PBSD superintendent nets contract extension

Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson received a one-year contract extension in a unanimous school board decision Tuesday night.

The vote at the special, called meeting followed a 91-minute executive session in which Watson was included for just under an hour. After the board returned to the public meeting, Director Ken Dickson moved for the extension.

“She’s a gem and she’s a keeper,” Dickson said.

Board President Piccola Washington said Watson’s annual salary will remain at $150,000, but the panel will be considering a raise for her before a July 1 deadline.

Asked why the executive session was so lengthy, Washington said directors were “going over an evaluation to make sure we were all in agreement with things that were said.”

Washington added: “We wanted to let (Watson) know how pleased we were with all the things that have happened this year.”

The Commercial was given a list that was headlined, “Programs/Strategies brought to the District.” Among 18 highlighted points were collaboration with the city on day-long summer school classes, attainment of more than $1.2 million in grants, assistance on garnering financial contributions for the initiation of the Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (PARK) tutoring and mentoring program, academic awards earned by several schools within the district, and implementation of a leadership academy for aspiring principals and other administrators.

“I’m happy the board is giving me an opportunity to continue working here,” Watson said after the meeting. “This is a great district and I look forward to continuing to build on the progress we’ve made.”

Watson is completing her second year in the post. She was in her first year of a two-year contract, so the extension put her back on a two-year agreement.