Former education chief to lead AAIMS

Officials with the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science announced that educational leader Dr. Kenneth James has been selected as its new president.

Housed at UALR, the non-profit organization partners with UALR and public high schools across the state to improve Advanced Placement mathematics, science and English education in Arkansas and increase college retention and graduation rates in STEM disciplines.

Dr. JamesJames assumes his new role Oct. 1, a position currently held by Tommie Sue Anthony.

“There are few people who have a stronger track record of promoting academic achievement by Arkansas students than Ken James,” said Jim Argue, chair of the AAIMS board of directors.

“He has been a champion for raising standards and enriching curriculum. AAIMS is fortunate to have acquired his leadership,” Argue said.

James brings to the position over 36 years of experience in public education management, having served as the executive vice president for state and government relations of the Pearson School Achievement Services/America’s Choice group from 2009 until December 2012.

Prior to that, James was Arkansas Commissioner of Education from 2004–2009, where he was responsible for nearly 1,200 schools and a half million students. His aggressive reform strategy is credited with improving student achievement in Arkansas.

During his tenure, he also had a role in national educational leadership, serving as a board member and president of the Council of Chief State School Officers. James testified before Congress on the adoption of common academic standards to prepare students for college and careers, and he was instrumental in gaining state support for the Common Core State Standards effort.

James began his career in education in California, as a classroom teacher in 1972. He was also an award-winning district superintendent in five different districts through the years: Lexington, Ky., and Little Rock, Van Buren, and Batesville, Ark.

In 1989, Dr. James was selected as the Superintendent of the Year for Arkansas.

James earned his Ed.D. in 1992 from the United States International University in San Diego, Calif., a master’s of arts in 1976 from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., and a bachelor of science education in 1972 from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

He received his Administrative Services Credential at San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.

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