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LRSD School Board Candidates: Stuart Mackey, Zone 5

Stuart Mackey

Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I don't know a better investment that I can make in my own community than supporting education of students here in Little Rock. Public service has been part of my family's life and I feel it’s the biggest impact I can make, working in public service at a local level… my dad did it, my grandfather did it, I've been involved with the schools for a long time through my kids, and I figure this is a good place to step in and help out.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

“My dad graduated from Little Rock High School before it was Central, my brother, sister and I all graduated from Central. I went to public schools first grade through 12th grade… my kids got in the first full-time Pre-K program in this district and ran all the way through 12th grade and graduated from Central as well, so we’ve got 3 generations [of] Central graduates.”

“I've coached soccer for over 14 years… where I'm dealing with 14 to 22 different students with a variety of different needs, I’ve structured education for them to understand and progress through their skills and become better players. And I've learned how to move with the changing criteria of education, as well as the changes within the structure. So while I don’t have a teaching degree, I've been teaching folks all my life.”

What are your main policy goals or things you want to change while in office?

“Everybody looking to be elected is going to tell you the one main goal is to get the Little Rock School District out of any heightened supervision of the district by the Board of Education… we need to get better education facilities for our kids, we need to make sure the classrooms are prepared to be conduits for education, we make sure staff and teachers are ready to teach and prepared to teach and interested in teaching… the biggest part of doing all that is trust, and if we can't figure out how to gain trust back into the schools, we’ll continue to flounder and wander aimlessly.”

How has the LRSD fared the past five years without a locally-elected school board? How would you re-introduce the concept of a school board?

“The schools have suffered over the last five years because there's not been a local point of contact. Parents don't know where to go… so what we probably need to do is work on finding ways, even in this time of physical distancing, to be out in the community. And we need to make sure that, more than anything, we're sharing the successes.”

Do you think the state takeover of the LRSD in 2015 was fair? What would you do to make sure that wouldn’t happen again?

“I was not happy with the decision… but we need to understand that we're working now with decisions that were made in the past, and I want to look forward.” “The small goals build up to make the big goals to make the district successful. We’ll need to work together to combine the small goals to allow our schools to exceed the state education criteria and keep the local control in place.”

How will you handle any disagreements between board members or with the superintendent or the Department of Education?

“I've worked and been trained in mediation through the National Association of Realtors… and so my experience in the business world, in banking and in doing mediation all give me the background to be able to take a half-step back and say let's look at all the information we can, know when we've got enough or when we start to repeat it, be able to then proactively take an action, move forward with a good plan and a good expectation for results.”