Colorado Springs School District 11 Deputy Superintendent Mike Poore has accepted the job of superintendent for Bentonville Public Schools in the northwest corner of Arkansas.
He'll likely start transitioning into the position in spring, though his official contract begins in July.
Poore has served 23 years with D-11, and has been one of the district's most distinguished advocates and leaders. It was Poore who led D-11 through the painful and unpopular process of school closures in 2009. He did so by creating a public process for citizens to voice their concerns, while at the same time presenting the closures as a financial necessity.
That same year, Poore lost his bid to be D-11's superintendent, when the board opted instead for outsider Nick Gledich.
Poore says he's excited to have the opportunity to lead Bentonville, which is markedly different than D-11. While D-11 struggles with declining enrollment and has had to close schools, Bentonville has rapidly expanding enrollment and needs to build a new high school. While D-11 has struggled with low student achievement in some of its schools, Bentonville has high achieving students. Bentonville is in good budgetary shape, while D-11 has faced budget cuts and is expecting more in the future.
Despite the differences, Poore believes he has what it takes to lead Bentonville, a district with about 13,500 students and 900 staff members serving 15 schools. Bentonville High School, with nearly 3,500 students, has a 91 percent graduation rate and an average ACT score of 23.
“I think that some of the same strategies and skill sets actually cross over," he says. "One, is that you have to have data to create the case for whatever direction you're going to go, and second, the ability communicate.”
Poore worked his way up from a history teacher and basketball coach to his current position, spending almost his entire career at D-11. He left in 2003, when he accepted a position as superintendent of Sheridan school district in Denver. Poore spent four years there, and got that district off the state's academic "watch list," before returning to D-11 in 2007 as deputy superintendent.
But after losing out on the superintendent job, Poore says he began to miss leading a district and getting to put a "personal stamp" on the way things are done. So he's thrilled to be taking the reins in Arkansas.
“As much as it is exciting, there's also a little bit of fear about a new thing," he says. "But I got to tell you, I've just been treated so well every time I’ve been down there.”