Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell named the superintendent of the Eureka Springs Public Schools to take over the financially troubled Mineral Springs School District today.
Dr. Kimbrell took control of the Mineral Springs district on Thursday, dissolved the district's governing board and ordered the closure of the Saratoga Elementary School campus, effective in the fall semester 2013-2014 school year
He appointed Curtis Turner, a former teacher, and long time superintendent, to fill the top job at Mineral Springs, effective July 1, when the contract of former superintendent Max Adcock expires. Adcock's contract was not renewed by the former Mineral Springs board, and he has been on administrative suspension with pay pending the expiration of his contract.
“Mr. Turner has experience in assisting fiscally distressed school districts to develop and work through recovery and improvement plans,” Kimbrell said in an announcement Friday. “I believe his is the right person to look at the big picture and know what the priorities are.”
The former Mineral Springs board met with Turner in March in the first round of interviews it conducted in seeking a replacement for Adcock.
Phyllis Stewart, ADE chief of staff, said Friday that Turner's selection was entirely coincidental to that interview.
“This is an appointment Dr. Kimbrell made,” Stewart said. She said Turner will report directly to Kimbrell.
“The district will have to resolve its fiscal distress status before a local board can be elected,” Stewart said. “Dr. Kimbrell will act in the place of a school board.”
Turner, a native of Murfreesboro, has been superintendent at Delight, Murfreesboro, and Glenwood/Centerpoint. He has also worked in the ADE Fiscal Distress Unit. He holds a master of education degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, and superintendency certification from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Turner will replace Mineral Springs Interim Superintendent Bill Blackwood, who was hired on the recommendation of Kimbrell.
“We have to set a new strategic direction in Mineral Springs to put the district on sound financial footing and have schools that are student centered and focused on academic achievement,” Turner said in the ADE announcement Friday.