Jay Barth, Ph.D.


Jay Barth, Ph.D., Chair for Central Arkansas Water Board of Commissioners, is Director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum where he oversees all aspects of the operation of the National Archives and Records Administration facility in Little Rock. He also is M.E. and Ima Graves Peace Emeritus Professor of Politics at Hendrix College. From 2020 through 2022, Barth was the inaugural Chief Education Officer for the City of Little Rock where he coordinated the City’s supports for education from birth through higher education.

A native of central Arkansas, Commissioner Barth attended Hendrix College, graduating in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. He received a master’s degree in 1989 and a doctorate in 1994 in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught at Hendrix College from 1994 until his retirement in 2019.

Commissioner Barth’s academic work includes research on the politics of the South, state government and politics, LGBTQ politics, political communication (particularly radio advertising), and the achievement gap in Arkansas. He is the co-author (with the late Diane D. Blair) of the second edition of Arkansas Politics and Government: Do the People Rule? (University of Nebraska Press, 2005).

In 2007, Commissioner Barth was named Arkansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), in 2014 was named winner of the Southern Political Science Association’s Diane Blair Award for Outstanding Achievement in Politics and Government, and in 2018 received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Arkansas Political Science Association. In 2000-01, Commissioner Barth received the Steiger Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association and served on the staff of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (MN) working on education and civil rights policy.

From 2012 to 2019, Commissioner Barth was a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education serving as chair of the Board for two years. He has chaired the boards of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Just Communities of Arkansas, the ACLU of Arkansas, the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County, Planned Parenthood Great Plains, and the National Association of State Boards of Education.

He lives in downtown Little Rock with his husband Chuck Cliett and is a Little Rock representative on the CAW Board.