After 38 years as Superintendent of Springdale Public Schools, Dr. Jim Rollins has resigned to accept the position of President of the Northwest Technical Institute. Dr. Rollins’ letter of resignation was accepted by the Springdale School Board Tuesday, June 2. He was announced as President of NWIT Wednesday, June 3.
Dr. Rollins joined the Springdale staff in 1980 as Director of Secondary Education. Two years later he was elevated to Superintendent. Dr. Rollins’ 38 years is the third longest term ever served by an Arkansas superintendent in one school district.
“Dr. Rollins is a great example of a school leader and community leader who all of us can look up to for the work he has done,” said Arkansas Commissioner of Education Johnny Key. “His work in Springdale is one of the major reasons for the success and growth of Northwest Arkansas. I am looking forward to working with him in his new role and am excited about the leadership he brings to the Northwest Arkansas Technical Institute.”
Springdale School Board President Michelle Cook added, “For almost 40 years Dr. Rollins has built a legacy at Springdale Public Schools that includes growth, innovation and excellence. Businesses have been quick to partner with his new ideas in order to bring the very best to our schools. His vision of ‘Teach Them All’ has become a way of life in our district.
“Because teachers and administrators have grown to be the best in the state under Dr. Rollins’ direction, I am confident he has prepared all of us for the next step. Dr. Rollins’ experience collaborating with businesses, guiding educators and leading in innovation makes him uniquely qualified to excel at leading NWTI.
“I look forward to the partnership between NWTI and Springdale Schools to help prepare our students for the workplace. I am thankful for Dr. Rollins and the mark he has left on me, my family and thousands of others.”
Dr. Rollins has overseen amazing growth in a district that had about 6,000 students when he arrived and has become the largest district in Arkansas with over 23,000 students when counting pre-k to 12th grade. It is also one of the most diverse districts in Arkansas and Dr. Rollins’ leadership has led the district to host the largest Family Literacy Program in the country.
Since he has been Superintendent, Dr. Rollins has overseen construction of 22 schools, including the Don Tyson School of Innovation where most of stage two will be completed by the beginning of the fall semester, effectively doubling the school’s capacity to over 2,000. The DTSOI is the first school of its kind in Arkansas and there are few like it in the United States.
Dr. Rollins also has orchestrated the construction of Har-Ber High School’s Wildcat Stadium, the Dennis DeBusk Track at Springdale High School, baseball and softball facilities at Springdale and Har-Ber High Schools and the renovation of Jarrell Williams Bulldog Stadium among numerous other projects.
Before moving to Springdale, Dr. Rollins was principal for two years at McClellan High School in Little Rock. He was assistant principal for a year, then principal for two years at Lakewood Junior High in North Little Rock before accepting the position at McClellan.
He began his professional academic career as a general science teacher at Ridgeroad Junior High in North Little Rock. After two years there he moved to Ole Main High School in North Little Rock where he taught chemistry for two years before becoming assistant principal at Lakewood Junior High.
Among Dr. Rollins’ accomplishments and honors since he has been in Springdale are:
*Twice Arkansas Superintendent of the Year (1992, 2004).
*Received 2020 Outstanding Alumnus Award in Education from the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
*Received Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major Innovation Service Award, presented at the U.S. Dept. of Education, Washington, D.C., 2018.
*Named Administrator of the Year by the Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association, 2018-19.
*Honored at “Leaders to Learn From” event conducted by Education Week magazine in Washington, D.C., 2017.
*Presented the 2016 “Excellence in Education Award” by the AdvancED organization.
*Featured in Money magazine as one of 50 “Money Heroes” across the nation for efforts to promote economic education in the public schools.
*Represented Arkansas on Governing Board of the American Association of School Administrators, 2014-17.
*Member, Board of Directors of Springdale Chamber of Commerce.
*Past President, Board of Directors, Rodeo of the Ozarks.
*Member Springdale Rotary Club.
*Named 2014 Arkansas Music Educators Association Administrator of the Year, 2014.
*Named Arkansas Scholastic Press Association Administrator of the Year, 2015.
*Received Unity Award for service to the Northwest Arkansas Community (citation presented by Arkansas House of Representatives, 2015).
*Honored as one of “40 Years/40 Leaders for Arkansas by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, 2014.
*Recipient of Humanitarian Award presented by the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the National Federation for Just Communities, 2009.
*Received “Friend of AAGEA” Award from the Arkansas Association of Gifted Educators, 2005.
*Named “Arkansas Honorary State Farmer” by Arkansas Future Farmers of America, 2006.
*Was Arkansas’ representative in the U.S. Dept. of Education’s “Superintendents Task Force” regarding the No Child Left Behind initiative.
*President of Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, 2003-04; member of the AAEA Board of Directors, 1987-2020.
*Alumnus of the Decade, Arkansas College at Batesville, 2000.
*State committee member, Arkansas Joint Council for Economic Education.
*Member of board of EAST, 2015-present.
*President of Arkansas Association of School Administrators, 1991-92.
*Past President, Arkansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
*Past President, Northwest Arkansas Administrators Association.
*Past President, Board of Directors of Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative.
*Member of Arkansas Association of School Administrators legislative committee.
*Lifetime Board Member of Economics Arkansas (President, 2011-12).
*Member, steering committee, Arkansas State Workforce Development Commission, 1997.
*Member of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education advisory board on the High Schools That Work network (formed in 2002).
Dr. Rollins earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from Arkansas College in Batesville (now Lyon College). He earned his masters of education degree, his specialist degree in secondary administration and his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Arkansas.