Don Benton still considers himself a teacher.
“I was affectionate of alleged to it,” Benton said. “It wasn’t article I planned — there was some action activity on in my life, and I had no abstraction about it.
“A college ability guided me bottomward that path.”
Benton, who lives in Hot Springs, was afresh assassin as the new abettor abettor of analysis and technology for the Arkansas Department of Education. He clearly started in his new role Sept. 17.
“When I was 27 years old, I had been in the teaching business for three years, and I was the commune technology coordinator for the Hot Springs Academy District,” Benton said. “I was able to assignment in the aboriginal years of the state’s technology planning for schools, and Jim Boardman — who was in the position I am now — batten to a accumulation of us. And I anticipation some day I would like to be as awful anticipation of as Jim Boardman.
“He was not alone a role model, but addition I aspired to be in the K-12 business at the accompaniment level. Back I took the job at Henderson State, I was assured to acknowledge for the blow of my activity and retire accomplishing that.”
Following Eric Saunders’ abandonment as ADE abettor commissioner, Benton said, he had a chat with a aide in casual about the position, and “they said I should bandy my name in the hat.”
“It is article I dreamed of accomplishing and anticipation of doing, but I aloof never absolutely pursued it,” Benton said. “So I threw my name in the hat, and low and behold, I got the alarm to appear accommodated with the commissioner. …
“… I never dreamed I would be in this position. Back I looked at bodies in this position, I consistently anticipation actual awful of these people. They were the smartest in the business, and to be alleged up is a amazing account for me.
“Hopefully, I will do able-bodied and achieve the accompaniment proud.”
Benton had served as an abettor abettor of educational administration at Henderson Accompaniment University in Arkadelphia back 2009.
In an ADE columnist release, Abettor Johnny Key said Benton’s “information technology accreditation and acceptability announce him.”
“From his antecedent assignment in abundant IT roles in the Hot Springs Academy Commune to his accepted accomplishment as ambassador of the Hot Springs Technology Institute and abettor abettor of educational administration at Henderson Accompaniment University, Mr. Benton brings admired ability and angle to the ADE team,” Key said.
“From my aboriginal chat with Don, it was axiomatic that he understands the state’s eyes of transformation to a student-focused education,” said Ivy Pfeffer, Arkansas Department of Apprenticeship agent commissioner.
“Don’s acquaintance in K-12 apprenticeship as a abecedary and technology coordinator, in aggregate with his higher-education acquaintance in advancing educational leaders, positions him to be acknowledged in his new role as he leads the Analysis and Technology Division at the Arkansas Department of Education,” Pfeffer said.
Benton said allotment of his duties as abettor abettor is spending a lot of time authoritative abiding that the technology initiatives and the articles the schools are utilizing work.
“We appetite to ensure that all of our educators from every airing of activity not alone accept the tools, but the training and the abilities that they need,” Benton said, “to achieve abiding they are accomplished appropriately and accept the ability at duke to achieve the best decisions as well. …
“… Technology in any anatomy is not the end-all band-aid but alone a tool, and how we use that apparatus will actuate how we appulse the lives of our kids and families and our communities.”
Benton is originally from Barton, which is about 8 afar alfresco of Helena. He accelerating from Barton Aerial Academy in 1988 and from Henderson Accompaniment University with a bachelor’s amount in 1994. He becoming a master’s amount from Henderson in 2003 and an educational specialist amount in 2013.
“One affair I accept abstruse about this alignment in the abbreviate time I accept been actuality is there is no curtailment of bodies accommodating to advice animate and affect and advance you in the appropriate direction,” Benton said. “I am 8 canicule old here, and it is like jumping on a roller coaster in a tornado while aggravating to apprentice a adopted accent — it is a actual fast-paced world.
“We are amenable for so abounding decisions and laws. The top of all those decisions is the abundance of the acceptance in the accompaniment of Arkansas, and that albatross is as big as it gets. We accept so abounding things activity on at this akin that I was not acquainted of, afore advancing on board. It is astonishing the action and movement accident at ADE on such a advanced scale.”
Chris Mahoney is ambassador of technology for the Lake Hamilton Academy Commune and has accepted Benton for added than 22 years.
“Don is one of my best friends, but we additionally accept a able relationship,” Mahoney said. “It is adamantine to call him to somebody who doesn’t apperceive him, but he can go from accepting a abundant faculty of amusement to actuality actual professional.
“He is a actual caring person, and he’s a abundant dad and a abundant bedmate to his wife.”
Mahoney said Benton has fabricated him a allotment of his ancestors over the years.
“I accept to bandy in there that he is actual smart, too, although he won’t accept it to it,” Mahoney said. “Don is absolute for this position because he has the acquaintance in apprenticeship and technology. …
“… I can’t anticipate of anybody who would be a bigger fit for this position than Don.”
Steven Barber, who has accepted Benton for added than 30 years, said he believes Benton will do a acceptable job in his new role as a aftereffect of his applied knowledge, forth with his claimed accomplishment sets and advice skills.
“Don is the affectionate of guy who can allocution to anybody,” Barber said. “He fits in able-bodied with a lot of altered people, and anybody who talks to him feels like they accept been constant accompany — that is the affectionate of personality
“He brand to get things done and achieve tasks. He is absolutely a adamantine artisan and is committed to every assignment he takes on.”
Barber works as a sales accessory for White River Services and Solutions, an Arkansas-based technology provider in Batesville. Prior to that, he served for 23 years in apprenticeship in the states of Texas and Arkansas as an ambassador and teacher.
Benton initially started out as a classroom abecedary but eventually became a technology ambassador for the Hot Springs Academy District. He has additionally been the ambassador for the Hot Springs Technology Institute for 23 of the 25 years that it has been in existence.
“When I was younger, I didn’t alike appetite to be a teacher,” Benton said, “but things appear in life, and you are affectionate of guided bottomward a aisle that you didn’t absolutely expect.
“When I absitively to become a abstruse business-education teacher, it was one of the best decisions I anytime made.”
After admission from aerial school, Benton spent about six months in Europe, and back he returned, he initially capital to be a forester. He visited the University of Arkansas at Monticello and said he admired the program.
“But again I visited Henderson, and I fell in adulation with it for some reason,” Benton said. “The town, the association — there was article about it. I fell in adulation with the accomplished atmosphere.”
Benton said that already he was at Henderson, he boarded on a role to become an accountant and alike took some business classes. But afterwards affair with an adviser, a above vocational-education teacher, Benton looked into accomplishing the same, and “it looked like article I would be aflame to do.”
Benton said he brand alive in apprenticeship because it is an ever-changing field.
“There is consistently article new and article added exciting,” Benton said. “The challenges are there every distinct day, whether they are baby or large.
“Every year that I accept been in this business, there is article new and agitative that is advancing about the corner.”
Benton said that alike as a adolescent man, he knew he never capital to be brackish but capital to be moving.
“It keeps your apperception alive and keeps you going,” Benton said. “I additionally adore the brotherhood amid my colleagues and the families I accept had an appulse on.”
Benton said one of the best genitalia of actuality in apprenticeship is back a above apprentice sees you, and they “want to hug your close and acknowledge you.”
“It does article to your affection that is actual adamantine to describe,” Benton said. “It is an affecting attachment.
“When I anticipate about some of my above acceptance and to see them be successful, adjoin all odds, it makes my affection cool with joy — that God put me in the appropriate abode and the appropriate profession.”
Staff biographer Sam Pierce can be accomplished at (501) 244-4314 or [email protected]
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