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Students and Staff Shine at March Board Meeting

March 29, 2021 Board of Education Meeting Recognitions


Superintendent's Star Students

Thiago Barroso was nominated by his teacher Kimberly Bennett and Sunnymede Principal Krystle Smith because he always celebrates his peer’s successes. Thiago is the son of Johanna and Francisco Barroso.

Morrison Elementary teacher Amber Clarke and Principal Britney Watson nominated Marco Castro Zamorano because he always helps others in and out of the classroom. Marco is the son of Maria Paroma and Marco Castro.

Kaydrianna Chairs was nominated by her teacher Sydney McCain and Ballman Principal Lori Griffin because she works hard and has improved 14 reading levels since school began. Kaydrianna is the daughter of Tiffany Caldwell.

Beard Teacher Jessica Scantling and Principal Pam Siebenmorgen nominated J.C. Collier because J.C. starts each day by opening doors for his peers and always has a smile on his face. J.C. is the son of James and Bobbie Collier. 

Carnall Elementary Principal Dr. Taneka Tate and Teacher Tonya Peters nominated Maverick Davis because Maverick sets the standard for being safe, respectful and responsible in the classroom. Maverick is the son of Monica Smith. 

Barling Teacher Amy Gordon with Principal Carl Hill nominated Loren Foster because she makes sure everyone in her class feels included and consistently displays a positive attitude. Loren is the daughter of Denise Rambo and Ian Foster.

Trusty Teachers Joseph Cope and Elizabeth Brown with Dr. Shantelle Edwards, nominated Deleiny Garcia because she is a dedicated student who always gives her best effort. Deleiny is the daughter of Maria Morales and Jose Garcia.

Chase Legaria was nominated by his teacher Joanie Bahsoon and Sutton Principal Jennie Mathews because he shows great leadership and works hard. Chase is the son of Fernando and Melissa Legaria.

Sofia Manriquez was nominated by her Teacher Jennifer Howald and Cook Principal Marna Boltuc because she works hard and is constantly proactive in helping her classmates and teacher. Sofia is the daughter of Lisa and Juan Manriquez.

Tilles Teacher Katherine Ray and Principal Sonia Guerrero nominated Yessica Mares because she is a great friend and an even better student. Yessica is the daughter of Maria Sanches and Armando Mares.

Rorry Marrow was nominated by his teacher Billie Barrie and Woods Elementary Principal Andrea Schwartz because Rorry is kind, respectful and never hesitates to help his classmates. Rorry is the son of Yelizaveta Zhugina. 

Bonneville Elementary Teacher Hayli Brown and Principal Sharla Whitson nominated Hagen Oden because he is a leader and a fantastic role model for his peers. Hagen is the son of Ashley and Rodney Oden.

Howard Principal Velmar Greene and Teacher Sharon Brown nominated Giovani Ortiz Vasquez because he never gives up and always makes it a point to compliment those around him. Giovani is the son of Natalia Vasquez and Gil Ortiz.

Euper Lane Elementary Teacher April Clark and Principal Gina Mann nominated Carlie Russell because she never gives up when a problem gets hard and she always tries her best. Carlie is the daughter of James and Rachel Russell.

Kaitlin Swaim was nominated by her teacher Carolyn Risley and Fairview Principal Nicole Shaffer because Kaitlin goes above and beyond without being prompted. Kaitlin is the daughter of Christian and Kimberly Swaim. 

Bella Thornburg was nominated by Cavanaugh Teacher Donna Morse and Principal Hank Needham because she always demonstrates academic and behavioral excellence. Bella is the daughter of Christian and Wendy Thornburg.

Orr Principal Dr. Dawn Childress and Teacher Dejah Stephens nominated Montgomery Wiley because he is always willing to go an extra step to make Orr a great place to work and learn. Montgomery is the son of Jodi and Christian Wiley.

Students and Staff Recognitions


This year, more than 50 students earned positions in All-State Music groups. Two of these students earned the top seats in their divisions.

Jazz Band
Pablo Cortez, Northside High School, earned the first chair Trombone seat in the All-State Jazz Band

Kevin Willis, Northside High School, earned the first chair Tenor 1 seat in the All-State SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) Choir. 

