Pine Bluff School Board welcomes new members

The regular monthly meeting of the Pine Bluff School District Board of Directors on Tuesday night was the first such gathering for newly elected board members Henry Dabner, Jr., Phyllis A. Wilkins, Piccola Washington, Leon Jones Sr. and Andrea Roaf-Little, who join incumbents Ken Dickson and Harold Jackson on the board.

As its first order of business the board elected its officers for the 2012-2013 school year.

The board elected Washington to the post of board president, Dickson as board vice president and Jones as board secretary.

In other business the board heard the superintendent’s report from interim superintendent Linda Watson.

“We hired ENI-Target Teach to work with our principals, and our literacy and math coaches to teach pedagogy in the classroom setting,” Watson said. “They have been in the district since the end of September and will be here at least through December.”

Watson said that whether ENI returns for the spring semester will be dependent upon an end-of-semester assessment from the Arkansas Department of Education on the progress being made in the five district priority schools.

“We have smaller class sizes in the priority elementary schools in order to better instruct the children,” Watson said. “We are putting after-school tutoring in place throughout the district. Several of our principals have expressed an interest in Saturday school and if we can get the students to come on Saturday then we will look at having school then. We have instituted reading recovery with our first-graders for those children who are not reading at grade level and have fallen behind.”

Watson said that mentoring programs are being instituted and noted that the recently formed Men Who Care at Pine Bluff High School will soon have 250 men ready to volunteer.


The board approved a series of personnel recommendations from Watson including the hiring of certified personnel Ruby Knox as a special education teacher at Broadmoor Elementary effective Oct. 2; and classified personnel LaKecha Bradley as a secretary at Oak Park Elementary effective Oct. 16 retroactive to Aug. 20, replacing Carmen Arreola who resigned; Donna Martin as a secretary at Southwood Elementary, effective Oct. 15, replacing Sharon McCuller who transferred; and Pamela Woods as a secretary at 34th Elementary effective Oct. 16, retroactive to Aug. 22, replacing Latasha Dunlap who resigned.

The board also accepted the resignations of certified personnel Darrell Adams as an English teacher at Belair Middle School, effective Sept. 27; and classified personnel Lucy Blackmon as a para-educator at 34th Avenue Elementary effective Sept. 21; and Ashley Ford as a para-educator at Broadmoor Elementary effective Sept. 20.

The board accepted the retirement of certified personnel Rebecca Robinson as an ESL coordinator and secondary counselor effective Oct. 10; and Robin Stepps as a family and consumer science teacher at Jack Robey Junior High effective Oct. 26.

Length of term

Watson told the board that while members of the PBSD board traditionally served three year terms, recent changes to zones within the district required that all board members draw for the length of their individual terms.

According to Arkansas State Statute two board members must be elected each year for three years with the terms staggered according to one of two scenarios.

The board voted to adopt a scenario in which two board members will serve two-year terms; three board members will serve three-year terms; and two board members will serve one-year terms.

Deputy superintendent Rudolph Howard presented each board member with a bag that held seven popsicle sticks with either one, two or three written on them.

After the drawing, it was revealed that Wilkins and Jones will serve for this school year; Dabner and Washington will serve for the next two school years; and Dickson, Jackson and Roaf-Little for the next three school years.