The Cathy Williams Partner of the Year Award was established in 2011 recognizing the leadership that Cathy Williams contributed as Partners in Education Program Director from 1998-2011. The award honors an individual who demonstrates long-term and consistent support to a school through the PIE program.
Cathy Williams Partner of the Year Award Winners
Brea Frantz, Trane
Brea Frantz is seen as a leader within the Chaffin Partners in Education team. This school year she has helped organize and arrange student incentive gifts for attendance and testing, welcome back gifts for teachers, Student of the Month luncheons, food for the Edge and GEMS mentoring programs, Career Orientation field trips and lunches, and prizes for classroom projects. She is a key adult mentor in the GEMS program and has worked hard to recruit new adults to be a part of the program. She also provided students with gym clothes and te shoes so they could dress out for PE, notebooks to stay organized in classes, and recently arranged for a student to get a new pair of glasses because his were broken. Mrs. Franz is always willing to offer her assistance whenever and however it is need at Chaffin.
David Israel volunteers at Howard Elementary School every single day. He attends every Partners in Education meeting, helps with school events and projects, works with Chess Club students, assists with after-school dismissal and pick-up, and mentors an at-risk student at Howard. Just this year he clocked 142 volunteer hours at Howard, and additional hours through the district in his efforts to establish Chess Clubs in every elementary school. He has been helping Howard for the past 20 years.
Randy Todhunter, ArcBest Corporation
Randy Todhunter has volunteered at Northside High School, Howard Elementary and Trusty Elementary. He facilitated the expansion of Trusty’s Pen Pal program—which was originally confined to one classroom—to include all sixth graders. In addition, Randy helped establish a mentoring program at Trusty. Mr. Todhunter and nine other ArcBest employees have provided ten needy students with positive roles model that care for their well-being. As a result, discipline incidences have been reduced, and the students have been supported with hope, direction and a foundation for success. This is just a snapshot of what Randy has been doing for many years. It is our hope that he will continue working in our schools to the benefit of FSPS students.
Sherry Sims, Rheem
Sherry Sims has secured yearly funding and volunteers from Rheem to make events at Orr Elementary possible. More importantly, Sherry has helped with the development of Orr’s mentoring program. She currently mentors Sherry is not only involved in Partners in Education, but also participates in numerous organizations such as WAHRA, Girls Inc. Board of directors, and Fort Smith Rotary Club—among many others. Sherry’s influence is wide reaching and she is hard to refuse because she will not ask for anything that she is not willing to do herself.
Rham Cunningham, The Richland Group
Described as an “idea man” or in one word, “amazing,” Rham Cunningham was selected as the recipient of the Cathy Williams Partner of the Year Award. He is one of the original two mentors at the start of Spradling Elementary’s SOAR Project and has volunteered much of his time and effort toward the school’s students. As a mentor, Rham is a shining example of what a positive adult relationship can mean to a child.
Tim Bailey, Candy Craze
Tim was nominated for the Cathy Williams award because of his impact and commitment to the students at his Partner school, Chaffin Junior High. Since his business, Candy Craze, partnered with Chaffin in 2010, Tim has contributed both his time and resources, helping to recognize students for their various achievements. He has also volunteered many hours as a mentor in "The Edge" program, which seeks to provide good male role models for seventh and eighth grade boys in need of accountability.
Keith Cummings, Gerber
Keith has been a volunteer for PIE for more than ten years through his employer, Gerber. Keith attends all Partners meetings, organizes events and celebrations and assumes many other responsibilities to help assist the students and faculty at Howard Elementary School. He is well-known to the students and teachers as "Mr. Keith" and plays an active role in many of their lives. He makes it his mission to keep kids in school and to help them understand that actions have consequences. Keith has also served on the PIE Advisory Board and helps organize the annual PIE Food Drive benefitting the Community Services Clearinghouse.
Dana Craig, OG&E
Dana Craig was the winner of the inaugural Cathy Williams Partner of the Year Award. Best known as "Ms. OG&E," Dana has been a fixture at Cavanaugh Elementary School and in the Partners in Education program for more than 20 years. Through her employer, OG&E, she has been instrumental in coordinating PIE activities for Cavanaugh and in supporting the teachers, staff and students at the school. Dana has also served as both a member and as the Chairperson of the PIE Advisory Board.