Siloam Springs’ Jody Wiggins unanimous choice as next director of NWA Education Service Cooperative, board president says

Board president: Experience in career, technical education key

Jody Wiggins
Jody Wiggins

FARMINGTON -- Siloam Springs schools Superintendent Jody Wiggins will succeed Bryan Law as director of the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative, cooperative board President Jeremy Mangrum said.

At the cooperative's monthly board meeting Thursday, Wiggins received unanimous approval to take the director's post, Mangrum said, pending final contract negotiations. Wiggins will replace Law, who is retiring June 30 after four years in the position.

The cooperative provides professional development opportunities for its 17 member districts with the goal of expanding knowledge, skills and techniques to help improve student achievement, according to its website. It's one of 16 education service cooperatives in Arkansas.

The Northwest Arkansas cooperative's board members are the superintendents of each school district in Benton and Washington counties, as well as Huntsville.

Wiggins is to resign from Siloam Springs on June 30 and start at the cooperative July 1.

Wiggins, 54, has worked in the Siloam Springs School District for 22 years; he's been superintendent since July 2019. He previously was an assistant superintendent, vice principal, assistant principal and athletic director for the district, which now has an enrollment of about 4,500.

"We're confident that Mr. Wiggins can really boost the co-op to new heights," said Mangrum, the Elkins School District superintendent. "He's had a successful tenure as superintendent of Siloam Springs schools for the last five years."

The cooperative has set its sights on expanding career and technical education opportunities for students in Northwest Arkansas, and Wiggins has key experience in that area, Mangrum said.

"He was instrumental in the Siloam Springs district in the formation and development of their career and technical education center that is well known throughout the state," Mangrum said. "We think his experience with that will really benefit all the member schools of the cooperative."

The cooperative undertook a thorough and exhaustive search for the next director, accepting applications for a few months, he said. There were eight official applicants for the job, but there were a lot of other inquiries from around the state, Mangrum added.

The cooperative narrowed the field and interviewed two finalists, Mangrum said.

The Siloam Springs School Board held a special meeting Thursday night during which the board accepted Wiggins' resignation.

Wiggins read his resignation letter to the board and audience members.

"It is with a mix of emotions that I start on a new chapter of my professional career," Wiggins said. "Siloam Springs School District holds a special place in my heart."

A successor was not named at the meeting. Board members Travis Jackson, Brian Lamb and Chris Whorton wished Wiggins well in his new position.

The School Board voted at the Jan. 12, 2023, meeting to extend Wiggins' contract by three years. During the school board meeting on Jan. 11 the board voted to keep Wiggins' contract as is.

Wiggins' most recent salary is $192,235 plus a $3,600 car stipend for a total of $196,235 payable in 12 monthly installments, according to a copy of the superintendent's contract.

This salary became effective on July 3, 2023, the contract states.

Marc Hayot contributed to this story.

  photo  Jody Wiggins, superintendent of schools in Siloam Springs, gives an assurance that Siloam Springs schools' have effective ventilation systems to keep students safe, Friday, July 30, 2021 at the American Legion Community Hall in Siloam Springs. Gov. Hutchinson visited Siloam Springs for the final stop in his series of community conversation about the covid vaccine. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)