Leader Blues

Monday, March 26, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Supt. Holman leaves Cabot

Cabot School Superintendent Frank Holman is moving back to northwest Arkansas, where he spent his early career as an educator and school administrator. Although in Cabot he had one of the highest-paid superintendent jobs in the state, earning more than $172,000 a year, Holman, 57, is taking a steep cut in pay — almost 50 percent — to go back to an area he loves and will make his retirement home in a few years.

Holman has accomplished a great deal in Cabot, building schools and introducing innovative programs, as well as dealing with the loss of Cabot Junior High North, which will take some time to rebuild after last year’s fire virtually destroyed the campus.
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We thought he would see through its reconstruction, which could take several years, as funding is still lacking. Insurance and state aid will pay for about half the cost of the $20 million project, although Cabot’s rapid growth would help fund the rebuilding with additional state aid and a modest millage increase.

Plans could be scaled back, though, if the district moves some of the junior high school students to the middle and high schools and builds a smaller school emphasizing a special academic field for certain students.

Whoever leads the district will have to work on plans for the new junior high school or its alternatives, not to mention the challenges of a growing district that needs a new school every couple of years.

Holman’s successor will step into a pressure-filled job that requires a solid educational background, sound judgment and the skills of a diplomat. It’s a job that could wear down anybody, especially someone who’s looking to early retirement in the gentle hills of northwest Arkansas. As for Holman’s successor, there’s plenty of talent available at the district, including longtime assistant superintendent Jim Dalton, who deserves careful consideration by the board.