Leadership at Horatio Elementary

- Natalie Townsend


Horatio Elementary School in Arkansas puts students at the center of the learning and it shows in their continued improvement in their ESSA School Index scores and value-added growth scores over the last three years. At the core of their success is leadership within the school and the culture that it has created. We interviewed several of their leaders to learn more about them and the leadership at their school.

Student Leadership

Konnor Bailey – Grade 6

An imageKonnor Bailey (left), a 6th grader at Horatio Elementary, pictured with principal, Susan Nelson (right)

As a 6th grader, Konnor is a role model for the younger students at Horatio Elementary. He is part of the Student Voice team that teaches character building lessons to students and helps to plan student celebration activities. His goals are to put school work first, speak up to share his ideas, put more detail into his presentations, and continue his research on liquid nitrogen.

“Konnor is the type of student who leads by example. He is a good role model for the younger students.” -Mrs. Longacre

“Konnor does not take shortcuts in anything he does. He always strives to do what is right and is an example for all students.” -Mrs. DeVasier

Keep up the good work, Konnor! Your future is bright!

School Leadership

Susan Nelson – Principal

An imageSusan Nelson (right), principal of Horatio Elementary, pictured with Marsha Hash (left) from OIE.

Mrs. Nelson grew up in Foreman, Arkansas. She is married to Clint and has 2 daughters, 1 son, and 3 grandchildren. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education degrees from Southern Arkansas University. Her certifications include Early Childhood Education, Reading Specialist, Elementary Principal, Library Media Specialist and District Administrator. In her 26 years in education, she has taught 2nd grade reading and kindergarten. She also worked as a Literacy Specialist for the DeQueen-Mena Education Cooperative.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

“I enjoy yard work!”

What are you most proud of at your school?

“I am proud that our school is student-centered and that decisions are made based on what is best for the students. I want our school to be a place where all students want to be because it is fun, engaging and offers activities that interest them.”

Tell us about your leadership team.

“Although our school is small, our leadership team is very large because it includes the input of all staff and students. To encourage more parents to be involved we host quarterly parent meetings. We feel that this leadership approach has impacted the school culture in a positive manner in that decisions are made by the majority instead of a few.”

School Leadership

Curtis Black – Dean of Students

An image

Curtis Black, Dean of Students at Horatio Elementary

Mr. Black was born and raised in Horatio, Arkansas. He is married to Jennifer and they have 2 sons. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University and has 21 years of teaching experience. In addition to being the Dean of Students, Mr. Black serves as the English as a Second Language Coordinator, the Wellness Committee Chairman, and the Site Coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Center, all for the Horatio Public School District.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

“On January 24, (2019) I will finish training as a Reserve Deputy Officer in order to serve as an additional School Resource Officer.”

What are you most proud of at your school?

“Our protected Response to Intervention time is working very well. We did a practice trial prior to implementing it several years ago. Last year, we had a Student Leadership Team. This team was trained on going into every classroom to teach the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Students based on Covey’s work. Now we are implementing the Character Counts curriculum. We also are using advisory groups to get a diverse group of students and teachers to discuss and get to know each other on a personal level.”

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