Members of new Charter Authorizing Panel named


LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell named six members of the state Department of Education staff to the newly formed Charter Authorizing Panel on Wednesday.

The panel was created under the Arkansas Quality Control School Act of 2013 and is responsible for reviewing and approving all charter school applications, as well as approving any revisions and revoking charter school applications. The panel’s decision will be subject to review by the state Board of Education.

Members of the panel are Megan Witonski, assistant commissioner of learning services; Jim Boardman, assistant commissioner, division of research and technology; Mike Hernandez, assistant commissioner, fiscal and administrative services; John Hoy, assistant commissioner, academic accountability; Karen Walters, assistant commissioner, human resources and licensure; and Deborah Coffman, chief of staff.

The panel met briefly Wednesday and selected Witonski as vice chairman. Kimbrell will serve as chairman of the panel.

Kimberly Friedman, spokeswoman for the department, said the panel also set its meeting schedule for the next several months. All meetings will begin at 8:30 a.m in the Education Department auditorium.

The meeting dates are Nov. 12 and 13, Jan. 15 and 16, Feb. 12, April 16 and May 14.