Hartsfield reappointed to WCSD board seat

Watson Chapel School District board directors line up for a photo after Donnie Hartsfield (second right) receives a plaque for his service as board President for the past year. From left: Kevin Moore, Connie Compton, Mack Milner, Rosemary White, current President Goldie Whitaker, Superintendent Tom Wilson, Hartsfield and Alan Frazier. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

Donnie Hartsfield will serve another year on the Watson Chapel School District board after fellow directors unanimously appointed him to retain his own seat Monday evening.

Hartsfield, who served as the board president for the past year, would have run uncontested in Tuesday's election but did not submit enough signatures to become a candidate. Hartsfield told The Commercial in August he did not collect the minimum 20 signatures that had to be submitted to the Jefferson County clerk's office to be included on the ballot 90 days before election day, making the deadline Aug. 16. He said he turned in 10 after county officials gave him one sheet of 10 blanks to fill.

With no one else filing to run for Hartsfield's position in Zone 4, the WCSD board elected to appoint him for another year. Hartsfield, who has served on the board since 2003, can file to run for reelection next year.

Hartsfield was also presented a plaque from Superintendent Tom Wilson for leading the board.

The board elected Goldie Whitaker as board president. Under the district's administrative policy, board directors are qualified to be president in rotation after three years of service, and each year the qualified director who has served on the board the longest without being president is to be elected to that role.

Whitaker's five-year term representing Zone 5 will expire next year.

Kevin Moore, who was board president through the fall of 2021, was elected vice president, and Mack Milner was elected secretary.

Also, recently elected directors Rosemary White and Connie Compton received pins for undergoing 25 hours of board training.


Principals from each campus gave presentations on what improvements are being made to their safety measures.

The changes to safety systems and protocols were made after the Office of Coordinated Support and Services made recommendations to the district following a visit earlier this semester. District leaders reported a list of improvements at the high school campus to the state Board of Education last week as part of its first of 12 monthly updates as a result of accreditation probation. The penalty stemmed from violations of three state standards regarding maintenance of student records and adoption of graduation requirements.

"When all of this first happened, everybody thinks negative because the school district is placed on probation. I'm looking at it as a positive because it opened our eyes to a lot of things that we're going to have to do correct for the kids here and make sure everybody is on track to graduate."


The WCSD is selling office equipment at the junior high gym Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon.

Tables, filing cabinets and chairs are among the items up for sale. The gym will be demolished along with the rest of the junior high campus to make way for a new high school scheduled to open by the spring of 2026.

Cleaned-up bricks from the old campus will be available in the parking area near the tennis courts.


October's ending balance for the district was $11,766,288.26. The WCSD received $1,458,985.56 of revenue in October and spent $1,603,886.17 in non-activity funds.


Jeremiah Temple was hired as a part-time custodian.