Lindsey Gustafson was, in August, appointed to the School Board of the Pulaski County Special School District to represent Maumelle.
Gustafson previously served on the advisory board for the school district from 2013 to 2016, when it was under state control, and is currently the associate dean of academic affairs at the Bowen School of Law at UALR, where she has worked since 1998.
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Her undergraduate and law school degrees are both from Brigham Young University and she went to high school at the now-closed Oak Grove, that was replaced by Maumelle High School.
Gustafson, above, replaces Alicia Gillen Wilmoth, who resigned in July, and she will serve out Wilmoth’s term that ends in November 2022 as the appointment comes after the filing deadline for the school board election this fall.
Below is a lightly edited transcript of an interview with Gustafson from Tuesday before her first School Board meeting that night.
Being an attorney, and a law school dean, you bring some unique insight into both legal issues and teaching. How do you think that will help you on the board as well as providing guidance and leadership to the district?
I obviously cannot act as the Board's attorney -- I’'m not licensed in Arkansas -- but it is helpful to understand both the law and the value of good teaching. I appreciate good teachers every day, both in my work at the law school and as a parent.
Looking back, what was your personal biggest achievement in that capacity?
If you are talking about my job teaching, my biggest challenge every year is helping every student succeed, and when that happens it is my most significant achievement. Every student needs to be diagnosed so that we, as teachers, can help that student progress. It is immensely satisfying to be part of the learning process.
What was, to you, the biggest achievement made by the district?
I'm not sure I can answer this yet. As a parent, I've paid the most attention to the training, support, and retention of good teachers.
Now that you are on the Board, what do you hope to see the district do this school year as well as what you hope to see in the future?
We need to continue to keep students and educators physically safe in a pandemic. But across the country (actually the world), we all also have a tremendous responsibility to assess the pandemic's impact on student learning and advancement. I assume we will all be working to help students who are behind or off track.