Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe recently appointed Paul Weaver of Violet Hill to the Ozarka Board of Trustees and Weaver said he is proud to serve.
"It is an honor to me to even be considered for something like that. I appreciate the opportunity to serve," Weaver said.
Weaver, who served as Izard County Judge and as a State Representative, might be new to the board but he has already left his mark on the college, more specifically the library which bears his name -- The Ozarka College Paul Weaver Library. Weaver said he was instrumental in attaining funds for the project as a State Representative. Now as a board member he will work for the same goal, supporting Ozarka.
"I believe there are seven members on that board. They meet and work with the college to try and do the best they can with what they have and try to make it available to as many students as possible, with the best quality affordable," Weaver said.
Weaver has a background in education, teaching at the Mount Pleasant School District for eight years.
"I taught school at Oxford when I was a young man for two years. Then I taught at Mount Pleasant for eight years and really enjoyed it," Weaver said.
With such close ties to Izard County, Weaver has seen Ozarka go from the cradle to a successful place of learning for many area students.
"I have watched it from the time they started laying the first foundation. I was the county judge many of those years in the development stage of that. The county always tried to work with them and do the best we could," Weaver said.
When the capitol needed him, Weaver said he answered the call.
"There are lots of qualified people out there. I don't consider myself super qualified for it. They asked if I would serve and I told them I would do the best I could," Weaver said.
"The governor appoints those board members. I worked with Gov. Beebe when he was in the Senate and I was in the House of Representatives. I have always worked well with him and I will do the best job I can," Weaver said.
"At this point in time we have not met. I have just been appointed and I have met with the college president and looked over the facility. It is going to take a lot of studying on my part to get up to par. I will be the new person on the board. So, I will have to spend some time studying and see what direction they want to go in; what's the best for this area," Weaver said.
The opportunity to help Ozarka grow and prosper into the future is something that Weaver said he will cherish.
"I think I will enjoy it. I have been interested in education all my life. We know it is quite a challenge for us to provide that education for people. The people in our area can use education to give them a better life," he said.
Weaver said Ozarka serves a special purpose for area youth and adults alike, providing a resource that is changing lives.
"To change the poverty cycle, education is the key to that. Ozarka is a community college. I think there are 20-odd some of them across the state and I think it fills a space that is very needed. It provides an opportunity for people to go to school that might not otherwise and it is affordable. They work well with the community. They work well with the Ash Flat community, the facility at Mountain View and the one at Melbourne," he said.
"It covers a pretty wide area and it's going to touch a bunch of kids. I always think, it is a two-year school but if we can get those kids involved in that and get them started, most will go on and get their degree. But, you have to start," Weaver said.