C4 board hires director

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Connect 4 Board has hired

James Knight as the C4 director.

The board voted to hire Knight

at its Wednesday meeting at the

Tyson Foods plant in Green Forest

after interviewing the five strongest

applicants for the position in

December. Knight currently lives

in Harrison, where he has worked

as an instructor at North Arkansas


Berryville Superintendent Owen

Powell said Knight’s tentative start

date will be next Monday, Jan. 8.

“Berryville schools will make

a contract,” Powell said, “and, as

previously voted on and discussed,

we’ll take the three high school

principal salaries and average

those for the salary.”

Since the Carroll County Career

Center in Berryville, which will

house the Connect 4 program, is

not ready, Powell offered to house

Knight on the Berryville School

District’s campus for the time being.

Board president Rodney Ellis

said he believed it would be a good

idea to send Knight to the Career

Academy of Siloam Springs

(CASS) for some training after

he gets established in Berryville.

Mike Rogers, the instructor of

CASS, was hired by Tyson Foods

as a consultant to draft a business

plan for the Connect 4 program,

which has been modeled after

CASS’s approach to fitting several

skill trades under one umbrella.

“As far as training goes, I talked

to Mike, and we thought it would

be a good idea to have James spend

about two weeks over at CASS in

Siloam Springs by the end of January

or the first of February,” Ellis


He said he had already cleared

the training proposal with principal

Jason Jones of Siloam Springs

High School.

“That will get him back immersed

in the NCCER [National

Center for Construction Education

and Research] side of it,” Ellis

said. “There’s a guy over there

teaching who’s really good on the

electrical side, and James can help

them on the machining and welding

side. It will be good for both


He said he had also talked to

representatives from Kennametal,

Inc. in Rogers, one of the tooling

providers for Connect 4, about a

free training program the company

will hold in Little Rock around


He said it would also be good to

have Knight visit Berryville, Eureka

Springs and Green Forest high

schools to present the program to

eligible students.

Green Forest Superintendent

Matt Summers recommended the

presentations be held soon since

the C4 program will take place in

the afternoon. As a result, he said,

interested students will need to

make sure they can still fit their

core classes into their schedules.

“I think the sooner the better,”

Summers said. “Green Forest’s

athletic period is the first of the

day. Students will have to take one

of their core classes online, so they

need to know how they’re going to

do that.”

Also at the meeting, Powell

asked Summers and Eureka

Springs Superintendent Bryan

Pruitt how their districts wanted to

handle reimbursements to the Berryville

School District since the director

and secretary positions will

be included on Berryville’s salary


Summers said the Green Forest

School District has two memorandums

of understanding (MOU)

with the city of Green Forest for its

two school resource officers.

“We pay monthly, and we also

cover expenses like cell phones

and different stuff,” he said.

Powell said they would set it up

as a monthly payment.

Board member Bud Phillips

asked if the salary reimbursement

would be a fixed rate per month

and a separate method of reimbursement

would be established

for travel expenses and other items.

“Salary, benefits, retirement

and all that will be in one,” Powell

said, “and anything where he’s

doing professional development,

travel and meal reimbursements

will be in another. We’ll do two

separate things.”

The board’s next regular meeting

is scheduled for noon Wednesday,

Feb. 7, in Berryville.

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