The Van Buren County Special School was established in 1974 by a group of concerned citizens who saw a need for special education services for the disabled citizens of Van Buren County. The Van Buren County Special School has now been in operation for 40 years and serves over 150 consumers per year.

VBC Special School-Lakeside Learning Center

The center was formed in Shirley, Arkansas by statewide legislation creating funding opportunities for counties to start non-profit organizations serving their disabled and developmentally delayed populations. The Van Buren County Special School was moved to its current location at Choctaw in 1977 following a one year reconstruction of the old Choctaw school building which was built in 1926. Buck Kidd, Ralph Kidd and Dick Stephens were made trustees of the old Choctaw school through heirs of the property all the way back to Mr. Lynn Kidd. As trustees, they offered the grounds and facility to the Van Buren County Special School for future use as long as it continued as a center serving the community. Mrs. Raye Jean Linn was the first Director hired and served from 1974 to 1977 in the Shirley location. Kathy Trent was hired to direct at the new center in Choctaw in 1977 and was succeeded by George Curran, Beverly Jharman, Glen Hackett and Dr. Isa Ludy who held different positions from 1978 to 1991. Current director Neil Wilkins, Jr. took over in the spring of 1991.

The center’s first board of directors who developed the center were; Willard H. Stark, President, Glen Hackett, Vice President, Loreda Ellis, Secretary, Rev. E. A. Pipkins, Dr. Paul Read, Jim Burnett, Hazel Carrell, Opal Kidd and Denver Pickett. Mrs. Pickett and Mrs. Kidd are current board members and have a combined board service of over sixty years as parents of children who have attended the center.


Our Mission is to provide adults and children who are eligible, independent instruction, with state certified teachers and trained staff in a richly structured learning environment. Our goal is to help them reach their potential and move on to other more independent and challenging opportunities.


Day Treatment, Work Activity with “Thrift, Gifts & More,” Community Integration, Medicaid Waiver, Fitness, Special Olympics, Meals & Transportation.

Read more: VBC Special School


Provided through Lakeside Learning Center. Evaluation, Service Coordination, Early Intervention, Developmental Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Community Integration and Referral Services.

Read more: Lakeside Learning Center