HWHSD Board President Andrew Bagley formally filed to run for one of the two at-large positions on the HWHSD School Board being elected on November 8.
Bagley said, “I am honored that 207 of our citizens from all five of the school district’s zones signed a petition supporting my placement on the ballot. I promise the residents of this school district that, if reelected, I will continue to get up every day working to make sure that something great happens in HWHSD just as I have done as the President of this Board for the past several years. As long as we Put the Kids First as this Board has done, the district will continue to move in the right direction.”
Bagley celebrated the return to local control shortly after filing his papers to qualify for the ballot. He said, “This board, along with our administration and staff, has worked very hard for the past several years to make the decisions necessary so that we could get our schools back. I have been proud to have been a part of the effort and want to continue my service to this school district by continuing the progress we have already made. We have put the kids first on this board while I have been President and it is my hope that we will continue that philosophy moving forward. If we do, the Helena-West Helena School District has unlimited potential.”
Bagley cited a number of achievements during his tenure as the President of the Board. He said, “It has been a privilege to lead this board during such a pivotal time and we have made great strides financially, academically, and on facilities. Currently, three major facilities projects are in progress. We have a new addition being built at J. F. Wahl that will allow us to consolidate all of our Pre-K through 6 operations on one campus with more modern facilities. This $6 million facility is being paid for with no tax increase and over $3 million in state funding. We are also repairing and resurfacing our track and improving drainage at Cad Polk Stadium. Half of this project is being paid for with private funds received from the Helena Health Foundation. Finally, the parking lot is going to be repaired at our bus garage this summer.”
Bagley continued, “This board has also overseen a substantial improvement of the district’s technology to enhance instruction. We have initiated a one-to-one tablet program where we are working to put a tablet in every child’s hand with ebooks and other instructional software programs to aid them in preparing for a world with massive technology use. We have also completed a massive upgrade of the district’s network capacity to better enable our teachers to use more technology during instruction and so that we could be prepared for all mandated testing to be moved online.”
Finally, Bagley noted, “We also made improvements to the athletic facilities. The badly decayed wood seating at Cad Polk Stadium has been upgraded to aluminum seating that is handicap accessible. Also, private funds secured by the HWH Booster Club built a new concession stand at the stadium. In the gymnasium, the Booster Club partnered with Southern Bancorp to install a wood playing surface to improve the facility for the district’s basketball and volleyball programs.”
Bagley added, “The next step in making sure that our students have adequate facilities like the successful districts around the state is to construct modern high school facilities. Our facilities are very old and have many structural difficulties and aren’t suited for the modern technology required for today’s instruction. The Board, working with the district’s architects, the Facilities Division of the Arkansas Department of Education, and the Superintendent, developed a plan for the high school which brings in $7.3 million in projected state aid while requiring a millage increase that will only cost the average homeowner in HWHSD 40 cents per day. I hope this community will join me in supporting that millage so that we can have adequate facilities for our students.”
Bagley continued by saying, “It has been an honor to work with so many great people on this board, on our staff, and in this community to move HWHSD in the right direction. I believe that the future of HWHSD is bright if we continue the philosophy of putting the kids first, which has been my philosophy as Board President. I believe that we have a moral obligation to make sure our schools are great. The Book of Matthew provides us with direction not to hinder the children. Our community’s future depends on it. The next generation has to be ready for the modern work environment and economic development requires a thriving, world-class public school system in order to attract large employers. We all depend on a successful HWHSD. I am asking the community to vote for me so that we can continue moving the district in the right direction.”
Bagley also highlighted the academic gains made by the district during his time as President of the Board. He said, “Our teachers have worked very hard and the district’s test scores have been moving upward every year. We are very close to having the high school removed from the academic distress list. In fact, test scores were only 0.083% from reaching that goal this past year. All of our schools have scores that compare favorably with schools surrounding us. These successes are a testament to the great things our teachers are making happen every day in the classrooms at Wahl, Miller, and Central. Additionally, the Board has created ‘Academies’ at the elementary schools so that enhanced curriculums focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and math will be available for those families that seek an advanced college-preparatory curriculum.”
Bagley is a Social Science Instructor at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas. Prior to beginning his career at PCCUA, he taught World History at Central High School and Social Studies at Elaine High School. Bagley also was a member of the Arkansas Department of Education Committee that wrote the most recent version of the state’s Social Studies content standards. He has also held positions in private industry as well. Bagley graduated from Barton High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Ouachita Baptist University and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Baylor University.
Bagley has been active in HWHSD for many years. He is the Secretary of the HWH Booster Club, which raises private funds for extracurricular activities. During the decade he has served as an officer for the club, over $250,000 in private funds have been injected into the extracurricular programs at Central High School. He has been the Voice of the Cougars on the radio for 11 years. Bagley has served the community in many other capacities as well, including six years on the Phillips County Quorum Court, one term on the Delta Cultural Center Policy Advisory Board, and one term on the Boards of Main Street Helena and the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce.
Bagley is married to the former Sandra Valley. Together, they have five children and five grandchildren. One grandchild, Gabriel, has been enrolled in the Helena-West Helena School District since Kindergarten and will be entering the 4th grade this fall at Eliza Miller Elementary School.