Gov. Asa Hutchinson today announced two appointments to the state Board of Education:

* Ouida Newton of Leola was a long-timeteacher at Poyen, where her husband Jerry, was school superintendent. A math teacher, she was Arkansas Teacher of the Year in 2015. She succeeds Toyce Newton of Crossett (no relation).


* Dr. Fitz Hill is  the president of Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, but will be stepping down to a different role in August. He succeeds Vicki Saviers of Little Rock.

Both terms run through 2023.


Hutchinson has now appointed five of the nine members of the state Board. It is a critical player in deciding which schools districts may be taken over for poor academic or financial performance and acting as the gatekeeper for creation of new charter schools. It has already been generally supportive of charter expansion, which Hutchinson has shown support for. A charter school, Premier High School, operates on the Arkansas Baptist Campus.

Said the governor in a prepared statement:


“I am pleased to appoint Ouida Newton and Dr. Fitz Hill to the State Board of Education. Mrs. Newton and Dr. Hill bring a great deal of experience to the Board with their extensive background in education. I am confident they will be great additions to the Board. They both care deeply about our public education system and providing the greatest opportunities for our children.”