Van Buren High School Freshman Academy principal Lisa Miller was praised Tuesday night for making an impact on students and helping them grow with the opportunities that are provided at the school.

Miller was recognized at the monthly school board meeting for achieving the status of master school principal.

She completed three years of rigorous professional development plus an additional year of performance evaluations to achieve the designation this spring from the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Program.

“The school board should be proud of Lisa and her staff at the Freshman Academy,” said Brenda Tash, leader of the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Program.

Miller is the first secondary school principal in Arkansas to achieve the master school principal status.

Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat pointed out that Miller does a phenomenal job for the Van Buren School District and board president Candice Settle-Beshears thanked Miller for all of her hard work.

Miller said she appreciated the board’s support in the “amazing learning opportunity.”

The Arkansas Leadership Academy is based in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. The academy’s Master Principal Program was authorized by Act 44 of the Second Extraordinary Session of the 2003 Arkansas General Assembly.

Also on Tuesday, the board welcomed newly hired Pointer head football coach Casey Dick, his wife Felicia and children, Ava, 5, and Beckett, 16 months, to Van Buren.

Dick said he was “super glad to be in Van Buren” where he said his family received a “first-class welcome.”

The coach said he has big hopes for the future of the football program.

“Everyone is ready to get going and I believe we can make it happen,” he said.

Felicia Dick said she plans to be at all the games.

“You will hear me,” she said.

Board member Kevin Bell expressed his appreciation to Dick “for believing in us.”

A football scrimmage is scheduled for May 25 at Citizens Bank Stadium at Blakemore Field.

Van Buren High School senior Kayla Young was recognized at the meeting for being one of four recipients in the state of a 2018 Arkansas School Board Association Foundation scholarship.

Young, the daughter of school board member Carman Young and Todd Young, plans to attend the University of Central Arkansas in the fall.

Jeffcoat told the board the district has received 120 school choice requests for the 2018-19 school year, including 44 for the River Valley Virtual Academy. Last year, VBSD had 100 requests and prior years from 40 to 50, he said.

The new track at Van Buren High School is on schedule to be completed by the first of July, Jeffcoat said.

He said engineers are digging test holes for the district’s new elementary school on Northridge Drive in preparation for accepting construction bids by the end of the month.

“We hope to be pushing around dirt in June,” he said.

The board also:

• Hired Jordan Newell as a classroom teacher at City Heights Elementary School, Jaime Clevenger as education examiner at Central Elementary School, Kayla Elmore as classroom teacher at Parkview Elementary School, Michael Hensley as assistant principal at Freshman Academy, Christa Khamphengpheth as classroom teacher at Rena Elementary School, Jordan Taylor as classroom teacher at Tate Elementary School, April Canaday as cook at City Heights, Bridget Moore as cook at Tate, India Wing as a CASE instructor at Freshman Academy, Amber Anderson as a school nurse for Parkview and Rena, Charles Caldwell as maintenance - skilled II, Ashley Fleming as school nurse for Central and City Heights, Brooke Parks as school nurse at Tate, Hannah Wolf as cook for the district’s food truck and Lorie Wooden as cook at Butterfield Trail Middle School.

• Accepted the resignations of David Harrison as a classroom teacher at BTMS, Hilaree Henderson as classroom teacher at Izard Center for Learning and Robert Pool as classroom teacher and head track and assistant football coach at the Freshman Academy.

• Approved school board meeting dates for 2018-19 of Aug. 14, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 13, Dec. 11, Jan. 8, Feb. 12, March 12, April 9, May 14 and June 11.