DCE teacher selected as IMPACT Arkansas Principal Fellow


Hope Caruthers, a kindergarten teacher at Drew Central Elementary, was recently selected as an IMPACT Arkansas Principal Fellow. IMPACT is a University of Arkansas-based program that has been building leadership capacity in high-needs, rural schools across the state for a decade.

“As a fellow of IMPACT Arkansas, I hope to develop the skills and confidence to become an effective leader in my district,” Caruthers said. “I have a passion for education and an unwavering commitment to student, teacher, and school success, and I am excited to bring that passion to my district as a school leader.”

The selection process for the ninth cohort of fellows was highly competitive. The 21 new members will meet for the first time this month to begin an intensive leadership institute. They’ll spend time bonding as a cohort and taking the first steps of the 18-month program. IMPACT fellows, who earn a master's degree in educational leadership from the U of A, have gone on to become instructional facilitators, assistant principals or principals. The program has proven successful as a teacher-leader pipeline for the highest needs schools in the state.

The educators chosen for the latest IMPACT cohort hail from 10 Arkansas school districts and 20 schools that are new to IMPACT. 

"Our footprint now includes 60 percent of the high-poverty districts in the state," said IMPACT Executive Director John Bacon. "A majority of these new fellows are already serving in formal leadership roles in their schools. We are excited to welcome this impressive group of leaders for Arkansas schools to the IMPACT family.”

IMPACT graduates commit to staying in their current school for two years. Nearly 100 percent remain in Arkansas schools, and 81 percent remain in high-poverty schools.

"Highly effective school leadership is at the heart of attracting and retaining excellent teachers, building community partnerships, and nurturing a school culture where students feel safe and love learning,” said John Pijanowski, the original creator of the program and principal investigator at the U of A.