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Chad Pekron, a Little Rock lawyer and parent to five children -- four of whom are school-aged and one of whom is a preschooler -- is Gov. Asa Hutchinson's latest appointee to the Arkansas Board of Education.

Pekron, 43, of Bryant replaces Jay Barth of Little Rock, a Hendrix College faculty member whose seven-year term on the board expired in June.

"I'm a father of five and four of my kids are in public schools right now. So I take my responsibility for their education very seriously," Pekron said Wednesday. "I've been looking for an opportunity to serve the state, so when the governor asked me to consider this role it was certainly a great opportunity to be of service."

One of 28 graduates in his class at De Smet High in South Dakota, as well as a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Yale Law School, Pekron is a member of the Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull law firm. He first became associated with Arkansas as a law clerk for Morris S. Arnold of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Arnold is now a senior judge for the appeals court. After his clerkship, Pekron became an associate for several years at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin before returning to Arkansas.

Pekron said he will attend his first state Education Board meeting in August because of a work conflict he has with the Education Board's scheduled meetings today and Friday.

He said he is joining the board with an open mind.

"I just want to take in all the facts and make the best decisions that I can under the circumstances. I know that there are a lot of difficult questions and issues before the board, and I look forward to digging in and seeing what can be done."

He said the status of the Little Rock School District, which is nearing completion of a fifth year under state control without an elected school board, is one of those issues.

Pekron has two children who live with their mother in west Little Rock and who attend Robinson Middle School in the Pulaski County Special School District. Another two of his children attend schools in the Bauxite district in Saline County. That's made possible by state law that allows students to attend school in a district in which they do not reside.

Most recently, Pekron has been the attorney for a group of parents in south Arkansas school systems who submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the 8th Circuit regarding the Arkansas School Choice Act.

The parents oppose a lower court decision that permitted modifications to be made in the districts' federal court desegregation plans and decrees to prohibit most interdistrict student transfers in the Hope, Junction City, Lafayette County and Camden Fairview districts. The state has appealed that prohibition of student transfers in the four districts to the 8th Circuit.

Pekron is married to Cambre Pekron, who previously worked for a couple of years as a social worker in the Little Rock School District.

The new Education Board member's legal practice focuses on business, tort and class action litigation, according to his firm's website.

Pekron "has significant experience in representing accounting firms, publicly-traded companies, and corporate officers and directors in securities litigation, regulatory matters, professional malpractice actions, and internal investigations," the website states.

In his work, Pekron has argued cases before the Arkansas Supreme Court, the Arkansas Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 7th and 8th Circuits. He has submitted petitions for certiorari and amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court. Pekron has twice served as a special justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Metro on 07/11/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas Board of Education spot gets filled

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