Judi Jenkins

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership

“I have been blessed with a love for teaching and encouraging others. I feel most like me when I am in front of a classroom inspiring others to love what I love. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m thankful for those who encouraged me to pursue this career and I want to do the same for others.”

Judi Jenkins transferred to Henderson State University as a student in 1985 where she earned an associate’s degree in office management and a B.S.E. in secondary business education.

Thirty years and four degrees later, she has joined the Henderson faculty to share her vast experiences in education leadership roles.

Jenkins began her career at De Queen-Mena Educational Cooperative as the vocational evaluator for 15 high schools. In 1987, she began teaching business classes at De Queen High School where she had completed her internship through Henderson. She was awarded Sevier County Teacher of the Year in 1993.

After receiving her M.S.E. in secondary guidance counseling at Henderson in 1993, Jenkins served as high school counselor for De Queen High School and was named Arkansas Secondary Counselor of the Year in 1998.

During this time, Jenkins added her licensure for both administration at the secondary level and K-12 curriculum specialist.

She received her ESL endorsement through Henderson’s ESL Academy and became the ESL, Migrant, Testing and Curriculum Coordinator for the De Queen district.

In 2004, Jenkins was asked to take the high school principal’s job at De Queen for a year. That one year turned into four. She also served as scholastic auditor for the state during this period.

Jenkins earned her Educational Specialist degree at Henderson in 2008, and became assistant superintendent of De Queen Public Schools in 2009.

She received her doctorate in educational leadership at Harding University in 2013 before retiring from De Queen schools in 2014.

After working as an educational consultant and teaching some classes, Jenkins was hired as a lecturer for Henderson before joining the faculty fulltime as assistant professor of educational leadership.

“As to what brought me here as a member of the faculty, it’s more of a ‘who’ than a ‘what,’ Jenkins said. “Dr. Johnnie Roebuck encouraged my pursuit of the position. She has been a mentor to me since I took my first leadership course at Henderson.”

Now that she’s teaching at the college level, Jenkins is motivated by her students.

“I most enjoy the students,” she said. “Learning doesn’t occur just because someone ‘presents’ a lesson. I love to get to know my students and find ways to make the learning happen for them.”

Jenkins said she wants her students to “love learning.”

“I often say that you must teach them to love to learn. I like the facilitator of learning role of teaching,” she said. “I don’t think you should hand them the learning in a box, but make them dig for it in ways they don’t expect.

“I say lessons should be M&M. That is meaningful and memorable. Reflective teaching leads to reflective learning. It is worth it.”

Helping “grow” school leaders is one of the most satisfying aspects of teaching for Jenkins.

“In graduate programs, you are working with people who want to grow as educators,” she said. “When you create a great assignment that really makes people think and they share that in the classroom where future administrators are learning, it has the capacity to touch many lives in great ways.

“Leadership impacts the classroom in so many powerful ways. It is important work. The one constant in my scholastic audit work was that leadership piece. If leadership was not effective, the school was not effective. An organization seldom surpasses its leader in effectiveness. When you grow school leaders, you grow schools.”

Jenkins offers this advice for students considering a career in education leadership: “Don’t do it unless you love working with people.”

“School is a people business,” she said. “It is the people who make the school – students, teachers, staff, parents, community members, and administrators. You can get caught up in lots of things as a school leader.”

If she wasn’t teaching, Jenkins said she would be spending more time with her grandchildren. And she also loves to write.

“I have lots of ideas for writing, but little time to spend on it right now,” she said. “Writing and travel are on my bucket list. My husband said, ‘reading a book on a beach somewhere.” He knows me well.”

Jenkins also has a love for music.

“Music is very important to me. I grew up singing with my family in church,” she said. “I took piano and voice lessons for years and love to play and sing. Music is my therapy. I can sit for hours and play through the hymnal.”

Educational Leadership

Contact Info:

Degree and School:
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Harding University


• Impact of leadership on teachng and learning in the classroom
• Reading
• Literacy
• English as a Second Language

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