LR Women Making History – Nancy Rousseau
Though not a graduate of Little Rock Central High School, Nancy Rousseau is a Central High Tiger through and through.
She has been principal of Little Rock Central High School since the summer of 2002. Born in New York, she graduated high school in Tenafly, New Jersey. After attending Ohio University, she graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in English education. Her first job was teaching in Port Washington, NY, where she won the “New Teacher of the Year” award. After teaching in Midwest City, Oklahoma, she arrived in Little Rock in 1976.
From 1976 until 1986, she taught English at Pulaski Academy. After receiving her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, she was hired by the Little Rock School District as an Assistant Principal at Central High School. From 1991 until 1998, she served in that capacity. During that time, she worked on the planning for the 40th anniversary of the integration of Central High by the Little Rock Nine.
In 1998, she became principal of Pulaski Heights Junior High School. She led the school’s transition from a junior high to a middle school. When the position of Central High School principal became open in 2002, she applied for the job.
Since returning to Central as its principal, Mrs. Rousseau has been a very visible champion of the school, its students, faculty and alumni. She served as co-chair for the Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commission. During her tenure, the school’s physical plant has been upgrade and much of the historic façade and interior has been restored. A Central High Alumni Association and a Tiger Foundation have been formed. Through their effort, the arts, academics and athletics have been enhanced.
Mrs. Rousseau also participated in the planning for the 60th anniversary of the school’s integration. She is one of a very few who worked on the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries.