Bishop Woosley, the new director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, has roots in Conway education that are deep and wide.
His dad, Keith Woosley, was a Conway coach from 1969 through 1972, and his mother, also a teacher during that time, retired this summer as director of curriculum for Conway Public Schools.
His sister, Tammy Woosley, is the principal at Theodore Jones Elementary and his wife, Hillary Woosley, works for the school district in the transportation department.
A 1991 graduate of Stuttgart High School, Woosley graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 1996 and the Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1999.
He returned to Stuttgart to practice law, joining the Green and Henry Law firm and in 2001 opened his own practice. He served as a deputy prosecuting attorney.
In 2007, he became an assistant in the Attorney General’s office and in July 2009, he was hired as director of procurement for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.
Voters approved the lottery in 2008 to raise money for college scholarships, with the first tickets being sold in 2009. Woosley was there on the day the lottery began.
His job was to scrutinize the very large contracts with vendors that make and sell the tickets, provide the systems for the big games, select banking partnerships and monitor the contracts after completion.
He later became chief legal counsel and was picked Saturday to be the second director, replacing Ernie Passailaigue, a South Carolinian who resigned in September after criticism over his management of the games and his $324,000 annual salary.
Woosley will be paid $165,000 annually.
He’s not replacing two vice-presidents whose salaries totaled $450,000 plus benefits.
"Obviously our mission is to raise as much money as possible for scholarships. We want to be responsible, we want to be efficient," Woosley said.
He said a new focus will be on low-cost advertising, targeting players at the point of sale — like at the gas pump.
"We are a state that likes instant scratch-off tickets. They are 85 percent of our sales. But we’re going to push for more participation in online tickets, with bigger jackpots, such as Powerball and Mega Millions, that have a bigger return for us.
"We want to publicize those games more, teach people how to play and sell the game that has the best return."
Social media — Facebook and Twitter — will be used more with fans relaying messages, announcing jackpots, new games and new promotions.
He said the lottery will also look at adding lottery sales at the three claim centers in Camden, Springdale and Jonesboro where winners of $500 and more can go to claim their prizes, saving a trip to Little Rock’s main office.
"We don’t want to be in competition with our retailers but sell enough tickets to help cover the cost of operating the claim centers, about $115,000 a year each for staff and rent."
In addition, Woosley said, the lottery will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Higher Education, keeping all on track with notifications of deadlines and qualifications.
"We’ll make the money and they’ll put it to good use.
"We’ll also be boosting the public perception of the lottery by showing the students who have received and benefited from scholarships. They have great stories to tell."
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 505-1234.)