Leader Blues

Friday, April 09, 2010

TOP STORY >> District to interview finalist it passed up

By NANCY DOCKTER
Leader staff writer

The school board for the Pulaski County Special School District voted Thursday to call back Charles Hopson, an Arkansas native with Jacksonville roots, who was among four finalists previously considered for the superintendent’s post.

The board hopes to fill the position before the contract of the interim chief runs out June 30.

“I am shooting for the 14th (of April),” school board president Tim Clark said about an inter view with Hopson, “but we’ll talk with him whenever he is available.”

“He is an outstanding candidate. I had nothing but kudos for him,” school board member Bill Vasquez of Jacksonville said about Hopson when he was interviewed by the board several months ago.

Hopson has been a teacher and principal in Portland, Ore., schools and serves as deputy superintendent of the district, which has an enrollment of 46,000 students.

He graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in elementary education and has a doctorate in educational policy and management.

Hopson has been away for 18-20 years. His mother lives in Jacksonville, according to Vasquez. “His first job after he graduated was with Pulaski County Special School District at Northwood in 1982. He knows what a tremendous district this was. He is ready to come home.”

Vasquez says Hopson has the leadership and experience to deal with tough issues. The teachers union is “tough” in Oregon, a pro-labor state, and by comparison, the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers is “really, really mild-mannered,” Vasquez said. In addition, Hopson has weathered the Portland district being under court supervision.