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Press Release: Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy Campus Names Debbie Petross as Founding Principal

Jacksonville, AR, March 15, 2011 – Mrs. Debbie Petross has been named the Founding Principal of the Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy Campus on the Little Rock Air Force Base. She is the daughter of retired Tsgt. Charles Nettles and Susan Nettles. Mrs. Petross was a resident of Little Rock Air Force Base from 1991-1994. During this time, Mrs. Petross’ father served as the Director of Operation and Education for the 22nd Air Force Leadership School (1990-1993), and then as the Commandant of the Airman Leadership School (1994-1995).

Mrs. Petross has ten years of education experience. She taught in the Cabot Public School District serving both as a classroom teacher and a Gifted and Talented teacher as well as a Gifted and Talented Coordinator. She also served as the curriculum coordinator for the Arkansas Educational Television Network. This agency serves the entire state of Arkansas with a focus on providing quality professional development to Arkansas teachers in partnership with the department of education. While in this position, Mrs. Petross coordinated all professional development efforts, supervised five content specialists, presented professional development workshops throughout the state on relevant educational issues, as well as trained teachers on the use of the online professional development tools supported by AETN and ADE. She is presently an Assistant Principal in the North Little Rock School District.

She holds two Master’s degrees, one in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR. and a Master’s in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning with an emphasis in Gifted Education from Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR.

“It is a great honor to have been chosen to serve the LRAFB and surrounding community as the Founding Principal of Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School Flightline campus. I am very excited about the opportunity to give back to the community that played such a big part in shaping who I am both personally and professionally. In collaboration with the faculty and staff, I pledge to provide both a unique and high quality educational opportunity to the youth of the Flightline campus,” said Mrs. Petross.

Ms. Petross will join Ryan Dean, the JLCS Main Site principal and they will work collaboratively to provide a comprehensive quality education and public school choice to the Jacksonville community.
“We are excited to find someone so uniquely qualified for this position,” said Dr. Phillis N. Anderson, Vice President of the Southern Region for Lighthouse Academies, Inc. “She is a strong instructional leader. That coupled with her life experience of having lived on this base as a child gives her tremendous insight that will be very beneficial to her as the leader of that school.”

JLCS currently enrolls approximately 400 students in grades Kindergarten through 7 at their 251 North First Street location. The school will add one grade each year until reaching grade 12 at this site. The new application for the JLCS school sites, permitting applicants to specify which middle school location they prefer, is available at Students will be selected through a lottery, just as they were in the past two years of the school’s existence.

JLCS is a part of the Lighthouse Academies national network. Lighthouse Academies, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that develops and supports the operations of public charter schools in underserved communities throughout the United States. LHA distinguishes itself as a charter management organization (CMO) using an arts-infused, K-12 college prep program funded solely on per pupil revenue to achieve its mission. LHA is the only CMO that offers a truly replicable, K-12, multi-state model.

The mission is to prepare our students for college through a rigorous arts-infused program. The vision is that all students will be taught by a highly effective teacher in a nurturing environment and will achieve at high levels. Each student will develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary for responsible citizenship and lifelong learning. The impact of our collective efforts will fundamentally change public education. For more information, please visit our website at or call 501-985-1200.

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