Gunter Earns Statewide Education Award

Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff in the Arkansas Tech University Office of the President, received the 2018 AdvancED Arkansas Excellence in Education Award during a luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel in Little Rock on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Gunter was presented with her award by Jon Collins, who earned the honor in 2017 and serves as superintendent of the West Memphis School District. Collins is a 1993 graduate of Arkansas Tech.

“It is an honor to be the recipient of this award this year,” said Gunter. “Anytime we in education are honored, we know that truly the honor rests with our colleagues…all of those we have been fortunate enough to work with while keeping the focus on the student. At Arkansas Tech, every student counts. People who have worked with me over the years know that I have one philosophy about meetings: if you haven’t talked about students in the first couple of minutes, we don’t need to be having that meeting at all.”

A first-generation college graduate, Gunter spent 22 years as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and educational co-op director. She was also director of the Governor’s Partnership on Education before joining the ATU faculty in 1998.

Gunter took on new leadership roles as her career at Tech progressed, adding the title of dean of the ATU Graduate College in 2009 and dean of the ATU College of Education in 2015 before moving to the ATU Office of the President in 2018.

Along the way, the evolution of the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning led to the development and implementation of the first doctoral degree in Arkansas Tech history. Gunter is the visionary behind the ATU Doctor of Education degree in school leadership, a program that produced Arkansas Tech’s first doctoral graduates in spring 2017.

Gunter has shared her expertise in the realm of leadership beyond the K-12 community. She was a member of the project development team and now serves as the director of Leadership Tech, a program designed to build leadership capacity and serve as professional development for faculty and staff at Arkansas Tech University.

Leadership Tech Cohort I completed its program in spring 2018. The second and third cohorts of the program are active.

“I see some of you in the audience that I’ve worked with over the years,” said Gunter. “We’ve made a difference, and what’s exciting is we’re continuing to make a difference. Our work is never done. It’s about our leadership and a basic philosophy that leadership exists at all levels. It’s not by position or title or by a resume that we have. It’s about our willingness to change the lives of others…one student at a time, one school at a time, one district at a time…that will set standards and expectations for excellence.”

AdvancED is a non-profit organization that conducts on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and systems to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to pursue their potential.

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