Retiring Hendrix College professor Dr. Jay Barth, a former member of the state Board of Education, has been named Chief Education Officer for the City of Little Rock. Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. made the appointment on Friday (Dec. 6).
Barth will be the city’s first Chief Education Officer (CEdO) as Little Rock leaders push to exit state control of the Little Rock School District.
Barth will begin as CEdO on January 6 and will lead and coordinate the development and implementation of the Community Schools Model (CSM) as well as initiatives targeting the following areas: prenatal to five years; literacy; chronic absenteeism; out-of- school; 529 Plans and Little Rock Promise Scholarships; and workforce development.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled about Dr. Barth joining my administration as CEdO,” Scott said. “He provided valuable insight and leadership during his service on my transition board, and as we continue to advocate for full return of local control of the Little Rock School District, it is critical to the long-term growth and prosperity of our City that we have someone of Jay’s background and capabilities at the helm.”
“While the establishment of a CSM is a top priority, he will also be instrumental in ensuring all of Little Rock’s most precious assets have the necessary tools to help them succeed,” Scott added.
Barth is M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Professor of Politics and Director of the Arkansas Policy Program at Hendrix College. He will shift to emeritus status next month. From 2012 to 2019, Barth was a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education and was chairman for two years.
“I so appreciate Mayor Scott giving me this opportunity to continue to work to improve educational opportunities for students of all ages in Little Rock and rebuild trust between the school system and many residents that has been fractured by events over the past five years of state takeover,” Barth said. “I’m also excited about helping reimagine what the City’s role will be in supporting education at all levels-from early childhood programs to our higher education institutions that are so important for our city’s continued vibrancy. I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders on these important issues as we work to unite Little Rock across lines of difference.”
Barth is a contributor to Talk Business & Politics through the organization’s polling partnership with Hendrix College.