Among other appointments today, Gov. Mike Beebe appointed Kim Davis, director of External Relations and Economic Development at the Northwest Arkansas Council, to succeed Brenda Gullett on the state Board of Education.
These appointments become more important as the Board increasingly deals with pressure from a lobby led by the Walton Family Foundation and nonprofits it supports to provide readier transfers among school districts and more charter schools and expansion of virtual education and other alternatives to conventional public school districts. Gullett departed from that lobby’s wishes on occasion in the board’s debates.
Davis works now in economic development for the Council, backed heavily by Walmart, Sam’s Club and Tyson Foods. A spokesman said he’d worked previously in the council’s educational work group. He’s a native of New Orleans and taught in New York, among others. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and a certification in education administration. His wife works for Sam’s Club.
Davis, 43, designed the Reach Out NWA program, Beebe’s office said. It is used by 10 school districts in the area. Volunteers visit homes of students at risk of dropping out. It’s credited with returning more than 400 students to school last year.