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story.lead_photo.caption Jim Davis

ROGERS -- The School District has hired an educator from Arizona to be its next principal of Heritage High School.

Jim Davis, superintendent of the Student Choice High School District in Peoria, Ariz., will officially take over as Heritage's principal on July 1. The School Board unanimously approved the hire at its meeting Tuesday.

Audit

The Rogers School Board voted Tuesday to accept a report on the annual financial audit of the district for the 2016-17 school year, done by Hudson, Cisne and Co., a Little Rock-based firm. Sarah Gentry, one of the firm’s certified public accountants, said the firm issued an unmodified or “clean” opinion on the district’s financial statements, affirming they complied with Arkansas Code.

Source: Staff report

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Superintendent Marlin Berry told the board he's excited about what Davis will bring to the district.

"Strong experience, strong leader, but a really good person as well," Berry said.

Davis will be the school's second principal since it opened in 2008. He will replace Karen Steen, who is leaving to become principal of Crossroads, the district's alternative-learning school.

Roger Hill, assistant superintendent for human resources, said more than 25 applied for the Heritage position. The decision came down to two "really good" finalists, Berry said.

Davis has administrative experience in both public and private schools. His experience most similar to what he will face at Heritage was as principal of Centennial High School in Peoria. The school of 2,200 students was notable for being in the top 10 percent of Arizona schools and achieving an "A" rating for four straight years, Hill said.

"Under Davis' leadership, the school had the state's lowest dropout rate at less than 1 percent. That's pretty impressive," Hill said.

Davis won a Milken Educator Award in 2009 while principal at Centennial High School. The award comes with a $25,000 prize. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career "for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish," according to a news release from the awards program.

Davis also has been superintendent of Joy Christian School in Glendale, Ariz., a private school for preschool through high school. He later was executive director of Christ's Church of the Valley, which has 30,000 members across seven locations, according to a district news release.

Heritage High School is the sixth-largest high school in Northwest Arkansas with an enrollment of about 2,000 students, according to Arkansas Department of Education data.

Also at Tuesday's board meeting, Berry took a few minutes to address the national school walkout, planned to take place today. The walkout is billed as a tribute to those who died in last month's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as well as a call for action in response to gun violence in general.

District administrators have worked with students in preparation for the event so it may be a "teachable moment," Berry said.

"We're going to work with our kids," Berry said. "We're not advocating for guns, we're not advocating for gun control, we're not advocating for arming our teachers. It's none of that. We're advocating for our kids."

Rogers students, like students across the country, are interested in going to school in a safe place, he said.

"So if we can have a conversation with them [today], that's what will happen in our schools," he said.

Students will not be disciplined for leaving class to participate in a walkout as long as they remain on campus, Berry said.

Ashley Siwiec, district communications director, wrote in an email there will be no school-sponsored events associated with the walkout and no student will be required to attend one. Staff members will monitor any event on campus to ensure student safety, she wrote.

Board members did not discuss the issue.

The Bentonville School Board debated the matter at length Monday before voting to enforce district policy, which means any student who skips class to participate in the walkout will be marked absent and receive detention.

NW News on 03/14/2018

Print Headline: Heritage High School has its next principal

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