This summer, Governor Beebe has made two new appointments to the State Board of Education after State Board Chairman Dr. Naccaman Williams and Sherry Burrow’s terms expired. Dr. Williams was replaced by Mireya Reith of Fayetteville and Burrow was replaced by Joe Black of Newport. Each new member will begin service for a seven-year termthat will expire June 30, 2018.
Reith’s experience includes serving as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme, and as Executive Director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition (AUCC). Ms. Reith’s other qualifications can be perused here.
Joe Black serves as the President of Southern Financial Partners, also known as Southern Bancorp Capital Partners, a company that has helped fund educational initiatives in the Arkansas Delta. Unfortunately, before Mr. Black has even had the chance to serve, consummate critic Max Brantley has already found fault with our newest State Board member. And what has Joe done to irk Max? It turns out that Black is president of Southern Financial Partners (or Southern Bancorp Capital Partners), a group which pours a great deal of money into Arkansas public schools (including, sometimes, charter schools). Much of this philanthropy is given in support of traditional public schools in the economically-depressed Arkansas Delta region in the hopes of improving the lives of students there.
The OEP is pleased to welcome Arkansas’ two newest State Board Members and is hopeful that the experience they bring in working in community support and economic development will serve the students of the state well.
With the exit of Board Chairman Naccaman Williams, existing Board member Ben Mays of Clinton was appointed as the new Chair of the Board of Education.