Superintendent pool up to 17; interviews to begin in May

By Joel Phelps
The Arkadelphian

With the application process remaining open until the position is filled, Arkadelphia Public Schools has received one additional resume for superintendent in the past week.

Bobby Applegate submitted his application, joining 16 others in the candidacy to head the school district after Karla Neathery accepted the superintendent’s position at Sheridan Public School District in February. Neathery is expected to finish her contract, which ends June 30, with the local district.

Applegate is currently the superintendent of Mountain Pine School District, a position he has held since 2016. Prior to that, Applegate had led three other schools in southern Arkansas: Fordyce, Prescott and Kirby. He has been an educator since 1995 and has coaching experience, according to his resume.

One of the 17 candidates for the Arkadelphia position, Lloyd Jackson, was also in the pool of candidates being interviewed by the Little Rock School Board to head that district. According to an April 6 report by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Jackson was among four finalists for the role before that school board narrowed their search to two others.

Once Neathery submits a formal resignation letter, the next step in the process will be for the board to accept that resignation and move on to the interviewing process.

Board president Casey Motl told The Arkadelphian via email Wednesday that the board has “indeed begun the vetting process of our existing applicants” for the superintendent position. Motl said the board should narrow the current candidate pool and identify a list of interviewees sometime in May. Regarding the 17 candidates, Motl said, “The district is fortunate to have several highly qualified and experienced candidates for the position, and we’re looking forward to learning more about each of them as we seek our next Superintendent of Schools.”

The Arkadelphia Board of Education will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. In its previous meeting the board voted to reschedule its regular meeting to that date.

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