Governor's Letter: Teachers Are Our State Superheroes

By Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday, October 21, 2022

I have known a lot of superheroes in my life, and the superpower that each of them had was the ability to see everything that was going on behind them. They were the school teachers who gave me a great start in life. And my classmates and I were positive that every one of them had eyes in the back of their heads. Even as they wrote on the chalkboard, with their back to the class, they knew who passed a note or chunked a rubber eraser across the room.

One of my superheroes was Jane Ivy, who taught algebra at Springdale High School. One of Mrs. Ivy’s superpowers was the ability to motivate students, such as me, who weren’t really interested in algebra. When I tried to give up, Mrs. Ivy refused to give up on me. I’m still not a fan of algebra, but I understand now that more than learning algebra, the effort I put into learning it sharpened and disciplined my young mind.

Gerri McCann is a superhero teacher from Manila Public School District, where she taught French for many years. When we were recruiting teachers as I introduced my Computer Science Education Initiative, Ms. McCann thought learning to code was much like learning a new language. She dived right in, trained and then taught computer science alongside French, English, and literacy-ready classes.

Tate Rector was a football coach at Beebe Junior High who moved from the gridiron to the classroom to teach computer science. Mr. Rector and Ms. McCann took the opportunity to add to their own education so that they could better prepare Arkansas students. 

These are just three of our great teachers, who, like the superheroes they are, always put the good of others ahead of themselves. In Arkansas, we need many more superheroes to teach our students, especially in the rural areas. Over the years, we have increased teacher pay and offered incentives for teachers to add to their certifications. My hope is that we can continue to entice students to choose teaching as a career.

Great teachers such as Mrs. Ivy shaped the way I see the world, and even the way I see myself. I know there’s a legion of young people ready to tie on the superhero cape of a schoolteacher. In addition to teaching young people to read, write and cipher, another benefit to this calling is that you will quickly develop eyes in the back of your head.

Asa Hutchinson
Governor of Arkansas