Tony Wood Approved as AR Education Commissioner

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - The State Board of Education approved Tony Wood as the Arkansas Department of Education commissioner at its meeting today. Gov. Mike Beebe previously recommended Wood for the position. Wood, currently the deputy commissioner, will replace Dr. Tom Kimbrell, who has accepted the superintendent position at the Bryant School District. 

“Tony Wood is clearly a good choice to be our next commissioner of education,” Gov. Beebe said. “He has always put the needs of students first throughout his academic career, and Tony has carried that philosophy statewide while serving Arkansas as deputy commissioner.”

“While transition is never simple, I cannot imagine being more confident in the leadership of the department and the future of education in Arkansas,” SBE Board Chair Brenda Gullett said. “Tony Wood is an exceptional leader and will be an exceptional commissioner.” 

The board went into executive session during lunch and voted when the meeting resumed. 

Wood will assume his new role July 1. As commissioner, Wood will oversee the agency as it continues with the implementation of the state educational standards, teacher/administrator evaluation systems and student assessment. 

“I am very honored to be chosen by Gov. Mike Beebe and the State Board of Education to serve as Arkansas’ next commissioner of education,” Wood said. “Preparing Arkansas students for college and careers will continue to be the highest priority for the agency.” 

Wood began his career in education as a chemistry and biology teacher in the Beedeville School District. He later taught math and chemistry at Judsonia before becoming principal and later superintendent at the Kensett School District, where he worked for 14 years. Wood served as the deputy superintendent for the Little Rock School District prior to accepting the superintendent role at Searcy, a position he held for 18 years before being named deputy commissioner. 

Wood has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Education from Harding University at Searcy and an administrator certification from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

He is a member of the Arkansas Rural Education Association and Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators.

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