Riverside District leadership preparing to change hands

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Riverside Principal Jeff Priest (left) is preparing to step into the Superintendent's position as Superintendent Tommy Knight finishes the school year with plans to retire.

Riverside Superintendent Tommy Knight announced plans to retire early in the school year in order to give the board time to fill the position. The Board voted on Feb. 11 to promote high school principal Jeff Priest to the position. The two are currently working together to ensure a smooth transition.

Knight gave thanks to patrons of the Riverside School District for support of the school.

"I think we've moved the district forward in a lot of ways," Knight said.

When reflecting on those accomplishments Knight considered the construction of the new East Elementary and High School to be the most visible contribution during his nine years as superintendent.

"I have total confidence that Mr. Priest will do great things," Knight said. "I'd also like to thank the board. They have been great to work with."

When asked about goals as new superintendent, Priest shared intentions to continue where Knight leaves off in serving the district.

Priest has built a career in Northeast Arkansas beginning in Piggott for five years. Later, Priest worked in Manila for six years, one of which he held the position as assistant principal. Priest joined the ranks of the Riverside School District May 16, 2013, as high school principal. For the past three years, Priest has left his mark and legacy with the implementation of the READ incentive going into effect for the 2017-2018 school year. READ gives Riverside High School students the opportunity to graduate high school with a traditional diploma as well as an associate degree.

Priest expressed his thanks to the school board "for trusting me with leading the district. I look forward to hitting the ground running and hopefully continuing to move the district forward."

Since hiring Priest, Knight has included him as much as possible in meetings and tasks as superintendent in order to gain contacts and experience before taking on the role as superintendent full time July 1.

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