Small School Makes Big Impression on Retiring Principal


For the past eight years Dr. Jim Best has worked for the Mansfield School District. For the first two years, he served as Federal Coordinator, and then as high school principal. At the age of 60, however, Best feels it’s time to retire.

Teachers and staff spent their last few days celebrating Best’s service to the district. It was an emotional time, and according to Best, more so than even he imagined. “I really wasn’t prepared for it…It’s been a blessing for me to be able to come here.”

In his 24 years as an administrator, he found a uniqueness in Mansfield. He credits the faculty and staff for any success the district has seen, and for their support to him throughout his time at Mansfield. “I’ve been the luckiest person in the world to have gotten to work with some of the people I’ve gotten to work with. The greatest asset our school has is the people of this district. They are the best kept secret, not only in this community, but regionally.”

Best admits that he has formed a bond with the teachers and staff. “They are more than just employees, they are like family and friends.” Furthermore, that although this is one of the smallest district’s he’s worked in, Mansfield has left the biggest impact.

Although he is humble about his contributions, Best has certainly made an impact on the school and the students. Best’s legacy will carry on long after he walks out the door. And, that legacy is important to him.

Day in, and day out he worked hard to ensure the safety and welfare of each student, and according to him, the hardest decision he had to make was to recommend a student for expulsion. “My only regret is that I didn’t get to connect to as many kids as I would have liked.”

He’s witnessed burnout over the years, and vowed that before he got to that point, he wanted to go. “Donnie Eveld is going to come on and do a great job.”

He and his wife, Elaine, are retiring together. She has been a teacher for the past 39 years. “We’re going to be able to travel and do some things we couldn’t do when we had a young family.” The couple plans to remain in Arkansas, and Best intends to attend functions as well as games. “I’m always going to identify myself as a Mansfield Tiger,” Best concluded.

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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