James Steven Helmick

Don Roberts Elementary School
Little Rock School District
Little Rock, Arkansas

In his five years as principal of Don Roberts Elementary School, Steven Helmick has led a comprehensive effort to build a safe and inclusive culture for all students. With over 1,000 learners representing over 30 countries and 25 languages, Helmick uses creative strategies and a humble, proactive leadership style to engage teachers and families to ensure students’ full access to the educational experience. Each year, the school hosts World Fest, a fair inviting cultural exchange through traditional foods, art, and dance. The school proudly displays flags representing students’ home countries, and Helmick makes sure teachers have the information they need to honor, respect, and provide space for students’ diverse religious and cultural practices. He has also developed innovative methods to deliver professional learning experiences that allow teachers to expand their pedagogical toolbox while building relational equity across grade level teams. This approach recently earned Don Roberts 95th-percentile distinction for growth and achievement on state end-of-year benchmarks, with all subpopulations performing above state averages. Robust PLCs have also supported the expansion of club offerings and the success of the schools’ Education Accelerated through Service and Technology program, which cultivates creative problem-solving through hands-on, project-based learning. Helmick holds a K-12 Administration Certificate from Arkansas State University, an M.A. in Middle Childhood Education from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, and a B.A. in Speech Communication from the University of Central Arkansas.