Dollarway School District Superintendent Bobby Acklin said Wednesday that he wants to re-establish a sense of shared destiny between the surrounding community and their local public school system.
“The community has to take ownership of the school district because it is their school district,” Acklin said to a group of district personnel and members of the media gathered for a district open house. “We need the assistance of the media to sell the promise of this school district back to the community.”
Acklin praised his staff and introduced a couple of new hires.
“Tameka White is the district’s public relations coordinator and it is her job to make sure that the district speaks with one voice,” Acklin said. “June Haynie is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and comes to the district from the Arkansas Department of Education, where she was in charge of state audits. She is helping me with organizational details and with systems operations.”
Acklin said part of his strategy for improving the district’s fortunes involves getting potential donors to buy into the school system’s strategy for recovery.
“We will have plans to put before the people,” Acklin said. “We want to be able to raise some money so that our kids will have the same things as kids at other schools. Once we have a strategic plan in place, we hope that people will be ready to step up and help. I spoke with one of the local state legislators the other day and I asked what they are doing to help the district. We want to be a vital part of this community and I believe that we are.”
Haynie said that the district is driven this year by one all-encompassing imperative.
“We are here this year to focus on the kids,” Haynie said. “We want them to be successful, so we are focusing on our children and their ultimate success. We have a successful athletic program, and if a student can remember plays on the football field and the basketball court and play an instrument in the band, then they can also do well in testing. Our charge this year is our students and their success.”
Recently hired Athletic Director and Dean of Students Lee Hardman said he is excited to be back with Dollarway.
“I’m stoked about being back home,” Hardman said. “Dollarway is home. We want to get our kids on scholarships so that they can go to college. We just need to get our minds on the same page and make good things happen in this district.”
“When Coach Hardman came to us I wanted to make sure that he could have as big an impact on our kids as possible,” Acklin said. “That is why I gave him the two positions in the district. I am thankful that he came back to share his enthusiasm for education with us.”
Hardman led the Dollarway High School football team to four state championship titles between 1982 and 1992 before going on to coach the Golden Lions football team at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Acklin is eager to keep the Dollarway district in the public consciousness.
“Our kids are doing great things, but unless we put it out there, nobody will know except for us,” Acklin said.