Former Pea Ridge Superintendent Joins Governor’s Staff To Coordinate Arkansas Ready for Life

March 8, 2021

 LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has added former Pea Ridge School District Superintendent Rick Neal to serve on his staff as director of Workforce, Education, and Data Transformation. Mr. Neal will coordinate the Arkansas Ready for Life initiative, a program to connect employees and employers.

“Ready for Life combines a trove of information that will allow employers and job seekers to more easily find each other,” Governor Hutchinson said. “During Rick’s time as a principal and superintendent at Pea Ridge, the school district thrived. He is an energetic administrator with the creativity to help mold Ready for Life into an effective program that will strengthen our workforce, which makes Arkansas a better place for everyone.”

Ready for Life will improve access to information that is available about the state’s talent pool, and it will link employers with job hunters. Governor Hutchinson allocated $14.7 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds in support of Ready for Life. The initiative is a partnership with the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce; the Arkansas Economic Development Commission; the Division of Workforce Services; K-12; the Departments of Human Services, Corrections, and Agriculture; and Institutions of Higher Education.

Mr. Neal’s responsibilities will include coordination and data analysis of educational institutions, state agencies, and business and industry; development of the Ready for Life learning management system; and building partnerships among state agencies, business and industry, and educators.

Mr. Neal has worked in public education for the past 36 years. He was principal of Pea Ridge High School for seven years, and in July 2012, he became superintendent of the Pea Ridge district.

He was also middle school principal at Berryville Middle School in the Berryville School District.Mr. Neal earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, a master’s degree in education administration, and an education specialist degree, all from the University of Arkansas. His career in education began at Siloam Springs Junior High School, where he was a social studies teacher and basketball coach.

He and his wife, Sheila, have been married for 36 years. They have two sons, Heath, 35, and Cody, 31, and two grandchildren.Rick Neal’s photograph is HERE

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