FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Fayetteville Public Schools (FPS) superintendent announced his plan to retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
Superintendent John L Colbert made the announcement during his report to the Fayetteville Board of Education during its regular meeting on Jan. 27.
“While Dr. Colbert’s announcement was not a surprise to us, his retirement in June of 2023 will most certainly mark the end of an era,” said Nika Waitsman, President of the Fayetteville Board of Education. “Dr. Colbert’s strong, positive, and unwavering leadership has guided our staff, students, and parents throughout his term as superintendent. He has been an unwavering voice of reason and compassion throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, always choosing to do what is best for the health and safety of our students and staff. I am personally grateful to have worked alongside him during my tenure as president of the board.”
Colbert led the district through the Focus on the Future 2020 bond restructuring in February of 2020, enabling the district to undertake $114 million in renovation and construction projects improving every school and campus. The new construction also includes the new middle school on Rupple Road that will open in 2023.
“I was truly given an opportunity to realize a dream,” Colbert said. “Leading the district where I spent my career and raised my family is truly a blessing. Together, we have accomplished great things. I want to thank the school board for trusting me with this opportunity to lead. We have made a difference in the lives of children, families, and our community.”
In his 43 year career with FPS, Colbert served as the district’s first African-American special education teacher, the first African-American principal, and the first African-American superintendent. Colbert is also the 12th superintendent and the first FPS staff member to rise through the ranks from teacher to principal to assistant superintendent to the superintendent.
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