As­sis­tant Prin­ci­pal Brings Va­ri­ety of Ex­pe­ri­ence

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Dickerson McDon­ald County Press rdick­er­[email protected]

Denisa Douthit brings a va­ri­ety of ex­pe­ri­ence to her new role as as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Noel El­e­men­tary School.

She started her ca­reer as a sub­sti­tute teacher in Gravette, Ark., and then she worked as a mi­grant clerk, which is a fed­er­ally-funded po­si­tion in which she worked with chil­dren of mi­grant work­ers. Then she worked as a kinder­garten aide.

In 2001 she went back to school and earned her de­gree in el­e­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion at North­east­ern State Univer­sity in Tahle­quah, Okla. Then she taught third grade for 10 years at Gravette. Af­ter that, she earned her mas­ter’s de­gree in educa­tional lead­er­ship at Arkansas State Univer­sity.

Next, she be­came di­rec­tor of the high school al­ter­na­tive pro­gram for three years at Gravette. Then she left Gravette and was hired by McDon­ald County as prin­ci­pal of Mus­tang Academy for a year. Fi­nally, she got the job at Noel El­e­men­tary.

Asked why she wanted to be an ad­min­is­tra­tor, she said, “I just wanted to make a big­ger im­pact. I felt like I made an im­pact in my

“If you can make school a happy place and a place they want to be, they’re go­ing to want to con­tinue that ed­u­ca­tion and fin­ish what they started.” Denisa Douthit Noel El­e­men­tary School

class­room, and I wanted to ex­pand that. I felt the best way to do that was to be­come a leader of lead­ers.”

She com­mented on what she enjoys about ed­u­ca­tion.

“I love the kids. I love to get them en­thu­si­as­tic about school. I, per­son­ally, loved school my whole life. I feel I bring some en­thu­si­asm to the build­ing,” she said.

She said she likes that the kids can know some­one cares about them.

Douthit grew up in Fayet­teville and grad­u­ated from Fayet­teville High School. She has been mar­ried 26 years to her hus­band, Ken, and they have two sons and a daugh­ter and three grand­chil­dren. They own log cabin rentals and the Arthur Mur­ray Mo­tel in Noel.

Her phi­los­o­phy on ed­u­ca­tion is, “Ev­ery child can learn. Ev­ery child can grow. Ev­ery child de­serves the best we can give,” she said.

She con­tin­ued, “I think stu­dents to­day have so many out­side fac­tors that in­flu­ence their lives, and so school is the safe haven where they can come and be loved and cared for and ed­u­cated. Some­times we’re the only calm in the chaos.”

She said her year is go­ing won­der­fully so far.

“I was ner­vous about get­ting back to the younger kids af­ter be­ing in high school the last four years,” she said, but she said it has given her an ad­van­tage to have seen the whole spec­trum.

“I be­lieve kids know when some­one loves and cares for them, and I be­lieve that’s what I bring to the ta­ble,” she said.

She added, “If you can make school a happy place and a place they want to be, they’re go­ing to want to con­tinue that ed­u­ca­tion and fin­ish what they started.”

Douthit said she plans to get her ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist de­gree in cur­ricu­lum and in­struc­tion. Her goal is to be a build­ing level prin­ci­pal, ide­ally in Noel.

RACHEL DICKERSON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Denisa Douthit is the new as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Noel El­e­men­tary School.

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