A product of public schools, Lindsey Gustafson is ready to do what she can for the Pulaski County Special School District.
Gustafson, who lives in Maumelle and has six children, was recently appointed to the newly created advisory board for the county district that has been under state control since 2011 after the district was declared to be in fiscal distress and, as a result, the district doesn’t have a locally elected school board.
Gustafson represents Zone 5, or the Maumelle area, and is joined by five other people: Daniel Gray, Zone 1; Tjuana Byrd, Zone 2; Margie Snider, Zone 4; Dr. Julian McMurray, Zone 6; and Susie Marks, Zone 7.
Zone 3 has not yet been appointed.
Gustafson doesn’t know much about her fellow appointees, outside of Gray. She’s familiar with his efforts in Jacksonville to create a district for north Pulaski County.
In an interview, Gustafson said Jacksonville and its efforts were at the top of her list of issues that the advisory board will look at it.
“What they are trying to do, they’ve been trying to do for a long time,” Gustafson said of Jacksonville. “And what the result will be have an impact on what happens in places like Maumelle and Sherwood.”
Jacksonville becoming its own district will also play into what Gustafson thought was the No. 2 issue in the county, “the deseg case. That is connected to Jacksonville and is intertwined in everything the district can and can’t do. Getting a resolution is extremely important.”
A full-time professor at the Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Gustafson brings some legal chops to the advisory board. She’s not the only attorney, Boyd, who lives in Sherwood, is also a lawyer.
Gustafson graduated from Oak Grove High School in 1988 and went to Brigham Young University for her undergraduate and law school degrees.
“I’m a believer in public schools,” Gustafson said. “I know what kind of education you can get from one because it was the kind of education that I received and I went to a nationally competitive university and I was just as well prepared as the student who were from the West of East coasts.”
Gustafson was one of seven Pierson siblings who attended Oak Grove and she said her youngest brother recently graduated from medical school.
Going forward Gustafson said the advisory board would begin to receive training from the state Department of Education this October.
“This is all new to me,” Gustafson said. “I’m sure I’ll have my eyes opened and that it will be a learning experience.”