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Fort Smith
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Arkansas Rural Education Association Teacher of the Year


Friday, April 19, Hackett Elementary first grade teacher Val Harp was surprised during a testing pep rally assembly, and was named the Arkansas Rural Education Association’s (AREA) teacher of the Year for the North Region of Arkansas. 

Harp was nominated for this honor by Hackett Elementary Principal Tura Bailey. Bailey submitted Harp’s nomination to Roy Hester, director of the Guy Fenter Education Cooperative.  Each of the 15 educational cooperatives in Arkansas had a teacher vying for the AREA Teacher of the Year Award, and only two teachers were chosen statewide; one for the north region and one for the south region.

Harp has been an educator for 25 years.  She is a National Board Certified teacher, is on the Economics Arkansas Counsel, the Federal Reserve Economics Advisory Board and is a presenter at the REAL Conference in Little Rock each summer. 

She is the true epitome of a dedicated teacher of a rural school. Harp knows firsthand the benefits of teaching in a rural school and the heart break when a rural school has to be closed.  Prior to teaching first grade at Hackett Elementary this year, she spent 24 years teaching at the now closed Hartford Elementary.  

Her philosophy of teaching is that every child can and will learn at their own pace.  Mrs. Harp seeks to fill her class with unique, hands-on lessons that appeal to all learning styles.  Harp’s love of students and teaching is evident in her classroom each and every day.  She seeks to instill the growth mindset of YET (which is Hackett Elementary’s personal motto this year) into each of her students.  They may not be there YET but they will before they leave Harp’s class.

“She’s truly an outstanding educator.  It was such a pleasure to see her honored in such a way today,” stated Bailey.  Harp’s husband, Johnny Harp, Hackett High School agri teacher, along with their three children, grandchildren and Harp’s mother were present at Friday’s ceremony.

Dennis Copeland, Assistant Director of the Arkansas Rural Education Association was on hand to present the award.  Harp is also invited to attend the Arkansas Rural Education Association’s summer conference July 9-10 in Eureka Springs, where she will once again be recognized.  At the summer conference Harp will receive a crystal apple and a $1000 courtesy of the Rural Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

HES Principal Bailey said “Hackett Elementary is truly blessed to have Val Harp as one of our teachers and truly exonerates ‘Great things are happening at Hackett Elementary!”

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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