The 2019 Arkansas School Business Administrator of the Year award was handed out to a 10-year Conway employee on Tuesday night during a surprise presentation.

Zinnia Clanton, business manager for Conway Public Schools, was going about her official business during the district’s regular board of education meeting Tuesday when Richard Abernathy, executive director of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators entered the room.

Accompanying Abernathy was several members of Clanton’s family.

“Zinnia Clanton is such a tremendous asset to our district and the students we serve,” superintendent Greg Murry said in a news release. “Her expertise in school finance is exemplary. Her work ethic is unmatched. Her integrity is unquestioned. Zinnia is so deserving of this recognition and I couldn’t be prouder for her.”

Director Karen Lasker spoke with the Log Cabin Democrat on Wednesday. She also had kind words for her co-worker.

“She is very good at what she does,” Lasker said.

She smiled and described Clanton as strict, keeping the district in line and out of trouble and strong, always doing her job well.

“I really admire the work she does,” Lasker said.

The AAEA gives the annual award to an outstanding school business official each year to honor outstanding school business officials and pay tribute to Truett Goatcher, Arkansas Department of Education employee, AAEA member, mentor to many and school business official who the award is named.

“I have a few school business officials from other districts that are my ‘go to’ people when there is a question or problem that comes up,” Tina Wiley, director of finance for Cabot Public Schools, said. ”Zinnia quickly became one of those people for me when she started working in Conway.”

Before working in Conway, Clanton worked at the Arkansas Public School Computer Network and at Arch Ford Coop.

The Conway employee will also be recognized during upcoming school business conferences in the spring.

Be sure to watch for a more inclusive feature on Clanton in next week's Log Cabin Democrat.