Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley resigns

Will stay on in current role until August 3

By Kate Northrop

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As of August 3, 2020, Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley will be moving on from the Lottery to “pursue other opportunities.”

In an email sent on Monday, Woosley notified Larry Walther, the Secretary for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, that he would be resigning. According to Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the department, the resignation was completely voluntary.

“It has been an absolute pleasure working with you over the past several years and I appreciate you allowing me to serve in this capacity,” Woosley wrote.

On Tuesday, Walther announced that Woosley would be resigning.

“Since the lottery launched in 2009, Bishop has played a critical role in its success, overseeing a record amount of scholarships for Arkansas students,” Walther stated in a press release. “I appreciate his leadership and wish him all the best as he moves forward in his career.”

Woosley first joined the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery in 2009 as the Procurement Director and later added on the responsibilities of the Chief Legal Counsel to his role. In February 2012, he was promoted to Director following the tenure of Ernie Passailaigue, who served in the role until October 2011.

During Woosley’s time as the Director, the lottery saw record sales. The lottery reported $519.2 million in revenue in 2019, an increase of about $16 million from 2018. Following the end of the 2020 fiscal year on June 30, the lottery reported an even greater figure, bringing in $532 million despite the nationwide shake-up wrought by the pandemic beginning in March. This year, the lottery raised $89.4 million for college scholarships.

Although Woosley had said in an interview that he doesn’t have any plans at this point for his next job, he was elected Secretary of Board for the Multi-State Lottery Association for the 2021 fiscal year alongside Sarah Taylor, who was elected the board’s President.

Upon his resignation effective August 3, Michael Helms, the current Chief Legal Counsel of the Lottery, will act as the interim Director. As of now, it is not clear when or whether there will be a national search for a new Director.

“I want to thank the wonderful staff at the lottery for 11 great years,” Woosley said. “I am proud of what we accomplished, and I firmly believe they will continue to do great things for the students in Arkansas.”

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