HOPE – Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart announced today he will leave the HPS effective July 1 to become superintendent of the Searcy, Arkansas, public schools.
Dr. Hart was offered the position in a meeting with the Searcy Public Schools Board of Education on April 2 after a day-long series of interviews, meetings with community leaders and campus visits. He will formally inform the HPS Board of Education of his decision in a special meeting Thursday.
“I would like to thank the students, families, faculty, board and community for their trust and support over the last nine years,” Hart said. “I have had wonderful board members to work for and terrific teachers and staff to work with.”
Hope School Board President Linda Haynes said the HPS will miss Hart’s leadership.
“We are sad to see Dr. Hart leave Hope Public Schools,” Mrs. Haynes said. “We appreciate all the ways he has served this town and the district these past nine years, and understand that the work he did so diligently here is what made him such a desirable candidate elsewhere. We wish him nothing but the best in Searcy.”
Hart was chosen from among four finalists for the Searcy position including, Dr. Rick Gales, superintendent at Stuttgart; Dr. Nathan Morris, superintendent at Cross County; and Jerrod Williams, superintendent at Sheridan. The finalists were brought to the Searcy board by McPherson and Jacobson Executive Recruitment and Development, who said of Hart, “He is a leader rather than a follower… He puts people of all races and walks of life at ease and connects with his constituencies.”
Hart has directed the HPS since 2012, managing an enrollment of more than 2,200 students and will assume the top job in a district of some 3,960 students. The Searcy district operates six general campuses with a budget of some $44 million.
During his tenure in Hope, Hart led the development of the Hope Academy of Public Service through the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service to become the first of its kind campus in the nation. He led the district through the rebirth of Beryl Henry Elementary School that doubled the size of the standing campus and eliminated metal buildings used on the campus for three decades. Hart also oversaw the grant development and creation of the Bobcat Clinic campus-based health clinic which was among the first of its kind in Arkansas.
The HPS also achieved “one to one” computer resources for students during his tenure with the largest school district digital network in southwest Arkansas which will expand to four gigabyte capacity this summer.
Hart was invested as a Doctor of Education in Education Administration by Texas A&M University – Commerce in December, 2018. He obtained his superintendent’s certification from Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia in 2009, and he holds Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science in Education degrees from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. Hart holds state certifications as a District Administrator, Secondary Principal, Secondary Physical Education Teacher, and Athletics Coach; and, he is a 1987 graduate of Bryant High School.
Hart came to Hope in 2012 after eight years as Genoa Central High School Principal in Texarkana. He began his career in public education at Clarendon High School as a teacher/coach in 1994, before becoming a graduate assistant in the athletics department at Henderson State. Hart taught, coached and served as athletic director at Van-Cove High School for three years, prior to teaching and coaching at Hampton High School, before returning to Clarendon as athletic director and head football coach in 1999.
Hart was named athletic director and head football coach at Augusta High School in 2002, prior to becoming principal at Newport High School in 2003.
Hart has since become an adjunct professor at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia where he teaches classes in education administration. He has been honored by SAU with induction into the Southern Arkansas University Educational Leadership Hall of Fame in 2019, and was subsequently recognized in that connection by the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2019.
Active in community life in Hope, Hart has served as president of the Hope Rotary Club, and is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow; has served on the board of the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce; and, is a member and serves on the Stewardship Board of the First United Methodist Church in Hope.
Hart’s educational associations include membership in the AAA Principal’s Association, NASSP, AAEA, Union Pacific Principal’s Partnership, ASCD, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, Arkansas Academy for Educational Equity Advisory Board, and Arkansas Public School Rescource Center Advisory Board.
He has also completed Master Principal Phase 1, Breaking Ranks II: Trainer of Trainers, and Framework for Understanding Poverty Trainer professional development.