Former Pea Ridge superintendent has a new job. “Excited to be working with the governor,” said Rick Neal

Local News

Joins governor's staff to coordinate 'Arkansas Ready for Life'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson’s “Arkansas Ready for Life” initiative, a program to connect employees and employers, announced that former Pea Ridge School District Superintendent Rick Neal will serve as director of Workforce, Education, and Data Transformation. 

“Ready for Life combines a trove of information that will allow employers and job seekers to more easily find each other,” Governor Hutchinson said. “During Rick’s time as a principal and superintendent at Pea Ridge, the school district thrived. He is an energetic administrator with the creativity to help mold Ready for Life into an effective program that will strengthen our workforce, which makes Arkansas a better place for everyone.”

Neal tells KNWA/FOX24 that his work in education at Pea Ridge helped the transition to a second career, of sorts.

“Recently, I was employed by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in Little Rock,” said Neal, “my previous work in the Pea Ridge School District allowed me to step into this role.”

The opportunity to be involved with Arkansas Ready for Life began late last year and was released in February, said Neal.

“I’m honored to do this work and excited to be working with the governor and the state of Arkansas,” he said.

Neal’s responsibilities with Arkansas Ready for Life will include:

  • Coordination and data analysis of educational institutions, state agencies, and business and industry.
  • Development of the Ready for Life learning management system.
  • Building partnerships among state agencies, business and industry, and educators.


Mr. Neal has worked in public education for the past 36 years. He was principal of Pea Ridge High School for seven years, and in July 2012, he became superintendent of the Pea Ridge district. He was also the middle school principal at Berryville Middle School in the Berryville School District.

Mr. Neal earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education, a master’s degree in education administration, and an education specialist degree, all from the University of Arkansas. His career in education began at Siloam Springs Junior High School, where he was a social studies teacher and basketball coach.

He and his wife, Sheila, have been married for 36 years. They have two sons, Heath, 35, and Cody, 31, and two grandchildren.

Press release from Gov. Asa Hutchinson

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