All Faculty, Staff

Benny L. Gooden

Benny L. Gooden

Visiting Asst Professor

College of Education and Health Professions

(CIED)-Curriculum & Instruction

Phone: 479-308-2294

Fax: (479) 785-1722

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Benny Gooden retired in 2016 as Superintendent of Schools for the Fort Smith Public Schools after holding the position since 1986. Prior to coming to Fort Smith, Dr. Gooden held superintendent's positions in Boonville and Crawford County, Missouri. He has also served as an assistant superintendent, high school principal, assistant principal, and secondary vocal and instrumental music instructor. He has taught at the graduate level for Arkansas Tech University, the University of Central Arkansas and Southeast Missouri State University in addition to the University of Arkansas.

Issues related to school governance, school and community relations and school finance.

  • Organizational Behavior in Educational Administration
  • School and Community Relations
  • School Governance
  • School Finance
  • Ed.D., University of Missouri, Educational Administration, 1976
  • M.Ed., University of Arkansas, Educational Administration, 1969
  • B.A.,   Harding University, Music Education, 1966
  • Gooden, B.L. (1999, August/September). Public education: The preservation of a democratic society. Our Children, 6.
  • Cole, J., & Gooden, B.L. (2003, June). Speaking for children who have no voice: Advocating for the forgotten, National Parent Teacher Association Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Gooden, B.L., & Farrell, M. (2004, July). Special purpose schools: Serving students others leave behind, Quadrennial Conference, Council on International and Transregional Accreditation, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Gooden, B.L. (2001, June). Effective child advocacy: An issues agenda for our future, 105th National Parent Teacher Association Convention, Baltimore, Maryland.

Benny Gooden has been active in school leadership organizations in both Missouri and Arkansas as well as at the national level. He has served on the Federal Policy and Legislation Committee of the American Association of School Administrators—The Superintendents Association-- and was its chair in 2001-2002. He served on the Governing Board and Executive Committee of AASA. Dr. Gooden was president of the American Association of School Administrators in 2012-2013.

He was president of the Arkansas Association of School Administrators in 1998-1999 and served as President of the AAEA-Arkansas’ umbrella association of school administrators in 2007-2008. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the North Central Association/Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement and as its chair.  Following the merger of NCA and SACS to form AdvancED—a worldwide accreditation and school improvement organization, he was a member and chair of the Board of Trustees.  He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. He is a frequent presenter at educational conferences on topics related to governance and school finance.


  • Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Educator Award; National PTA, 1999
  • Administrator of the Year; National Association of Educational Office Professionals, 1999-2000
  • “100 Outstanding School Administrators in North America” The Executive Educator, 1993
  • Distinguished Service Award; American Association of School Administrators, 2014


  • Arkansas Superintendent of the Year; American Association of School Administrators, 1992-1993
  • Administrator of the Year; Arkansas Council of Parent Teacher Associations, 1995
  • Outstanding Administrator of the Year; Arkansas Art Educators, 1998
  • Daniel Pilkington Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education; Arkansas School Boards Association, 2002
  • Advocate for Education Award; Arkansas Teachers for National Board Certification, 2014
  • Excellence in Education Award; AdvancED, 2015


  • Jack White Community Leadership Award; Leadership Fort Smith,2001
  • Administrator Award; Western Arkansas Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, 2004

Higher Education

  • Harding University; Distinguished College of Education Alumnus, 1990
  • University of Missouri-Columbia; Citation of Merit for Outstanding Achievement, 2010