|New Lonoke Superintendent Merle Dickerson|
By Mark Buffalo
LONOKE — The Lonoke School District has a new superintendent following a special school board meeting Wednesday night.
Dr. Merle Dickerson was hired by a unanimous vote to replace Dr. Suzanne Bailey, who submitted her resignation May 29.
Board members in attendance were Darrell Park, Angela Sumner, Anne Swint, Ross Moore and Mike Brown. Tony Kelleybrew and Charles Hunter were absent.
The meeting convened at 5:34 p.m. and a motion was made to go into executive session.
The meeting reconvened at 5:52 p.m.
At that time, the board accepted the retirements of Julius Woolfolk and Billie Jean Armstrong. They also accepted the resignations of the following staff members: Suzanne Bailey, Tracy Samples, Chris Bailey, Jacob Clanton, Lesley Daver, David Landers, Jennifer Powers, Kelly Rogers, Andrea Westmoreland, Brittney Ellis, Rhina Odom and Lauren Landers.
The board then voted to hire Dickerson as superintendent.
Park said no terms of Dickerson’s contract as superintendent have been reached yet but he did agree to come to Lonoke.
Dickerson was previously the superintendent of the Van Buren School District for 13 years, retiring after the 2013-14 school year.
According to the Van Buren Press Argus-Courier, Dickerson graduated from Russellville High School in 1968. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and his doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2000.
During his 43-year education career, Dickerson has served as a band director, school counselor, middle school principal, high school assistant principal and high school principal.
According to the Lonoke Democrat, Suzanne Bailey has accepted a job at Arkansas State University-Beebe.
The Lonoke School Board voted at a special school board meeting April 28 to keep Bailey’s contract as is, meaning it would expire at the end of the 2017-18 school year. A year ago, the board rolled Bailey’s contract over to the 2017-18 school year during the 2015-16 year. The vote on April 28 was 4-2 with Sumner, Swint, Brown and Moore voting to keep her contract as it; Kelleybrew and Park voted against that motion.
According to the Lonoke School District website, Bailey’s annual contract was worth $107,100. Her resignation takes affect June 30.