Mike Hernandez named to USAC Board

The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce that Dr. Mike Hernandez, superintendent of the Hot Springs School District, has been named to the Universal Service Administrative Company Board of Directors.  He will serve a three-year term beginning January, 2016.

USAC, a non-profit corporation, serves as the Federal Communications Commission's administrator of the Universal Service Fund.  In this role, USAC collects telecommunications carriers' contributions and administers programs that assist communities with obtaining access to affordable telecommunications services.  The 19-member board oversees the E-Rate program, which is a federal program that assists school districts with affordable communications connectivity such as the Internet.

"I am pleased to honor the appointment of Dr. Mike Hernandez to the Universal Service Administrative Company Board of Directors," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.  "Dr. Hernandez's experiences and expertise will support Arkansas and the nation in providing our students with a 21st century education.  As governor, I recognize the importance of high-speed broadband in K-12 schools, and I am pleased with the work of the Department of Education and the Department of Information Services in making high-speed broadband a reality for districts across the state.  The appointment of Dr. Hernandez will further this work."  "Whether it's improving school access to high-speed broadband, implementing the Governor's Computer Science Initiative, or everything in between, today we embrace the far-reaching impact of the Internet," ADE Commissioner Johnny Key said.  "The challenge of ensuring that every school and library in America can take advantage of the digital revolution goes far beyond the issue of funding:  It is a question of determination and creativity.  Monumental tasks of this sort require monumental leadership, and Dr. Hernandez has repeatedly demonstrated that he is an agent of positive change.  I am confident that he will be an exceptional representative for America's superintendents on the USAC board."

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appointed Hernandez on January 8 to fill one of three board positions representing schools that are eligible for telecommunications discounts.  Hernandez received nearly 90 letters of support from school district superintendents, education service cooperative directors, education organizations and elected officials.

"I am very excited to be working with the USAC Board of Directors," Hernandez said.  "I will strive for providing access to the best learning content available for all students, but most especially for students living in rural areas across the country.  I will try my best to serve in a manner that brings honor to the Hot Springs School District, state of Arkansas, and all U.S. schools and libraries."

"I commend Chairman Wheeler for selecting an individual of Mike Hernandez's caliber to serve on the USAC Board of Directors," Arkansas Department of Information Systems Director Mark Myers said.  "He will represent our state with distinction and provide leadership and guidance in USAC;s administration of Universal Service Funds.  As the first Arkansan to serve on the USAC board, Mike's appointment is a proud day for Arkansas, the Department of Education, the Department of Information Systems and schools throughout the state."

Prior to being named the superintendent at the Hot Springs School District, Hernandez served as deputy commissioner at ADE for two years.  As deputy commissioner, Hernandez worked with school districts and legislators on various education issues such as E-Rate, finance and legislation.  He previously served as assistant commissioner for Fiscal and Administrative Services, where he oversaw the distribution of funds to public schools.

During his tenure at ADE, Hernandez led a statewide effort among superintendents and communities to leverage Arkansas' E-Rate funding.  His expertise resulted in the attainment of more that $50 million annually in E-Rate funding.

Hernandez also has been a superintendent at Danville Public Schools and previously was a principal and teacher.  He has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway and a Master of Arts in Education Leadership and a doctoral degree in Education Leadership from Harding University at Searcy.