Dr. Bobby Hart from Hope School District becomes Searcy's next superintendent

Dr. Bobby Hart (left) talks to Searcy School Board President Dr. Michael Liles, Superintendent Diane Barrett and School Board member Philip Williams (right) after he was named Searcy’s next superintendent at a special meeting early Friday evening. Hart, currently the Hope School District superintendent, starts at Searcy on July 1.

The Searcy School Board has picked its next superintendent, deciding on Dr. Bobby R. Hart to replace Diane Barrett, who’s retiring at the end of June.

Hart has been the superintendent of the Hope School District for the last six years. He will take over as Searcy’s superintendent July 1, a day after Barrett ends her 11 years in the position. She has spent 45 years in education.

Hart said at Friday evening’s special meeting that he appreciates the opportunity to serve and told the School Board, “I look forward to working with each and everyone of you.”

His salary was not mentioned, but School Board member Philip Williams said his contract is subject to an index multiplier off the step certified teacher salaries. The multiplier is 2.83417.

Hart has 27 years of experience, so according to Searcy’s salary schedule, he will be paid $185,000 a year. Barrett was being paid $169,422.

Hart also will have unlimited use of a school vehicle, 12 days of vacation and two personal days, according to the School Board. Payment of dues to professional organizations is also included in Hart’s deal. He is a member of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators.

He also is a member of the Arkansas Imagination Library board and Arkansas School Resource Center Rural Advisory Board and serves as an educational representative for the Arkansas State Police Child Abduction Response Team.

Hart has a bachelor degree in physical education, a master’s in physical education administration and a specialist degree before he finished his doctorate degree. His undergraduate work was at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and he also went there to get his master’s of science. He got his Doctor of Education in educational administration at Texas A&M. In 2019, he was inducted into the Southern Arkansas University Educational Leadership Hall of Fame.

Before becoming Hope’s superintendent, he had been a high school principal, including at Newport High School, and athletic director and head football coach at Augusta High School. He is a 1987 graduate of Bryant High School.

In an interview with The Daily Citizen after Friday’s special meeting, Hart said “We had some conversations last night that we thought this might be possible. They were gracious to invite me to the board meeting tonight. It has been a whirlwind day. I am very impressed with the entire district and I hope I can contribute.”

He said his full-day interview for the position was “a little taxing but it was fun; being on point all day, but it was fun. I enjoyed visiting with everyone in the stakeholder groups.”

Hart and his wife, Christy, have twins who will be turning 14 on Tuesday. Trenton and Aubrey are going into ninth grade.

“I am excited,” Christy Hart said. “We are very blessed and it’s just one step in the right direction, We are really excited about what Searcy can be for our kids. We are just excited about the change and the opportunity.”

The other candidates for the job were Dr. Rick Gales, Superintendent of Stuttgart, Dr. Nathan Morris, Cross County Superintendent of Cross County and Jerrod Williams, Superintendent of the Sheridan School District.”

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