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Karen Walters
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Karen Walters

I have lived in Arkansas all my life. The majority of that time has been in small, rural towns. I graduated high school in a class of 22. The 23-24 school year began my 31st year in education. I spent six years as an elementary teacher, six years as an elementary principal, four years in assistant superintendent/deputy superintendent roles, three years as asst. commissioner with the Arkansas Department of Education, and 12 years as superintendent. The last twelve years of my career have been spent in the Little Rock area. I obtained my Bachelors and Masters degrees at Arkansas State University and my doctoral degree from Harding University.

My parents instilled a value of education in both me and my sister. We are first generation college graduates. Growing up in an extremely small town of high poverty, I was still able to see many positive role models and examples of successful graduates who went on to do great things. I attribute that to the great teachers at our school that pushed us to believe we could do whatever we wanted to do, even if we lived in a town of 400 people. I also believe they started the fire in my belly for public education.

I am so blessed to have been born to the best parents ever and a loving and supportive big sister, who all raised me. My husband of ten years is my rock. We love our blended family that continues to grow. We have four grown children, two bonus grandchildren, and a new one on the way. Spending time with family is important to us and something we thoroughly enjoy. I also enjoy volunteering for community events with the Chamber and providing meals for a local community center.

Past AASA Arkansas Superintendent of the Year Winners:

2023 Arkansas Superintendent of the Year: Dr. Jared A. Cleveland

2022 Arkansas Superintendent of the Year: John Ward

2021 Arkansas Superintendent of the Year: Benny Weston

About the Award:

The Superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by First Student and AASA, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation’s public schools.

State-level winners are selected on the following criteria:

  • Leadership for Learning
  • Communication
  • Professionalism
  • Community Involvement

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