Please take a moment to skim through this great list of additional all-state musicians.  

The Ramsey Junior High Gold Team consisting of Vincente Otero, Dipa Patel, Samuel Pritchard, Jackson Austin, Tzideny (Zie-den-ee) Romero, Shane Nguyen, Elijah Friery, managed by Natalie Tucker and Minni Khotsphom (Cots-fahm), and sponsored by Amanda Allen, won the Arkansas Governor’s Quiz Bowl Invitational held virtually on February 9. There were 11 teams competing in the tournament and the total scores from four matches were used to determine the ranking. The Ramsey Junior High Gold Team averaged 550 points per game, making their final score a total of 2200 points. Team member Sam Pritchard was named MVP of the tournament and he, along with Dipa Patel and Vincente Otero made the All-Star Team. 


Four students from Fort Smith Public Schools have been named 2021 National Merit Scholarship Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Jackson Hannan, Jackson Minnick, and Haris Rana, all seniors at Southside High School and Jaicie Clayton, Southside class of 2020 are finalists who will be considered for National Merit Scholarship awards to be offered in 2021. There were approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors. Clayton, Hannan, Minnick and Rana will continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million, earning the Merit Scholar® title.


The Northside High School Grizzly Battalion recently completed their JROTC Program Accreditation (JPA) inspection and received a 97/100. This superior score earns the team the Honor Unit with Distinction award and provides for an additional gold star uniform decoration for cadet battalion. 


Southside High School student Andrew Stephens won the 6A State Bowling Championship with a three-game total score of 657. Stephens is excited to defend his title next year and is determined to help give the Mavericks a team title. Congratulations, Andrew!


March 5 was a state championship day for two FSPS student wrestlers. Southside High School’s Ti Lockwood took first place in the 152 lb weight class, and Northside High School’s Damarius Medlock won first place in the 220 lb weight class during the Arkansas State Wrestling Tournament.


The Northside High School Lady Bears have done it again! They faced off against the Fayetteville High School Lady Bulldogs during 6A State Championship play on Thursday March 18. The Northside Lady Bears won in double overtime, 52-51.  This is their eighth state championship title under Coach Rickey Smith. 6’2” senior forward Tracey Bershers scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds earning the game’s MVP. 


Four Southside High School students have received the 2021 Aspirations in Computing Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Caroline Keck, Arkansas Winner and National Certificate of Distinction, Ethne Hester, National Certificate of Distinction, Makayla Cobb, Arkansas Winner, and Sierra Baskin, National Certificate of Distinction. The Award recognizes 9th-12th grade students for computing-related achievements and interests. Award winners are selected based on their aptitude and interest in IT and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Caroline, Ethne, Makayla, and Sierra join more than 17,000 other award winners named since 2007.


Southside High School AP Chemistry teacher Jeffrey Rice has been recognized with the 2021 Distinguished High School Mentor Award from the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas. The Distinguished High School Mentor Award is presented to recognize outstanding high school mentors who have consistently motivated their students to strive for higher achievement. Recipients of this award are nominated by students currently enrolled in Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Kaida Sheets, Katie Settle and Barrett Weidman, three chemical engineering students and former Southside Mavericks nominated Mr. Rice. In recognition of this honor, the Arkansas Academy of Chemical Engineers is making a $1,000 donation to Southside High School for use in Mr. Rice’s classroom activities. Congratulations!


Dr. Kathleen Dorn, Director of Adult Education, applied and was selected to participate in the new State Advocates for Adult Education Fellowship. This program builds upon the Coalition on Adult Basic Education’s national Adult Education advocacy work. SAAEF Fellows, like Dorn, will help to ensure each state is represented by a team of innovative and effective advocates. In her role, Dr. Dorn will lead a team to meet with the governor and members of congress. 


Spradling Elementary School has earned the Highly Effective Schools Accreditation from Solution Tree. Spradling is the second school in Arkansas to receive designation. It is a significant achievement that reflects Spradling’s commitment to reaching and maintaining the highest levels of educational quality. The Spradling Learning Team is maintaining and growing identified areas that have the greatest impact on student success. These are directly aligned to the Professional Learning Communities at Work® (PLC) process and the High-Reliability Schools™ (HRS) framework.