Barbara Prichard, the Fayetteville School District’s award-winning and nationally-recognized Gifted and Talented and Advanced Placement Curriculum Director has announced her planned retirement.
Prichard joined Fayetteville Public Schools in 1983 as the Director of Gifted Education. For the past 33 years, she has developed a Gifted and Talented Education program that has been named the state’s Outstanding GT Program a record six times. Most recently she received the 2017 AGATE Award of Excellence for promoting excellence in education, particularly as it relates to gifted and talented children and youth in Arkansas.
“I have mixed feelings and emotions. An announcement with the words, ‘Barbara Prichard and retirement,’ in the same sentence is not an announcement I desire,” said Dr. Matthew Wendt, Superintendent of Schools. “Barbara is a class-act. Her expertise, determination, dedication, and vision are exceptional. I learn something every time I listen to her, and her level of professionalism and wisdom cannot be simply replaced.”
Wendt continued, “It is for these and other reasons, I asked Barbara to stay with us in a part-time role throughout next school year to facilitate the transition. I am excited that she will be actively engaged in the hiring of a new director, and will remain with FPS as that person takes over the program.”
In addition to the GT Program, Prichard has developed the district’s Advanced Placement program from an offering of three courses in 1983 to currently over 25 courses. Annually, Fayetteville High School has the most Advanced Placement Scholars in the state.
“My decision to retire from a life of professional commitment, passion, and dedication to Fayetteville Public Schools is not an easy one, but one I feel positive about with our new leadership,” said Prichard. “The opportunity to facilitate the transition to new GT leadership is one that I appreciate and am honored to guide. As I shared at the state GT awards ceremony, my education mantra, to include gifted education, is a 4th century BC Chinese treatise, ‘The success of education depends on adapting teaching to individual differences among learners.’ Anything I have accomplished is not mine to own alone,” she continued. “It is because of my husband and four sons, supportive board members, excellent community, FPS administrators, support staff, students and most especially all GT program teachers, past and present.”
The district will initiate a national search for a Director of Gifted and Talented Education.
Prichard will retire as the director June 30, 2017. Her role in FPS beginning July 1 will be part-time and focused on creating an effective transition for her replacement.
“It has been an honor to work closely with Ms. Prichard this year, said Dr. Steven Weber, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. “As the new member of the FPS administrative team this year, Ms. Prichard’s history with and knowledge of the Fayetteville Public Schools has been invaluable to me. I am looking forward to working with her during next school year to transition the program to new leadership.”
Fayetteville Public Schools will honor Ms. Prichard’s retirement and celebrate her recent AGATE Award at a reception prior to the May 25 meeting of the Fayetteville Board of Education.
“I want the reception in May to be about Barbara, her leadership, and a decorated career advocating for gifted and talented children. I have such respect and admiration for her, and FPS is a better place because of Barbara,” added Dr. Wendt.