Dr. T. Mark Gotcher,
Atkins school superintendent, has been named deputy commissioner of the Education Department effective July 1. Education Commissioner Johnny Key
announced his choice today.
Gotcher succeeds Dr. Mike Hernandez, who's leaving to head the Hot Springs School District. The job had to be filled expeditiously because Key doesn't hold the required credentials (a teacher's certificate, a master's degree and 10 years of experience in education) to be commissioner The legislature changed the law this year to allow the commissioner to be unqualified as long as the deputy was qualified.
Gotcher has been a superintendent since 2013 and was an assistant principal and principal in Russellville for 12 years before that. He began his career as a music teacher in 1988 and taught until he became a principal in 2001. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Arkansas Tech and a doctorate in educational leadership from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.