EDUCATION NOTEBOOK: Ed agency annual summit this week | Parray, McCarty essays win honors

Ed agency annual summit this week

The Arkansas Department of Education is hosting its annual summer summit Tuesday through Thursday at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

The summit combines many smaller conferences from the past into one multitopic event, which gives participants access to sessions they would not otherwise have an opportunity to attend.

Online registration for the event has closed, but on-site registration will be accepted.

The event will consist of in-person and online sessions — some of which will feature national education experts, as well as presentations by state agency and school district personnel.

The event schedule is available at

Parray, McCarty essays win honors

Mariam Parray, a sophomore at Pulaski Academy, is the winner of the American Foreign Service Association’s 23rd annual national high school essay contest.

Harrison McCarty, also a sophomore at Pulaski Academy, is this year’s runner-up in the competition among 357 students from 42 states.

Parray’s essay, “Diplomats and Peacebuilders in Tunisia: Paving the Path to Democracy,” focused on how the Foreign Service partnered with other U.S. government agencies and non-government organizations to facilitate a peaceful democratic transition in Tunisia.

Parray will travel to Washington to meet with a member of the Department of State’s leadership and will receive full tuition for an educational voyage with Semester at Sea.

McCarty is to attend the international diplomacy program of the National Student Leadership Conference this summer.

Academics system names principals

Two campuses in the Academics Plus Charter Schools Inc. system have new principals, system executive director Rob McGill has announced.

Katie Johnson is the new Maumelle Charter High School principal after serving as interim principal and assistant principal

Johnson is a former secondary school English teacher and served as the high school’s counselor. Before joining the charter system, she held positions at the University of Central Arkansas in the offices of vice president for student services/dean of students and the office of financial aid.

She is a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Conway and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCA.

Elizabeth Peper has been named principal at Scott Charter School. Peper has been a part of the Scott Charter Elementary School since the school opened in 2016. She has served as the assistant principal, as an instructional facilitator, as a school counselor and as a teacher. Before joining the school, she taught in the El Dorado School District.

She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Henderson State University.