Incoming superintendent: Dollarway needs ‘sense of urgency’

Bobby Acklin stands ready to assume the post of superintendent of the Dollarway School District on July 1 with a strategy focused on fostering individual accountability for corporate success.

Acklin will succeed Superintendent Frank Anthony, who notified Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell in an April 24 letter of his intent to resign effective June 30. The state took over the Dollarway district in June 2012, after Dollarway High School failed to meet accreditation standards for two consecutive years.

Acklin, who is currently assistant superintendent of the North Little Rock School District, has served that district since 1989 in capacities that also included classroom teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal.

“You hope that people understand that after a state takeover there is no business as usual,” Acklin said Tuesday afternoon. “That’s what my charge is. I plan to make sure that we are all accountable for what we are supposed to be doing. I plan to be a part of the district and of each school as well. Before we can make things better or enhance what is already working I will need to see what people are doing.”

Acklin said that he will be meeting on a daily basis with Anthony starting June 10 through the end of Anthony’s tenure on June 30.

“He and I have done quite a bit of communicating,” Acklin said. “I plan to be here every day starting June 10. I did not know much about Dollarway so I have been going in and out of the district over the past few weeks. I have seen the challenges ahead as well as some bright spots.”

Acklin said part of his job will be assessing the attitudes of district personnel.

“I will be looking at and observing the urgency of the people,” Acklin said. “The district is not doing well, so they need to have a sense of urgency.”

Acklin said he intends to earn the trust of staff, teachers, other district personnel and the students.

“My goal is to get them to trust me,” Acklin said. “I will take as long as is needed to get through to them so that the community can take ownership of the district again. In my mind it’s the truth. I want to be open to them and to be an open book for them.”

Acklin said that during his time in the North Little Rock School District he learned to work with low-income students and families.

“I have a very diversified skill set,” Acklin said. “I have worked with needy students and needy communities. I have listening ears and I bring a consistency to what I do.