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Little Rock charter school system welcomes new CEO

A public charter school system serving nearly 3,000 students in Little Rock has a new leader.

After a nationwide search, eStem Public Charter Schools selected Cherie Labat, a career educator whose last post was with the University of Southern Mississippi, to be chief executive officer of the charter system, officials said in a news release Friday. She succeeds John Bacon, who retired late last year.

“Dr. Labat’s passion about education was clear from the outset, and her dedication to her students is unwavering,” Vernard Henley, president of the eStem board of directors, said in announcing the selection.

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Labat most recently served as the cybersecurity coordinator for the Mississippi Cyber Defense Initiative at USM in Hattiesburg. She also served as superintendent of the Columbus Municipal School District from 2018 to 2022 and was an assistant superintendent, principal and assistant principal in the Bay Waveland School District from 2006 to 2016.

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Mark Milhollen has served as eStem’s interim chief executive since Bacon’s retirement in December.

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