For the majority of the past six decades, Brad Roberts has been an integral part of the Bald Knob School District. First as a student, then a math educator, and finally as an administrator and superintendent, he served in nearly every capacity at the school. His love for the district, faculty, students--whom he considered to be the best in Arkansas--truly runs deep.
As president of the class of 1976--the bicentennial class whom he loved so dearly--Brad was a leader both on and off the field. Brad set records on the athletic fields as both a running back and track and field athlete but also stood out with his leadership abilities. He even joked that he would one day lead the school district as superintendent, as well. It was during this time that he met the love of his life Debbie, a Bulldog cheerleader, and they forged a relationship that was bonded with a blue and white cord of unity that would never be broken.
After attending the University of Central Arkansas and beginning his educator's career at Augusta High School, Brad finally came "home" where he taught high school mathematics. For over 20 years, Brad's unique teaching style was experienced by thousands of students who were fortunate to have him as a teacher. Whether it was his stain glass window geometry projects, national pilot mathematics programs which broke the norm from a traditional teaching style, or his kids' projects which often hung from the ceilings in his classroom, it was evident that Brad was more than just another teacher but rather a life mentor for numerous students.
Over the course of his long history in the classroom, Brad was recognized as the state's teacher of the year by multiple organizations and media outlets. It was in 2000 when Brad received his most coveted professional honor as a National Council of Mathematics Teacher of the Year, which afforded him the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to be recognized by President George W. Bush.
In the fall of 2002, Brad left Bald Knob to become an administrator for the Midland School District, and a few years later, a mathematics curriculum coordinator for UCA, where he used his unique teaching ability to reach thousands of students across Arkansas by encouraging teachers to think outside the box in their classroom, which was the norm for Brad. Brad also served as principal at Bradford High School, as well. Every stop, Brad found his niche and was able to touch the lives of many whom he came in contact with. But no matter where he worked, his heart was ultimately always in Bald Knob.
When he returned to Bald Knob, Brad became one of the leaders of his home, and he took this responsibility seriously. Whether it was his middle school or high school staffs, Brad impacted their lives, as well as the lives of the students, by encouraging, serving, and praying for his staff and kids on a daily basis. Whether it was small trinkets such as candy bars with inspirational sayings or his famous ice cream cakes for faculty meetings, Brad was much more than a boss. He was a beloved friend and a servant.
In 2014, Brad reached the pinnacle of his professional career when he was named superintendent of the Bald Knob School District. The position was one of which he had dreamt about for years, and he was determined to lead by example. Brad, more than anything else, promoted school-wide Bulldog pride and unity like no one before him. Instilled by his mother, also a BKS educator, Brad truly bled blue and white. Whether it was the high school JAG program, the Bulldog football team, the marching Bulldogs, the quiz bowl team, or the elementary chess team, no one loved the Bulldogs or the school like Brad. His work-ethic and dedication were second to none, and he always put the best interest of his students above anything else. This may have been most evident in 2015.
After a mid-year resignation, Brad was asked by the school board to manage the renowned Lady Bulldog Softball team in order to keep its continuity intact. Despite holding two full-time jobs as both superintendent and pastor, Brad spent what little free time he had practicing long hours into the evening, traveling hundreds of miles across the state for games, and helping the team reach its ultimate goal of winning the 2nd of three consecutive state championships. Few realize the hours he committed in addition to his regular hours, but he had made a promise to his students and would not let them down. That man in that story--hard working, selfless, loyal, and dedicated--was the kind of man Brad Roberts was.
On Sunday, November 13, after 58 years of serving others, most of which were dedicated to the students and faculty of Bald Knob Schools, Brad was unexpectedly promoted to his eternal dwelling place. Today, along with his family who followed his lead as lifelong Bulldogs and servants, we all have an irreplaceable hole in our hearts. Right now, we hurt yet smile. We cry and can still laugh. We mourn but still celebrate this irreplaceable giant in our community.
Brad often joked with his family and church, that he couldn't wait to get to Heaven and slide down the Beverly Hillbilly style staircase of his mansion one day. Today, Brad is experiencing his reward for his many years of service, and while he is not physically with us, we have no doubt that his spirit lives on.
It lives on in his Bulldog-loving wife and former BKS educator of 37 years, his oldest son and former Bald Knob teacher and administrator, Wesley, his youngest son, Brent, who continues to follow in Brad's footsteps as mathematics teacher, volunteer statistician for multiple athletic teams, and the "Bulldog" yearbook adviser, his daughter-in-law, Ashlee, who teaches elementary students and lays the foundation of education and how to grow up and be true Bulldogs. It lives in his grandchildren and current Bald Knob students Brendan, Maddy, and Nicholas who, like the rest of the family, bleed Blue and White and are carrying on the tradition with their involvement in many extra-curricular activities.
But his legacy reaches far more than just his immediate family, as most of you can attest. Brad truly touched the lives of thousands, and we all carry a part of his spirit with us as we move forward. 2nd Timothy 4:7 was one of Brad's favorite scriptures and truly epitomizes his life. It reads, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith..." We celebrate this pillar of Bald Knob Schools and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, employees, and students. Brad was a servant, a man of God, and most definitely a Bulldog, and while we miss him, we celebrate his time on earth and cling to the lasting impact he left on Bald Knob Schools. Thank you, Brad Roberts, for your love, support, service, and unwavering dedication to our school district. We vow to carry on your vision and unique love of everything Bald Knob until we meet again. And we say one with one loud voice, “Go Bulldogs!