Smackover-Norphlet superintendent placed on administrative leave during special-called meeting

The Smackover-Norphlet School Board voted last Wednesday, Feb. 7 during a special-called meeting to place district superintendent Robby Frizzell on paid administrative leave.

The decision was made following a period of executive session — which is not open to the public — during the meeting.

The board previously conducted its annual superintendent evaluation at the end of their regular monthly meeting on Jan. 22, and took no action following that discussion according to audio of that meeting obtained by the News-Times. The evaluation itself was also conducted during executive session, which is standard protocol during discussion of district personnel.

SNSD school board president Cliff Preston declined to comment to the News-Times early last week about the board’s assessment of Frizzell or whether the superintendent’s contract with the district would be renewed.

The board, in audio obtained by South Arkansas Reckoning of the Feb. 7 meeting, voted to place Frizzell on administrative leave near the end of a meeting focused on inclement weather make-up days.

“Based off of what we have going on right now in the district, it was on advice that we make a motion tonight to put Mr. Frizzell on paid administrative leave immediately and instate Ms. Strickland as acting superintendent until further notice,” Preston said in audio of the Feb. 7 meeting. No further discussion occurred on the issue during the meeting and the board voted to affirm the motion, after which the meeting adjourned.

Holly Strickland, now acting superintendent, is the district executive director of academics and school improvement.

Frizzell was hired as superintendent by the SNSD in March 2022 following the departure of previous superintendent Jason Black.

Before his tenure at the SNSD, Frizzell last served for nine years as principal of Taylor Elementary School in Taylor, AR., according to a statement issued by the SNSD following his hiring.

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