By Joel Phelps
The pool of candidates who have applied to be the next Arkadelphia Public Schools superintendent now sits at 20.
Judy Hubbell, superintendent and athletic director of Fordyce School District, submitted a resume in hopes to fill the spot soon to be left vacant. Hubbell has been the head Redbug of the Dallas County school since July 2018, according to her resume. Prior to that she was principal at Fordyce High School from 2014-2018. She also has administration experience at Dumas Adult Education and WAGE Center. Before her career in secondary education, Hubbell held positions in higher education as a professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Northeastern Louisiana University.
The interview process is expected to begin in the coming weeks, though how long it will take or if the search will continue remains unknown. “Our objective is to find the right person for Arkadelphia, no matter how long it takes,” School Board President Casey Motl told The Arkadelphian in an email.
Motl said the board has curated a “short list” of interviewees from the applicant pool and will schedule interviews once those applicants’ availability is confirmed. The school board is prepared to interview candidates in person or via Zoom, Motl said. While the pool of potential interviewees is “considerably smaller” than the total pool of applicants, “the search remains ongoing, and should additional candidates apply for the position in the days or weeks ahead, the board reserves the right to talk to any of them.”
All other applicants to date, excluding Hubbell, listed below in alphabetical order:
The Jefferson County resident was assistant superintendent of the Pine Bluff School District from 2012-2015. Anderson is now retired.
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.
J. Lance Arbuckle
A resident of Rogers, Arbuckle is principal at Rogers New Technology High School, a position he has held since 2013. Arbuckle has held administration roles for 20 years, and has a total of 25 years in education.
William Jason Arrington
The Stephens resident is currently principal at Nevada High School in Rosston, a position he has held since 2019. Arrington has 13 years of experience in administration, and has worked in the education field for 18 years.
Barbaree is the assistant state superintendent at the DESE office of coordinated support and services, a position she has held since 2019. The Benton resident has been an educator 18 years, 13 of which have been in administrative roles.
Bryant, from Beebe, is currently the superintendent at Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, a position he has held since 2020. Bryant has been in administration since 2007, and has additionally held roles as college professor at Harding University.
The Pulaski County resident is currently the principal at Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School. He has worked at the administration level for 23 years and has 33 years in the education field.
A resident of Arkansas County, Gales has been superintendent at Stuttgart Public Schools since 2017. He started his education career in 2000 and has worked in administration roles for 19 years.
Gabriel D. Jackson
Jackson, of Benton, is currently a 12th grade English instructor at Pine Bluff High School, a position held since 2021. Jackson has been assistant principal at schools in Little Rock and Pine Bluff, and has been an educator for 16 years.
Jackson has been the assistant superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools since 2019. The Missouri resident has 19 years of experience in education, with 14 of those years in administration.
The director of curriculum and instruction at Ouachita High School in Donaldson, the Hot Springs resident has 16 years of experience in administration and a total of 25 years in teaching.
Robert Keith McDaniel
McDaniel, of Jonesboro, is the superintendent at Brookland Public Schools in northeastern Arkansas, a position he has held since 2014. McDaniel began teaching in 1997 and has 22 years of experience in administration.
The Hempstead County resident is currently employed at Hope High School, where she is the school improvement specialist and director of curriculum. Narlesky has held administrative positions since 2004 and has a total of 25 years experience in teaching.
Michael D. Odom
Hailing from Texarkana is the director of Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief in Southwest Arkansas. Odom has held administration roles in districts throughout southwestern Arkansas since 2013, having been an educator for 13 years.
Spalleta, who lives in Las Cruces, N.M., is the human resources coordinator at Las Cruces Public Schools since 2021. Spaletta has 20 years of experience as an educator, with 13 of those being in administration.
Laura Strickland, of Helena-West Helena, is currently the deputy superintendent of Helena-West Helena School District, a position she has held since June 2021. Prior to that Strickland had, since 2009, held administrative roles at Pine Bluff School District, Little Rock School District and Lee County School District in Marianna.
From Philpot, Ky., Thrash is the executive director of the Green River Area Down Syndrome Association in Owensboro, a position she has held since 2017. Prior to that she was supervising teacher at the Berryville-based Learning Center of North Arkansas from 2011-2015.
Vaughn, of Lufkin, Texas, is currently the superintendent of Pineywoods Community Academy, a position he has held since 2017. Prior to that Vaughn had been administrator at the Tyler Independent School District for four years. Vaughn has held administrative roles since 2002, and has been an educator for 23 years.
Currently the superintendent of Decatur School District, a position held since 2018, the Bentonville resident has been in administration roles for 21 years.
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