As deputy commissioner, Dr. Pfeffer works with Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) team members, legislators, community members, school district personnel and educators on finance, legislation and other education issues. Pfeffer joined DESE (formerly the Arkansas Department of Education) in 2013 as the director of educator evaluation, where she coordinated the administration of the new teacher and principal evaluation systems. She was hired as assistant commissioner for Educator Effectiveness and Licensure July 1, 2014. Prior to coming to DESE, Pfeffer worked at the Pocahontas School District for 18 years. She taught Spanish and English at Pocahontas Junior High School before being named the secondary assistant principal at the high school. She served as principal and as an adjunct Spanish instructor for Black River Technical College. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education in Spanish and English from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, a Master of Science in Education in Integrated Technology in the Curriculum from Walden University in Minneapolis, MN., completed the ASU program of study for administrative certification and earned an Educator Specialist in Educational Leadership. She received a Doctorate of Education in School Leadership from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville. Pfeffer is from Pocahontas.
Gina Windle brings more than 20 years of education experience to the Arkansas Department of Education. She began her career as a language arts teacher at Prescott High School in 1995. She later taught in the East End School District and Perryville School District. She served as a high school counselor in the East End School District, beginning in 2006. The Delight, Arkansas native has a Bachelor of Science in Education, English and Communication from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia and a Master of Education in School Counseling and Leadership from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville.
As a DESE assistant commissioner, Rogers oversees the distribution of funds to public schools, finance and student management software, and fiscal distress services. Rogers began working at DESE (formerly known as ADE) in 2012. He also serves as chief financial officer for the reorganized ADE where he oversees the agency’s financial operations, including biennial and fiscal year budget requests, and represents the agency at legislative committee meetings. With more than 18 years of state government experience, Rogers previously worked for the Department of Finance and Administration and Department of Human Services. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia and a Master of Business Administration in International Business from Salem International University in Salem, W.V.
Dr. Suzanne Bailey was named assistant commissioner for Educator Effectiveness and Licensure effective Dec. 3, 2018. Her experience includes serving as a mentor to new superintendents, providing strategic planning training for school board members and district leaders, and attending the Leadership Academy’s Master Principal Institute. Bailey has a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Harding University at Searcy and completed the superintendent program of study at Harding. She has a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Harding, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway, and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Arkansas State University at Beebe. She serves on the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science board and previously served as a board member for the Arkansas Activities Association, Arkansas Professional Licensure Standards Board, Arkansas Rural Education Association, Arkansas Association of School Administrators, Arkansas School Boards Association Workers Compensation, and Arkansas Association of Curriculum and Instruction Administrators.
Coffman assumed her role as assistant commissioner for Public School Accountability on July 1, 2017. As assistant commissioner, Coffman oversees the DESE (formerly ADE) division that includes Federal Programs, School Performance, and Systems Support. Coffman previously served as chief of staff, where she coordinated the agency’s strategic performance management process, served as the agency liaison to the State Board of Education and provided guidance to the Communications Unit. Before she accepted that position, Coffman worked as DESE’s director of Professional Development, collaborating with many stakeholders to provide quality professional learning opportunities to Arkansas educators. Coffman has also served as a literacy program manager for DESE, an instructional facilitator for Pocahontas Public Schools, a literacy specialist at the Northeast Education Service Cooperative and an elementary teacher at Hoxie Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Science in Education from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. In addition, she served as an adjunct professor, GED instructor, and private school educator. Coffman is a native of Black Rock, Arkansas.
Lori Freno became the DESE’s general counsel July 1, 2016. As general counsel, Freno oversees the Office of Legal Services, which ensures agency compliance with federal and state laws; advises the commissioner and State Board of Education regarding policies and legislation; oversees the agency’s rule-making process; and manages litigation. Prior to becoming general counsel, Freno served as the department’s deputy general counsel for three years and worked for the Attorney General’s Office for 15 years as both an assistant and senior assistant attorney general. Her other work experience included serving as a general attorney for the Panama Canal Commission in the Republic of Panama for two years and in private practice for four years in Cincinnati, Ohio. Freno graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Akron, Ohio, and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Erin Franks joined the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in April 2019 as the coordinator of governmental affairs and serves as the liaison for the division between legislators, legislative staff, and the governors’ office. While new to DESE, Franks is not new to state government. She previously worked as the policy advisor for the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG) where she spent the 2017 and 2019 legislative sessions. Prior to working for OMIG, Franks worked for Medicaid in the Schools as the health in education policy analyst. She has a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Mundell joined the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (formerly known as ADE) as the director of communications in August 2013. In her position, she coordinates agency internal and external communication efforts. She previously served as the communications director for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, a position she held for 12 years. She also worked as a reporter for The Pine Bluff Commercial and as a page designer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Mundell received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She grew up in DeWitt, located in southeast Arkansas.
Owen serves as the leader of the computer science initiative in Arkansas. He coordinates with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Computer Science Task Force to identify the state’s computer science and technology needs. Owen began working at DESE in 2011 as the K-12 math and computer science curriculum specialist. He has worked as a math and science teacher at Sheridan High School and has taught math at Gurdon High School, Goza Middle School at Arkadelphia and England High School. Owen received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Education and Computer Science and a Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia. He has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law.
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