As deputy commissioner, Dr. Pfeffer works with ADE team members, legislators, community members, school district personnel and educators on finance, legislation and other education issues. Pfeffer joined the Arkansas Department of Education in 2013 as the director of educator evaluation, where she coordinated the administration of the new teacher and principal evaluation systems. She was hired as assistant commissioner for Educator Effectiveness and Licensure July 1, 2014. Prior to coming to ADE, Pfeffer worked at the Pocahontas School District for 18 years. She taught Spanish and English at Pocahontas Junior High School before being named the secondary assistant principal at the high school. She served as principal and as an adjunct Spanish instructor for Black River Technical College. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education in Spanish and English from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, a Master of Science in Education in Integrated Technology in the Curriculum from Walden University in Minneapolis, MN., completed the ASU program of study for administrative certification and earned an Educator Specialist in Educational Leadership. She received a Doctorate of Education in School Leadership from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville. Pfeffer is from Pocahontas.
As assistant commissioner, Rogers oversees the distribution of funds to public schools, finance and student management software, and fiscal distress services. Rogers began working at ADE in 2012 as the department’s chief financial officer. He is also continuing in that role where he oversees the agency’s financial operations, including biennial and fiscal year budget requests, and represents the agency at legislative committee meetings. With more than 18 years of state government experience, Rogers previously worked for the Department of Finance and Administration and Department of Human Services. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia and a Master of Business Administration in International Business from Salem International University in Salem, W.V.
As assistant commissioner of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure, Dr. Owoh oversees multiple units and programs including teacher licensure, teacher and principal evaluation programs, and educator ethics investigations. He was hired as assistant commissioner July 1, 2017. He previously served as assistant superintendent of curriculum/instruction and desegregation at Jacksonville North Pulaski School District. Dr. Owoh has 14 years of experience as a teacher, dean of students and administrator, having worked in numerous central Arkansas schools. He has also served as an adjunct instructor/professor for Pulaski Technical College at North Little Rock and Shorter College at North Little Rock, as well as an affiliate faculty member at Arkansas Tech University at Russellville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Owoh holds a Bachelor of English Education with a concentration in Secondary Education from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway; a Master of Secondary Education with concentrations in Reading and Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dr. Saunders oversees the agency’s data reporting systems such as the ADE Data Center; the Data Quality Unit; technology initiatives and resources such as the StudentGPS Dashboards; and the agency’s Technical Support Unit. He previously served as ADE’s assistant commissioner for Fiscal and Administrative Services. Before joining ADE in July 2014, Saunders served as superintendent of the East End School District. He also served as principal at Lavaca High School, where he instituted data teams and conducted professional development that focused on using data to increase student achievement. Saunders worked a math teacher and coach at Gentry High School, where he taught various math courses including calculus and Advanced Placement statistics. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Oklahoma State University as well as a Master of Education and a Doctor of Education from Harding University in Searcy. He completed the Arkansas Leadership Academy’s Superintendent Institute and phase one of the Master Principal Program.
Lori Freno became the department’s general counsel July 1, 2016. As general counsel, Freno oversees the Office of Legal Services, which ensures agency compliance with federal and state laws; advises the commissioner and State Board of Education regarding policies and legislation; oversees the agency’s rule-making process; and manages litigation. Prior to becoming general counsel, Freno served as the department’s deputy general counsel for three years and worked for the Attorney General’s Office for 15 years as both an assistant and senior assistant attorney general. Her other work experience included serving as a general attorney for the Panama Canal Commission in the Republic of Panama for two years and in private practice for four years in Cincinnati, Ohio. Freno graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Akron, Ohio, and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Friedman joined the department as the director of communications in August 2013. In her position, she coordinates agency internal and external communication efforts. She previously served as the communications director for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, a position she held for 12 years. She also worked as a reporter for The Pine Bluff Commercial and as a page designer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Friedman received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She grew up in DeWitt, located in southeast Arkansas.
Griffin has served the department for over 25 years in various capacities. As legislative services director, she’s the agency’s liaison with legislative staff, helping facilitate meetings and information requests. She began in that role during the school funding debates of 2003 and has also had positions in the Department’s legal office, personnel office and with instructional services. A native of Little Rock, Griffin has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a master’s from Webster University.
Owen serves as the leader of the computer science initiative in Arkansas. He coordinates with Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Computer Science Task Force to identify the state’s computer science and technology needs. Owen began working at ADE in 2011 as the K-12 math and computer science curriculum specialist. He has worked as a math and science teacher at Sheridan High School and has taught math at Gurdon High School, Goza Middle School at Arkadelphia and England High School. Owen received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in Education and Computer Science and a Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia. He has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law.
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