Longtime principal joins UA Little Rock Alumni Board
September 9-15, 2019
By Cait Smith
As an avid educator and advocate for higher learning, Nancy Rousseau, principal of Little Rock Central High School, has agreed to be a part of the UA Little Rock Alumni Board in hopes of furthering the image of the university. “I look forward to marketing and helping people to regard UA Little Rock as a very viable institution in which students can get an education,” stated Rousseau. Since she is also an alumna of UA Little Rock, this shall be a great time for her to work closely with the university again.
Rousseau made her start at Adelphi University in her hometown of New York. Shortly after graduating with her degree in English, she landed her first teaching job in Port Washington. “I taught English in New York and then in Oklahoma. I thoroughly enjoyed it,” she explained. Her marriage brought her down to Little Rock, however, her love for teaching didn’t go away. Rousseau continued teaching English grades 9-12. After educating for a total of 18 years, she made the decision to further her own education.
“I was torn between getting a master’s in educational leadership or going to law school. But when I was thinking about law school, it struck me that I wouldn’t be working with kids – that’s what energizes me is working with children. So, I decided on educational leadership,” said Rousseau.
While working in the English department at Pulaski Academy, the road to Central wasn’t far away as she already had a correspondence with the principal at that time, John Hittman. “He and I had several discussions about my philosophy on education and children. Then shortly after, he gave me my first opportunity as assistant principal for Central,” Rousseau explained. Her first time at Central was cut short, but she made sure to build close relationships with her faculty and students. “Mr. Rudolph Howard, who was principal in 1998, became my mentor and was ultimately a wonderful role model for me,” she said.
After Howard retired in 2002, Rousseau became principal for Central High.
As principal, Rousseau is often faced with a hit of challenges from test scores, attendance, to cellphone use. “It’s always challenging in high school – creating a positive and safe environment for the students is very important,” she continued, “since I’ve been principal here for so many years, it has been possible for me to build a very strong team so that we could provide our students with a positive climate.”
Rousseau is also an advocate for technology that will help excel a student’s education. “We provide our teachers with the opportunity to get professional development so that they can be up-to-date on all of the various opportunities for children to learn - whether it’s with technology or otherwise,” she said.
In the midst of educating, Rousseau was approached by Chancellor Andrew Rogerson and Christian O’Neal about becoming a part of the alumni board. “When Chancellor Rogerson first came to Little Rock, I took him and Mr. O’Neal on a tour of the school. [...]. They could tell that I was passionate about UA Little Rock,” she stated. As a board member, Rousseau looks forward to helping with scholarship selections and networking in the community.
What keeps Rousseau ahead of the game is her positive outlook on life – “My philosophy is that you have to find your passion because I would love for everyone to feel the way I do.” She explained how she enjoys waking up every single day for work. “Find that niche and run with it,” she proclaimed.
Aside from work, Rousseau enjoys spending her time exploring Little Rock. “I love this city. I think it’s a wonderful area for culture, sightseeing, and outdoor activities. I think it’s a very well-kept secret,” she said.