- which houses students in grades seven through twelve -- since 2021, according to the North Little Rock district. Dermott High's enrollment was 147 students in 2022-23, according to the Arkansas Department of Education. Seventh Street Elementary's enrollment in 2022-23 was 291 pupils.
Before she became a principal, Rayner taught business education at Dermott High in Chicot County, which is in the southeastern corner of Arkansas. Her education career began as a mathematics lead teacher at Robert F. Morehead Middle School in Jefferson County.
She has two Master of Education degrees from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, one in educational leadership and the other in teacher leadership, according to the North Little Rock district. Rayner received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Management from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Rayner will be taking over a school with chronically low test scores. The state Education Department gave Seventh Street Elementary a school letter grade of F for the 2021-2022 academic year. In the same school year, Dermott High School received a school letter grade of D from the state.
On May 9, the North Little Rock district hosted a public forum allowing the public to hear the two finalists -- Rayner and Jana Irvin of the Conway School District -- recount their experience in education and their vision for Seventh Street Elementary. The North Little Rock district said it marked the first time in its history to hold such a public forum for a principal's job.
Pilewski's original plan to transform Seventh Street Elementary is available here: https://tinyurl.com/bdhkfrj3