School board experience recognized
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – The cumulative leadership experience of the Hope Public Schools Board totals almost three-quarters century of service among the seven currently serving members of the Board.

With two members having served more than 20 years, and one member serving more than 10 years, Board members have a combined total of 72.9 years of service, according to HPSD data.

The Board members are among 1,400 Arkansans whose contributed time and expertise to the direction of local school policy across Arkansas’ school districts is being celebrated during School Board Member Recognition Month in January.

“Our board members assume a critical role in representing our students and advocating for public education,” HPSD Superintendent Bobby Hart said Monday. “We are very proud of our board members, and Arkansas School Board Member Recognition Month is a great time to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Zone 1 Board Member Viney Johnson holds the longest tenure of service among current Board members, having first been elected in September, 1989. Johnson also currently serves as the financial designee to the Board.

Board President Joe Short, representing Zone 4, has the second-longest service record among Board members, having been first elected in September, 1996. Short is a local attorney in the firm of Wilson, Walker and Short.

Zone 6 Board Member Denny Dickinson, a rancher and businessman in Hope and the Guernsey area, has the third-longest tenure at 14 years. Dickinson was first elected to the Board in September, 2002.

Hope Police Department Investigator Jesus Coronado, who represents Zone 7, has served on the Board since first elected in September, 2009. Coronado serves as secretary of the Board.

Retired educator Willie Buck, representing Zone 3, serves as vice president of the Board. Buck and retired educator Mildred Green, representing Zone 2, each have just over five years of service, both having first been elected to the Board in September, 2010.

And, Linda Haynes, representing Zone 5, is the newest member of the board, having been elected in September, 2015.

Hart told the Board during its January meeting Monday night that he, personally, appreciated each member’s service; and, that he recognized the often-thankless nature of the job.

“We appreciate all that you do for the students, teachers and parents,” he said.

According to the Arkansas School Boards Association, publicly elected board members set policy for their respective school districts; oversee district finances and budgeting; hire the district superintendent; approve curriculum; ensure the maintenance and oversight of facilities for the district; and, establish the vision and mission of the district.

By law, school board members in Arkansas are required to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their roles and responsibilities as board members.

Johnson was recently named an ASBA Pinnacle Award Board Member, with 200 or more hours of professional development; and, Coronado was named an ASBA Master Board Member with 50 hours of professional development.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recognized the service of school boards statewide in a proclamation designating January as Arkansas School Board Member Recognition Month, noting that, “Local school board members must be committed to the success of our children as they work to ensure that every child thrives with educational programs tailored to meet his or her individual needs…”

Hutchinson also noted that school board members serve on their own time without compensation, and asked Arkansans to “honor and support school board members throughout Arkansas for their significant contributions to our children’s future.”