HALL HIGH SCHOOL Brian Chilson

The Little Rock School District Board held a special meeting tonight to consider staffing changes at Hall STEAM Magnet, which the board recently voted to align with nearby Forest Heights STEM Academy. The board was in executive session for about an hour and then returned without explaining the personnel changes. The district later released the following:

Following a unanimous vote during a special board meeting on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, the Little Rock School District announced the following staffing changes:

Amy Cooper assigned as K-12 Principal, Forest Heights STEM K-8/Hall STEAM Magnet High School

Effective July 1, 2021

April Rike assigned as Interim Principal, Hall STEAM Magnet High School

Effective April 1, 2021

Dr. Mark Roberts appointed as ESSER Monitoring and Report Director

Effective April 1, 2021

Cooper will succeed Dr. Roberts who will assume his new role immediately. Roberts will be responsible for the oversight and monitoring of LRSD’s use of allocated Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) funding. Under the ESSER Fund, local districts will receive additional financial support to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Roberts will also help provide technical assistance, training, guidance and support to schools for meeting federal monitoring/reporting requirements.

Current Hall Assistant Principal April Rike will serve as interim principal during the transition in school leadership. A veteran educator with more than two decades of experience at the elementary and secondary levels, Rike began her career with LRSD in 1999 as a career and technical educator.

Cooper began her teaching career with LRSD in 2005 and has worked in a variety of roles, serving as teacher, counselor, specialist, assistant principal, and most recently, principal at Forest Heights STEM Academy – since 2017. She brings a wealth of educational experience to her new position, which will help make a seamless transition for students currently attending Forest Heights who may wish to continue their high school education at Hall.

Props to Jim Ross, UA Little Rock professor, former school board member and longtime LRSD advocate, who had all these details yesterday on his Our Community, Our Schools Facebook page. Here’s what he wrote yesterday:

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Big changes coming to Hall this week. The State Board of Education made massive changes at Hall against the wishes of Mike Poore and almost killed a great school. The teaching staff at Hall had done a great job over the last few years really laying the ground work for a great school. Then the state tried to kill it.

Tomorrow night the Little Rock school board will make changes in the leadership structure of the school. While the current principal did bring in a good program that will help that school, he was a cut throat who went behind the back of Mike Poore and met with the governor and Johnny Key to continue state control of our district. It is beyond time for him to go.

We hear Dr. Roberts will be sent downtown to be in charge of ESSR funding, which we fully expect him to screw up. April Rike, currently vice-principal at Hall will be the interim principal for the remainder of the year. And at the beginning of the school year Amy Cooper will become the leader of the new K12 model for Hall and Forest Heghts.
Ms. Cooper is a dynamic leader and if anyone can put together a team to save Hall it is her. She understands the importance of teachers in making a school great.

I’m excited about the changes coming. It will be important for our new school board to make sure every committee that meets to rework Hall from now to next year is lead by and full of Teachers from Hall. They know what needs to be done. Let’s empower them.