Superintendent search in Benton draws 19 applicants

Nineteen individuals are vying for the position of superintendent of the Benton School District,
Benton School Board members began reviewing the candidates' applications Tuesday night in a closed session that followed the monthly board meeting.
In Thursday's meeting, the board hopes to narrow the field of 19 to four or five finalists who will be interviewed, according to Jeff Morrow, board president.
"We hope to have someone named (for superintendent) by late February," Morrow said.
"Some of the applicants do not have Arkansas certification, which may be one of the criteria for cutting them," he said.
"And some do not have central administration experience," he added.
"We're trying to get the list down to four or five, but no more than five," he said.
"Hopefully, we can conduct interviews with the finalists during the week of Feb. 15," Morrow noted.
Those finalists should be announced by Jan. 31, he said.
The interview plan includes interviewing one candidate per day, he said. "We'll have both afternoon and evening sessions.
"I will ask each board member in the next meeting to run references on specific candidates," Morrow said.
He noted that most of the applicants did not submit their applications until the final week for accepting them.
The candidates for superintendent include one district employee, Dan Jordan, who is currently serving as interim superintendent.
Jordan, who has served for several years as the district's director of personnel and student services, stepped into the chief administrator's role when Dr. Tony Prothro was suspended in the spring of 2011. In November, after the school board composition changed following the annual school election, Prothro's suspension was lifted; however, Jordan has continued to handle the day-to-day functions of superintendent.
Prothro has assisted the board in establishing the criteria and procedure for choosing a superintendent.
Of the 19 applicants, 11 are Arkansas residents. States represented by the eight other applicants include Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Wyoming, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Alaska.
In addition to Jordan, the 18 other applicants for superintendent are:
•Phillip G. Burchfield, superintendent of Clinton Public Schools in Clinton, Miss. He does not have Arkansas certification.
•Larry G. Clark, adjunct/field experience supervisor, Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. He does not have Arkansas certification.
•Jeff Collum, executive director of secondary education for Tyler ISD in Tyler, Texas. He does not have Arkansas certification.
•David R. Cook, assistant superintendent of the Osceola School District in Osceola.
•Wanda L. Dardenne, assistant superintendent of the Stuttgart School District in Stuttgart.
•Paige Fenton Hughes, an employee of the Wyoming Department of Education. She does not have Arkansas certification.
•Bradley D. Gist, principal of Central Arkansas Christian School in North Little Rock.
•Roy L. Hester, superintendent of the Lamar School District in Lamar.
•Lynda P. Johnson, curriculum, Little Rock School District.
•Angela D. Olsen, who is not employed at this time. From 2008 to 2011, she was employed at The Learning Institute in Hot Springs.
•Teresa F. Ragsdale, superintendent of the Hartford School District in Hartford.
•Bradley G. Reed, director of student services of the Bentonville School District in Bentonville.
•James F. Rickley, assistant superintendent of the Lander County School District in Battle Mountain, Nev. He does not have Arkansas certification.
•Richard V. Slonaker, supervisor of math, business education and technical education for Grades K-12 in the Marple Newtown School District in Newtown Square, Pa. He does not have Arkansas certification.
•Larry E. Smith, superintendent of the White Hall School District in White Hall.
•Rena Taylor, curriculum specialist for the North Little Rock School District.
•Jefferie B. Thielbar, superintendent of the Skagway City School District in Skagway, Alaska. He does not have Arkansas certification.
•Gary Wayman, superintendent of the DeWitt School District.