The main goal of Bobby Hart, the new Superintendent of the Searcy School District, is to educate the whole child, starting at an early age.
“I would say he’s a very brave and enthusiastic servant leader,” said Josclyn Wiley, assistant superintendent of the Hope School District, where Hart currently serves as superintendent. “His passion truly lies in enriching education for all of our children here at Hope.”
Hart was named Searcy’s new superintendent on April 2 and will officially take office on July 1. He replaces Superintendent Diane Barrett, who recently retired after 45 years of teaching.
“Searcy is a great school system and city, and I hope I can add to that and the success they’ve had in the past,” Hart said. “I hope to improve what they do, as well as our relationship with [Arkansas State University-Beebe, Searcy Campus]. … I’m just extremely grateful to be part of the system, and I hope to contribute in a positive way and lead the district in the right direction.
Hart served as superintendent at Hope for nine years, after serving as high school principal at Genoa Central in Texarkana. He grew up in Bryant and graduated from Bryant High School in 1987. His mother and father are from White County, his father being a Bald Knob graduate and his mother from Bradford. She has since died and is buried in Russell. Hart’s father, Dave, lives in Bryant.
“I had a couple aunts and an uncle who were teachers, and I thought it was pretty cool to work at the school — it just felt natural to me,” Hart said. “There were also three or four teachers who took an interest in me and saw something in me where I could try to help others.”
Hart said he wanted to come to Searcy because “it’s one of the best school districts in the state” and it was an opportunity for him to grow professionally.
“It was an opportunity to be able to be in a community that was on the cutting edge of a lot of things,” he said.
Hart received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in 1993 and 1995, respectively. He received his Doctor of Education in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University in College Station. Wiley and Hart worked together for five years.
“He allows people around him to work collaboratively and doesn’t put you in a box,” Wiley said. “He really encourages stakeholder input and tries to make the best decision not only for our students, but also for our community members and their families.”
Wiley said Hart helped establish a branch of the Imagination Library in Hempstead County to encourage a love of reading in children even before they came to Hope as students.
Hart was one of four finalists for Searcy’s superintendent position, which included Rick Gales of Stuttgart, Nathan Morris of Cross County and Jerrod Williams of Sheridan. Hart said he even felt honored to be in the running because “all of them are great people and great leaders.”
“After careful consideration and two-hour interviews with all four nominees, the board – which includes Brent Blakely, Chad Joice, Jimmy Simpson and Philip Williams – found Dr Hart to have the kind heart, compassion, wisdom, patience, humility and vision. to lead Searcy Schools toward our goal of “striving for excellence in education,” said Searcy Public Schools Board Chair Mike Liles. “Dr. Hart’s love for students and his love for the education system is evident every time he speaks.
“Our school and our community are in good hands with Dr. Hart carefully guiding us.”
Three years ago, the Hope School District launched its Collegiate Academy, which allows students to earn an associate’s degree by the time they graduate from high school. The first promotion of the academy will graduate this year.
“It’s a major attraction for the community and it’s something I’d like to replicate in some way. [at Searcy]“, said Hart. “I am also very proud of the much needed construction that has been completed, allowing us to get out of some metal buildings.
“The team we’ve built at Hope is also very good. We have the right people in the right seats, and I want to encourage the new superintendent to continue to nurture and nurture this program.
Hart said many high-demand jobs in the area require some kind of training, and he said he sees the importance for high school students to have something that shows they are employable.
“I think that’s something that we as educators need to do,” he said. “We have to prepare them for the test, but we also have to prepare them for the rest of their lives and make a dent in the workforce.”
Initially, Hart began his teaching career as a high school football and basketball coach and had no intention of working in administration.
“You can do a lot of good as a high school football and basketball coach, but you can impact a lot more kids in the principal’s office,” he said. “I was a very average athlete and really, really my high school basketball coach gave me the confidence to do certain things professionally.
“I saw firsthand the impact [coaching and teaching] may have.”