New High School Principal Takes Reins At Arkansas Arts Academy

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ROGERS (KFSM) -- A new principal has taken over at the Arkansas Arts Academy High School in Rogers.

Heather Wright, a former Chemistry teacher, was unanimously approved by the school board during a special meeting on Thursday (Sept. 7).

Wright's promotion came about a month after former principal Barb Padgett abruptly resigned, leading to protests from both students and parents.

After nearly a decade with the school district, Wright had always been interested in climbing the ranks to become an administrator.

She was selected from a pool of candidates to take over the helm of the high school.

Her first day on the job was Tuesday (Sept. 12), but had served as the high school's chemistry teacher until the promotion, becoming a familiar face to many students.

"To already have a handle on the types of students we have, what their hopes and dreams are, what issues they bring to the table and what they're capable of," Wright said. "It's nice to know that already."

It's still unclear what led to Padgett's exit from the district.

Since that time, Wright said teacher's have talked with students about their concerns. Wright herself said she hopes to ease the fears that some may have.

"I made sure that they all know that the culture that we have here, which is welcoming and open and supportive," Wright said. "It's something that I value and something that makes us unique and it's not going away."

During her presentation to the school board, prior to their confirmation vote, Wright presented several areas that she would like to reform or improve as principal.

One particular example would be to assess student schedules and allow them more time for subjects they may struggle in or enjoy and would like to strengthen.

Another proposal involves getting students from the high school involved within the community.

"We have some amazingly talented artists, musicians, actors and singers," said Wright. "We want to share that with the greater Northwest Arkansas Community."

"So, I'm really excited about helping to get them out there so that they can share their talents."