About The President
Successfully developing academic programs, workforce partnerships and finding resources requires synthesis. Dr. Randy Esters, who began his educational journey as a high school science teacher has the skills to serve as the catalyst to lead North Arkansas College forward.
Dr. Esters became the 4th President of Northark on July 1, 2016. Before coming to Harrison, he served as the Head of the Liberal Arts division at Louisiana State University at Eunice.
His accomplishments during the past two years at Louisiana State University Eunice (LSUE) include responsibilities for every aspect of the largest division of the university including budgeting of approximately $1,060,000, scheduling, personnel evaluations and staffing. He received the prestigious Patriotic Employer Award for work with military students, and wrote and received $100K in grants. He advised more than 100 students each semester and served on and committees including Academic Council, Administrative Council, Courses and Curriculum Committee, Fine & Performing Arts Feasibility Committee, Orientation Committee and many others. Additionally, he was a member of the Chamber South-West Education and Workforce Development Team #1.
Prior to the arriving at the Eunice campus, Dr. Esters served Louisiana College as the Dean of Education and Associate Vice President for International Affairs where he had many noteworthy achievements. Some of his accomplishments include developing a state certification route for school principals and a jump start graduate program to prepare candidates for the PRAXIS exam while earning graduate credits, creating a master’s program tailored to the needs of international students, implementing an English as a Second Language program, and many others too numerous to mention.
Over the years, the opportunity and privilege has arisen for Dr. Esters to work with international students. He has led service learning programs and teacher training seminars in the Tanzanian communities of Moshi, Mwanza, Zanzibar, Bukoba and Dar es Salaam. He has conducted similar seminars in Kampala Uganda, Swedru, Ghana, Kumasi Ghana, and Accra Ghana and taught graduate seminars at Ahnui University, Hefei China. In Tanzania, Africa, he was the leader of an initiative to establish a permanent Louisiana College presence which included securing private donations. In China and S. Korea, Dr. Esters developed formal and informal partnerships with educational institutions that resulted in more than a million dollar impact to the university’s annual budget. In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Esters was inducted into the prestigious President’s Club at Louisiana College in 2011. This honor is reserved for large donors and others who make exceptional contributions to the College.
Dr. Esters also served in progressively advanced positions as Industrial Coordinator/Evening Administrator, Interim Campus Dean and Assistant Campus Dean for seven years at Louisiana Community and Technical College where he led the Oakdale campus to record growth of 144%. Community College Week named the institution the Fastest Growing College in its category in the nation.
Randy has worked in all areas of education from pre-school to graduate school. He has a strong passion for initiating successful programs that meet student needs and has an impressive record of grant writing and management. Dr. Esters began his career as a high school science teacher and progressively moved up the ladder with increasing success and responsibility. He was the youngest principal in the history of Allen Parish. After three years of continuous improvement and recognition, he joined Sowela Technical Community College as the evening administrator and industrial liaison. During the five years he was there Randy wrote and managed grants that averaged over a million dollars per year. One of those was the first-ever STEM collaboration with the regional university for $1.2 million.
Dr. Esters has spent his entire professional career leading educational institutions and says, “Societies rise and fall on the backs of its educational systems. I understand that working in education is one of the greatest, most fundamentally impactful stations in life a person can have. There are no minor roles when we endeavor to impact the future.”
Dr. Esters received a B.A. in Biology and General Science Education and M.A. in Educational Leadership and Supervision from McNeese State University, and an ED.D in Educational Leadership/Higher Education from Lamar University.
He and wife, LaNell, are the parents of five children: Luke, Andi, Cade, Carli, and Dade. During his spare time, Randy enjoys writing, farming and being with his family. He is also an avid raccoon hunter who has many stories he loves to share.