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Little Rock digital academy principal resigns at brink of school opening

Digital school, elementary campus to get interim leaders after abrupt resignation by Cynthia Howell | August 12, 2021 at 6:47 a.m.
A classroom is shown in this 2015 file photo.

The Little Rock School Board at its 5:30 p.m. meeting today will act on the appointment of interim principals to head the new Ignite Digital Academy for elementary grades and Terry Elementary in the wake of Stephanie Franklin's resignation Tuesday.

The personnel matters will be dealt with at a previously scheduled meeting to vote on recommendations for operating the schools when classes start Monday -- including a recommendation that students and employees be required to wear masks while inside district buildings to keep the surging virus at bay.

Franklin's resignation from the capital city district takes place as the district is on the brink of opening the new digital academy for kindergarten through sixth grade. The online academy has attracted hundreds of families -- many of whom are anxious to keep their children out of traditional classrooms because of surging numbers of covid-19 cases.

Franklin was selected earlier this year to simultaneously serve as principal of the digital academy -- based at the Henderson School campus -- and principal at Terry Elementary where she has worked for the past few years. She previously was a teacher and instructional technology specialist in the district.

Contact information for Franklin was not immediately available and the district did not provide a reason for her departure.

Superintendent Mike Poore said Wednesday evening in a text message that he was home sick and that he and his staff would be able to provide an update today.

Millicent Sanders-Anderson is being recommended by Poore to the School Board to be the interim principal at the Ignite Digital Academy and Holly Brown is being recommended to be the interim principal at Terry Elementary.

Brown has been a district educator since 1997, most recently as an assistant principal at Fulbright Elementary. She is a former district teacher of the year.

Sanders has been a district employee since 2001 and has been working as an instructional technology facilitator since July for Ignite Digital Academy.

Previously, Sanders was the facilitator for the Environmental and Spatial Technology or EAST program at Martin Luther King Jr., Elementary School and was a teacher at Henderson Middle School for 15 years before that.

The district has advertised that the Ignite Digital Learning Academy for elementary pupils and another for secondary students -- housed at the West High School of Innovation -- would enroll students up until the first day of school Aug. 16. However, the district announced a week ago that students that enrolled after Aug. 7 would be placed on a waiting list for the schools while district leaders ensured adequate staffing for the online programs.

Regarding the mask issue, the Little Rock district was a plaintiff in a Pulaski County Circuit Court lawsuit challenging a state ban on mask mandates levied by publicly supported agencies, including public school districts. A judge last week stopped the enforcement of Act 1002 until a full hearing is held and a final decision issued.

The Little Rock district staff is recommending the wearing of masks by students and employees in schools or other indoor facilities with the caveat that the mandate will be reviewed after 60 days. Exceptions to the proposed mandate include students and staff members who have medical conditions or, in the case of students, have special needs necessitating an individualized education plan

The public can watch the meeting on the district's YouTube channel: and provide public comment, using this link:

Print Headline: LRSD board to appoint principals


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