Benton Schools' CFO to retire; other personnel changes announced

Laura Baber, Benton School District CFO.
Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

The Benton School District has announced a number of personnel changes, including the upcoming retirement of the district’s longtime chief financial officer.

Laura Baber will retire at the end of the 2018- 19 contract year, as well as Ringgold Elementary teacher Jean Curtis and Benton Junior High SPED teacher Robby Wright.

According to the Benton School District website, Baber has been in education for (31) years. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in elementary administration from Henderson State University. Baber spent her first eight years in education as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher. The next 11 years, she was a Title 1 facilitator before moving into administration as an assistant principal, a position she held for two years. She was the principal of Angie Grant Elementary for seven years and graduated from the Arkansas Master Principal program in May 2015. She began her position as CFO in July 2015.

Benton High School Orientation to Teaching leader Paula Tharp will also retire.

Angie Grant Elementary School teacher Ashley Ingram has submitted her resignation for the 2019-20 school year. Loren McCauley, who also teaches at Angie Grant, has resigned effective the end of the 2018-19 contract year. Medical Professions Instructor Cindy Stone’s resignation will be effective Feb 28.

Other resignations include:
•Chance Buster – Certified IT Technician.
•Jenna Hooks – BJH Attendance Secretary.
•Tammy Shaw – Custodian.

A number of new hires for the district have also been announced.

Devyn Cates will assume the role of Benton Junior High counselor for the 2019- 20 school year, while Lisa Ladd will serve as counselor for Benton High School.

Mary Shelnut will serve the junior high in a SPED role for the upcoming school year. Shelly Simmons began her new role as junior high attendance secretary Feb. 12.

Current high school custodian Sandy Brewer will transfer to Benton Middle School beginning Monday. Voluntary contracts have been approved for Hannah Moore, Kelsey Fortune, Ray Potter and Jennifer Withers.

Temporary contracts have been approved for the following:
•Roxana Gosvener – Homebound services.
•Rob Cox – Transportation.
•Connie Jeffcoat – Credit recovery/dropout prevention.
•Sadeidre SmithLawrence – Credit recovery/ dropout prevention.

The Benton School Board unanimously voted to approve all of the above personnel changes during its Monday meeting.

All meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.