Leader Blues

Monday, March 26, 2007

TOP STORY >>Job in Lincoln an $80,000 cut

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Dr. Frank Holman, the outgoing superintendent of the Cabot School District, is so popular in the Lincoln School District — where he’s returning as superintendent at a vastly reduced salary — that a technology center is named after him at the high school.

Lincoln Superintendent Jim Lewis, a past principal at Southside Elementary school in Cabot, said, “During my tenure (as superintendent), when Dr. Holman’s name came up, it was always in a positive way.

“The public seems excited that he is returning,” said Lewis, who expects Holman will have a smooth move to the Lincoln district.

“He is well acquainted with the community and the staff, so he should have a smooth transition,” Lewis added, especially since Holman’s background includes more than a dozen years at Lincoln, which is near Fayetteville.

Holman’s last day as superintendent of Cabot schools will be June 30 and he will start as head of the Lincoln Consolidated School District July 1.

Holman, 57, resigned during the school board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, saying that although he had planned to retire from Cabot several years from now, he had gotten an opportunity to return to Lincoln, a place he considers his hometown.
“The great opportunity I’ve had here is unbelievable; outstanding teachers, administrators and board. I think we’re doing some outstanding things for students,” Holman said.

Holman was hired Thursday night by the Lincoln district during a special school board meeting.

Although contract details have not been disclosed, Holman’s salary at Lincoln is expected to be significantly lower than what he made in Cabot. As Cabot chief, he makes $172,695, plus an additional $6,000 car allowance. He was offered $150,000 when hired by Cabot five years ago.

In 2003, Holman was the highest-paid superintendent in the state; he was ranked sixth in the state for the 2005-2006 school year. His salary at Lincoln will be based on its salary schedule and rating for the superintendent.
In a report to the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee in January 2006, the total superintendent salary and benefits package for Lincoln was $95,926.

Superintendent Lewis, who is leaving Lincoln to pursue other opportunities, confirmed his current salary is about $96,000.
Lewis has been Lincoln’s chief for the last five years. This was his first superintendent position. Lewis was employed by the Cabot School District for four years, when he was principal at Southside Elementary from 1992-96.

Holman became aware of Lincoln’s opening when board members sought his advice after Lewis announced he would be leaving at the end of the year, but not going into retirement.

“I’m looking to other educational ventures,” Lewis told The Leader during a phone interview Friday. He also said he did not plan on leaving the area and his children would remain in Lincoln schools. Holman expressed interest in Lewis’ position when he met with Lincoln officials earlier this month and became their preferred applicant. Holman had previously worked for Lincoln schools for 16 years, 1982 through 1998; it was his first superintendent’s position, after starting there as a coach, teacher and then principal.

A technology center in Lincoln High School, which includes a state-of-the-art media center, is named after Holman.
“He had a huge focus on technology when he was previously here,” Lewis said of Holman. “At that time, Lincoln had one of the first distance-learning labs in the state.”

Lewis added that the technology center was built as an addition to the high school in the late 1990s, after Holman had moved to the Arkadelphia district.

“To thank him, Lincoln named the building after him,” Lewis said. After leaving the Lincoln district, Holman was chief of Arkadelphia schools from 1998 to 2002.

He came to Cabot schools in 2002 and was named Arkansas Superintendent of the Year in 2006.
A 1971 graduate of Arkansas Tech University, he began teaching and coaching at Belleville, now Western Yell School District in 1976.

He left there in 1980 to teach at Clinton for two years and then began his 16-year career at Lincoln.