Meet LISA Academy » About Us » Leadership


LISA Academy is grateful for the leadership of its Board of Directors, its Advisory Board, and its team of District and Campus Leadership teams. Together we are mighty!
Cynthia Dawson, President
Deputy City Attorney, City of Little
Rock (Retired)
Dr. Erhan Ararat, Vice President
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Dr. Emre Celebi, Secretary
Chair of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering,
University of Central Arkansas
Erica Miller, J.D.,  Member
Senior Legislative Attorney
Dr. Tolga Ensari
Assistant Professor,
Computer Science, Arkansas Tech University

Photo of Board President

President’s Message

LISA Academy strives to be in the forefront in providing innovative college preparatory and STEM-focused K-12 education in Arkansas and it has established an impressive record in doing so, year after year. LISA Academy was established in 2004 by a group of dedicated educators and university academicians who were passionate about the way children approach math and science and that passion remains a central feature of our LISA schools.

LISA stands for Little Scholars of Arkansas, but it also represents our four pillars: Learn, Innovate, Support, and Achieve. LISA Academy’s high rankings on the yearly ACT Aspire tests given to all public-school students in Arkansas clearly show our students learn. For example, in 2018, 83% of LISA schools were graded as either A or B, leading central Arkansas in those ratings, and last year two-thirds of them were graded either A or B. LISA’s growth in student learning scores over those of the prior year has been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Education, with three of its schools placing in the top 10% in 2019 and LISA North High School showing the highest growth of any school in Arkansas for the past 3 years. Examples of LISA Academy innovation include its organization of the Arkansas STEM Festival each year, attended by over 2,000 students in 2019, and its participation in the nationwide solar car competition the past two years. Last year, LISA Academy had the only Arkansas team in the 44 teams across the country competing in the race and despite it having only a small budget, the solar car built by the LISA team completed 249 laps and 373.5 miles, thus earning a cumulative 5th place in the nation.

The support that LISA Academy provides to students and teachers is substantial. Last year, LISA Academy ranked 8th in highest minimum teacher salary among the 237 districts in the state, even though LISA, as a tuition-free public charter school, is funded on average 40% less by the state than are traditional public schools. LISA Academy provides a safe, dynamic, rigorous and resource-rich learning environment in which students are especially encouraged in the subjects of math, science, engineering and technology. Other subject areas including language, art, music and sports are not forgotten, however. LISA’s supportive environment results in student achievement: in 2019, LISA students won over 40 awards in regional and state Science Fair competitions, the Science Olympiad team won 1st place in the state, and the LISA Science Quiz Bowl team won second place in the state of Arkansas. The LISA Academy Mathcounts team has won the state championship 12 of the past 13 years.  The college acceptance rate of our high school seniors is above 95% every year, including last year.

It is a source of pride for us on the LISA Academy Board of Directors that LISA Academy has been recognized as the most diverse school district in the state of Arkansas (Public School Review, 2016). We currently have a 77% minority student population and over 30 different languages are spoken in the homes of our students. Diversity within our student body and faculty is another factor in the culture of cooperation and success in our schools, which will help our students to excel in our changing world and the global environment.

                                                                                          Cynthia S. Dawson

                                                                                          President of the Board of Directors

Fatih Bogrek, Ed.D. 

Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent

Dr. Bogrek's Picture

Dr. Fatih Bogrek is an eminent education visionary and leader, currently serving as the CEO/Superintendent of LISA Academy.   Under his visionary leadership, LISA Academy has become an educational trailblazer, dedicated to providing exceptional college preparatory and STEM-focused K-12 education in Arkansas since its inception in 2004. LISA Academy's remarkable growth in the largest state charter now extends its transformative reach to over 4,000 students across 11 schools, solidifying its position as a cornerstone of academic excellence.

LISA Academy is committed to diversity, earning notable recognition as the Most Diverse School District in the state of Arkansas, where a rich tapestry of families communicates in over 35 languages district wide. Dr. Bogrek's exemplary educational journey spans two decades, with twelve of those years being dedicated to guiding LISA Academy toward educational excellence. Prior to ascending to the role of Superintendent in 2017, Dr. Bogrek served as an Assistant Superintendent for three years, a principal for six years, an assistant principal for three years, and a teacher for four years.

Dr. Bogrek's illustrious academic background boasts a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, with a groundbreaking dissertation titled, "Determinants and Outcomes of Teachers' Professional Identity and Organizational Identification: A Comparative Analysis in Charter and Regular Public Schools." He also holds a Master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso, Texas, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Middle East Technical University. Dr. Bogrek's tireless dedication to education and outstanding leadership continue to shape the future of the academic landscape as a transformative leader in charter education.

In addition to his unwavering commitment to education, he is a fervent champion of choice in education. His vibrant dedication shines through as he assumes the prestigious role of Chair at the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC) Charter Advisory Board, where he wholeheartedly channels his profound expertise towards the noble cause of advancing the provision of top-tier education for our future leaders and providing choices in education that are more expansive than a student’s location offers.

Dr. Bogrek is married with three children.  

Kenneth Keplinger, President

Former Alderman,

City of Sherwood


Dr. Naveen Patil

Deputy State Health Officer

Arkansas Department of Health


Valeria Martin

Data Analyst,

North Hills Family Medical Center


Dr. Mehmet Kelestemur

Assistant Professor,

Mechanical Engineering, Arkansas Tech University


Ben Temple

Executive Communications Director,

Franklin Templeton Investments


Dr. Enes Erdin

Assistant Professor,

Computer Science, University of Central Arkansas


Arnette Trimble

Team Lead,

ARNG Professional Education Center


Mery Ritter

Full time stay at home parent

Formerly worked with jetBlue Airways and JP Morgan Chase


Avinash Thombre, Ph.D.


Applied Communication, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


Dr. Pahul Preet Singh

Medical Director

Department of Cardiology, Northwest Medical Center

District organizational chart