FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - The Fayetteville Public Schools system has a new leader, just in time for students to get back in class on Aug. 18.
Paul Hewitt was a teacher in California for 18 years before moving to superintendent for 17 years. For the last seven years, Hewitt has taught educational leadership at the University of Arkansas. The new superintendent said he is looking forward to creating a solid educational team, after being chosen earlier this year to lead Fayetteville schools.
"We have 200 new teachers in the last three years, and so it's been a tremendous shift in personnel. So people who think they knew Fayetteville School District, I say this is the new Fayetteville School District," Hewitt said.
Hewitt started as superintendent on July 1, and said his main goal in the first few months of the 2014-2015 school year is to meet every faculty member.
"I think I would be a really poor leader if I said, 'This is what we are going to do this year,' without sitting down with the people who are actually carrying it out and talking about the direction we are going," Hewitt said.
Hewitt addressed the multiple bomb threats in Fayetteville Schools in the spring semester by saying students need to know any threats made will have serious consequences. In May, the principal at Washington Elementary School did not report a bomb threat to authorities for nearly three hours after the threat was found. Hewitt said the school will follow bomb threat procedures by contacting police immediately.
"It will be treated very seriously, and the law enforcement agencies in town treat it very seriously," Hewitt said, "So we are going to try to make sure they understand this is not something you joke about."
Hewitt said he will be working hard to get the Common Core standards implemented into all of the school's curriculum. He said this goal, along with creating a top-notch faculty, will be a top priority in his time leading Fayetteville Public Schools. He said he hopes to leave behind a lasting impression.
"I'm hoping they will say that I was a collaborative leader who built a strong educational team in this town, and that the school district is better off now than it was when he came," Hewitt said.