DR. MICHAEL HESTER was born in Morrilton, AR, and graduated from Perryville High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in Speech Communication & Education from Mid-America Nazarene University. He obtained a master's degree in School Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma and completed his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Wichita State University. He began his educational career in Oklahoma, teaching English and speech while coaching and owning a construction company. He returned to Kansas in 1990, where he spent 23 years as the high school principal.
In 2013, he was accepted as the General Director of Secondary Schools of Topeka Public Schools, serving 15,000 students. Dr. Hester has an innovative and visionary reputation for leadership. He has pioneered three 1:1 district technology initiatives that resulted in significant student achievement. In 2014, he helped establish the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers (TCALC), a business partnership for high school students to enter into a career from high school.
In 2018, he initiated Arkansas’ largest energy waste reduction initiative and the state’s first school district solar panel project. Dr. Hester has published articles in the International Journal of Educational Management and the Journal of Urban Education. He has presented to educational groups on a local, state, national and international level. He serves as an advocate for high achievement for ALL students. He is known as an excellent communicator.
The last two decades of successful administrative experience have allowed him to deal with a wide range of legal and financial issues that benefit Batesville School District in policy and procedural issues. Dr. Hester has improved student progress and closed achievement gaps in rural, urban and suburban public schools. With a variety of educational leadership, he brings innovation and creativity to problem-solving opportunities in the Batesville School District, which has a rich state history. He strives to be supportive, visible, and transparent, and to use common sense in the confusing and fast-paced issues that districts face today.
He is actively involved with his church and has been involved in several community organizations. He is the past president of the Rotary and Lions Club and serves in the Chamber of Commerce. He is visible in the community, collaborative in his work, and highly respected by his staff as an innovative and positive leader.