Mayor Frank Scott retools staff again with appointment of new spokesperson, chief education officer

Mayor Frank Scott retools staff again with appointment of new spokesperson, chief education officer

BCN Staff – March 10, 2022 – Mayor Frank Scott Jr. continues to revamp his mayoral staff ahead of his November reelection bid with the hiring of a new spokesperson and reassignment of his chief equity officer.

On Wednesday, Scott named local PR, communications, and news veteran Aaron Sadler as his director of communications and spokesperson, effective March 28. Sadler, the former communications aide who has worked for five attorneys general, including former Arkansas Democratic AG Dustin McDaniel, replaces Stephanie Jackson, Scott’s former part-time spokeswoman who resigned from her position on Jan. 3.

“We’re certainly pleased to have someone of Aaron’s breadth of experience joining our team, helping us keep the people of our city informed on all the work we are doing to unite, grow and transform Little Rock,” said Scott.

“I am eager to return to Little Rock to help Mayor Scott and his team make a positive difference and improve our community. I want to amplify the stories of the public servants working collaboratively to grow Little Rock forward,” said Sadler, also former communication director for the Arkansas Press Association and former capital bureau reporter with Stephen Media’s Arkansas News Bureau.

In another move, Scott also tapped Dionne Jackson, the city’s first chief equity officer, as interim chief education officer. Jackson will take over for Jay Barth, a former board member with the Arkansas Board of Education and political scientist and professor at Hendrix College.

On Wednesday, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced Barth would be appointed as the director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, effective March 13. Barth is replacing longtime Clinton Library Director Skip Rutherford in managing one of 15 Presidential Libraries in the nation’s Presidential Library system administered by the National Archives.

In his role as director, Barth will coordinate all the efforts of the Clinton Library with NARA so that the library and the agency meet their mission and strategic goals in an efficient and effective manner.

“I am pleased that Dr. Jay Barth will serve as the director of the Clinton Presidential Library. He brings with him a commitment to promoting civic engagement, one of the guiding principles of the Clinton Foundation,” former President Bill Clinton said in statement. “I’m proud of what my Presidential Library has achieved during the first 18 years, and I know it is in good hands with Jay at the helm.”

Jackson, who joined Scott’s staff in April 2021 as a 25-year veteran of education, is a former LRSD educator and executive director of AR Kids Read and the former chief diversity officer of Hendrix College.

“We appreciate the remarkable foundation Dr. Barth has laid in his work as Chief Education Officer, particularly in developing and implementing our community schools model with the Little Rock School District (LRSD),” added Scott. “That work, along with the numerous projects managed by our Chief Education Officer, such as our summer literacy program, digital equity, and various grants, will be in capable hands under Dr. Jackson’s leadership while we search for a permanent successor. Education is a key pillar of this administration, and we are committed to carrying out the work Dr. Barth started.” 

Scott, who announced his reelection bid on Feb. 1 for a second term as the city’s first Black mayor, has retooled most of his top staff with only eight months before the fall election. In late January, Scott named his longtime senior advisor Kendra Pruitt will now serve as chief of staff, replacing former legislator and Arkansas House Minority leader Charles Blake. Blake resigned to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.  However, Scott said the former legislator and Stephanie Jackson will assist his re-election bid just as they did during his historic campaign and runoff in 2018 to defeat local attorney Baker Kurris.

To date, Steve Landers, Loretta Hendrix, Pamela Whitaker and Greg Henderson have also announced their intentions to run jump in the mayor’s race in the fall. Landers is the local businessman and auto dealer known for his humorous commercials. Hendrix is the daughter of the late Little Rock Ward 1 City Director Erma Hendrix, who died in September.

Hendrix had informally campaigned to replace her mother as the Ward 1 director but was not among the list of finalists named by City Board of Directors. Little Rock banker Virgil Miller was eventually named to that post by the City Board in October 2021 and is seeking to be re-election in the fall.

Whitaker is also local nonprofit executive and state government worker who lost a race in March 2020 for the Pulaski County Quorum Court to replace Donna Massey as Justice of the Peace. Henderson is founder of Rock City Eats and the marketing firm Rock City Interactive. Whitaker He previously ran for city director in for the city-wide At Large Position 10, losing to longtime City Director Joan Adcock.

The filing deadline for this election is Aug. 10, 2022. The general election for mayor will be held on Nov. 8, and a runoff election is scheduled for Dec. 6, if necessary.


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