Arts Academy prin­ci­pal re­signs

Pad­gett worked at Rogers school for decade be­fore abrupt move

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - DAN HOLTMEYER

One of the state’s high­est-per­form­ing high schools lost its prin­ci­pal this week af­ter her abrupt res­ig­na­tion.

Barb Pad­gett worked with Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers for a decade un­til Tues­day, when the pub­lic char­ter school’s board ac­cepted her res­ig­na­tion as high school prin­ci­pal, CEO Mary Ley said.

The board and Ley said Wed­nes­day they couldn’t give more in­for­ma­tion about the rea­son for the res­ig­na­tion be­cause it’s a per­son­nel mat­ter, and Pad­gett didn’t re­spond to a Face­book mes­sage seek­ing com­ment. But

Ley and a par­ent of a se­nior at the academy de­scribed it as sad news.

“Stu­dents loved her and she loved them,” Ley said in an in­ter­view, adding Pad­gett treated stu­dents and staff mem­bers like fam­ily.

The as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal will take on Pad­gett’s du­ties while the school searches for her re­place­ment, Ley said. Pad­gett’s salary was

about $80,000.

The academy is a pub­lic in­sti­tu­tion open to all stu­dents from kinder­garten through high school. It pro­vides cour­ses in tra­di­tional sub­jects with an art em­pha­sis as well as classes in mu­sic, dance and other arts.

U.S. News & World Re­port ranked the academy’s high school as the sec­ond best in the state this year, af­ter Haas Hall Academy in Fayet­teville, based on mea­sures such as pro­fi­ciency scores and grad­u­a­tion rates.

Classes be­gan Aug. 1 for the high school’s 250 or so stu­dents, Ley said.

“I like the free­dom and the ex­cel­lent aca­demics that come with a char­ter school, and we wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent and bet­ter for our chil­dren,” said LaDonna Humphrey, whose seven chil­dren from kinder­garten through se­nior year at­tend the academy’s schools and take classes for gui­tar, orches­tra, pi­ano, art and de­sign. “There’s pretty much ev­ery­thing you can imag­ine.”

Humphrey, who was also on the academy’s board around when Pad­gett started her ten­ure, de­scribed the for­mer prin­ci­pal as a “pil­lar” of the school who was pas­sion­ate about the arts and about her stu­dents’ suc­cess, help­ing them find the par­tic­u­lar va­ri­ety of art they en­joyed most.

“Barb, I would say, was the glue at the high school,” Humphrey said. “She left a might legacy.”

Humphrey added she had no plans to leave the school and en­cour­aged other par­ents to stay as well.

“Her legacy will go on, and the school will go on,” she said.

Ley said a 14-month project to ex­pand the school to hold around 600 stu­dents will be­gin this month.

“We are in a great arts cul­ture right now,” she said, point­ing to Crys­tal Bridges Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art and other cul­tural events and groups in the re­gion. “There’s a need for per­form­ing and the­ater and vis­ual artists.”

The academy be­gan in 2001 as the Ben­ton County School of the Arts; it be­came Arkansas Arts Academy and re­dou­bled its art of­fer­ings in 2014. Pad­gett also served as in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent that year af­ter Ley’s pre­de­ces­sor, Paul Hines, re­signed his post.

The academy be­gan in 2001 as the Ben­ton County School of the Arts; it be­came Arkansas Arts Academy and re­dou­bled its art of­fer­ings in 2014.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.