Donnie Whitten


Arkadelphia School District

Age: 39

Donnie Whitten

Competitive swimming helped attract Donnie Whitten from Mesquite, Texas, to Arkadelphia’s Henderson State University. But that’s not what kept him in Arkansas.
“The value that I put on education was high when I was in school,” Whitten said. “It is a gateway to change people’s lives. Education is the ultimate service business that gives to future generations.”
After graduating in 1995 with his bachelor’s degree in education, Whitten taught five years in Camden and Arkadelphia. In 2000, he completed his master’s degree in leadership at HSU and became principal of Peake Elementary School in Arkadelphia.
In 2005, Whitten completed an education specialist degree at Henderson. Three years later, he was named superintendent of the Arkadelphia School District.
Whitten facilitated partnerships that led to the development of innovative and progressive educational programs with the Arkadelphia Promise Scholarship, Boys & Girls Club of Clark County, Southwest Arkansas College Preparatory Academy, Arkadelphia Public Schools Early Childhood Center and the first aviation program for high school students in Arkansas.
Whitten is serving a two-year term as president of the Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce and in 2009 was appointed chairman of the Arkansas Project Graduation Commission by Gov. Mike Beebe.
He received the Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 and was inducted into the HSU Academy of Scholars in 2009.

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