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Top Volunteers Invest Thousands of Hours in Student Success

Fort Smith Public Schools (FSPS) Top Volunteers logged more than 5,000 hours in district schools in 2023-2024. These “top volunteers” are Partners in Education, parents, grandparents and community members who invest 50 or more volunteer hours in one or more schools. They are outstanding representatives of many more who invest in FSPS Student Success in countless ways. FSPS Partners in Education recognized these and other outstanding community servants at the 2024 Partners in Education Luncheon on June 8.

In cooperation with the Points of Lights Foundation and Americorps, First National Bank President Sam T. Sicard received the Presidents’ Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteer Service for his investment of 4,245 volunteer hours since 2010. This award recognizes his advocacy for children and young people through the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club, the Fort Smith Public Schools, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, the Arkansas Division of Higher Education, the Fort Smith Area United Way, the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the “Step Up Speak Out” initiative.]

The Fort Smith Symphony was recognized with the Partners’ See.Think.Build Award for their work with their Symphony in the Schools program for 2nd-5th Graders. 

Symphony in the Schools began in 1997 and has grown to include Kool Cats, Bluegrass Live and EarQuake. All totaled these initiatives represent more than 61,000 individual experiences with live music, as well as an investment of more than $1.2 million dollars in education programming alone. The Symphony is committed to making sure that all FSPS’ youngest students can experience the excitement and beauty of live music.  

Partners In Education Awards included the Norma Shaffer Elementary Partnership of the Year Awards awarded to Rheem for its contributions to Orr Elementary School. Rheem provides a long list of diverse incentives and for the one-to-one connections built with students and staff including mentors and experiences designed to teach Orr students about the community. In 2023-2024, Rheem matched grant funds for the All Kids Bike program so that kindergarten students can learn how to ride bicycles for years to come, and planted trees on the Orr campus.

The Norma Shaffer Secondary Partnership of the Year was awarded to the Greater Fort Smith Home Builders Association with Peak Innovation Center and the Fort Smith Adult Education Center

The Greater Fort Smith Home Builders Association worked tirelessly with Peak Innovation Center and Adult Education to revive the Residential Construction Apprenticeship Program. This skill-focused group for adults now meets two nights a week at Peak. The Home Builders Association is  also working with high school students as they speak to classes, organize field trips to construction sites and connect students with jobs after high school. They recently hosted a "Ladies Night in the Shop" at Peak which encourages women to consider a career in the trades. They helped sponsor a "Sleep in Heavenly Peace" build at Peak, at which FSPS students and Home Builders Association volunteers constructed 30 beds for children in need. 

Greg Jensen, Propak, was recognized with the Cathy Williams Partner of the Year  for his work with Tilles Elementary School. Mr. Jensen has volunteered at Tilles Elementary School for four years. This year initiated a reading group that he has sustained throughout the school year. He has devoted his time to students by reading to them, mentoring students, and assisting with the All for Kids Bike program and more. Mr. Jensen has become a consistent presence in the lives of so many children who have little consistency, and he uses his experience to encourage students to become readers regardless of reading difficulties.  

The 2024 Bud Jackson Teamwork Award was presented to Brown Hiller and Clark (BHC), Harry Robinson Automotive Group, Candy Craze with Chaffin Middle School Staff, Students, Parents with 7Brew, Central Christian Church and Grand Avenue Baptist Church. Chaffin Principal Todd Marshell said, “The best way to describe this exceptional team is committed and invested.  They work collaboratively and collectively to support Chaffin's mission to "inspire student success through innovative instruction in a culture of high expectations and personal character."  They enable Chaffin to reward and recognize students for those things we value:  Character, Academics, Teamwork, and Success.”  

Individual Volunteer Service Honors

In addition to District recognition, volunteers who invested 100 hours or more qualify for the national President’s Award for Volunteer Service presented through Points of Light Foundation. 

Amy Wisley, Carnall Elementary School volunteer, earned Gold Award recognition with more than 800 hours of service. 

Kaitlyn Jones, Howard Elementary School and Anita Stroh, Sutton Elementary School received the Silver Award for more than 250 hours of service each. 

These volunteers earned the President’s Volunteer Service Bronze Award for 100+ hours of volunteer service. 

  • Missy Bittle, Euper Lane Elementary
  • Michelle Bright, Fairview Elementary 
  • Sara Fink, Woods Elementary & Chaffin Middle School
  • Danilla Gasparotto, Trusty Elementary
  • Megan Hammer, Woods Elementary 
  • Linda Harper, Fairview Elementary
  • Sara Havard, Ballman Elementary
  • Nancy Koger, Barling Elementary 
  • Steve Martinez, Howard Elementary 
  • Janna Scheible, Howard Elementary 
  • Shea Tackett, Barling Elementary & Fort Smith Public Schools
  • Andrea Terrell, Fairview Elementary
  • Amber Waite, Fairview Elementary

Fort Smith Public Schools recognized these volunteers who logged 75+ Volunteer Hours

  • Amy Daffron - Albert, Chaffin Middle School
  • Ashley DeLaet, Orr Elementary & Fort Smith Public Schools
  • Vicki Ellison, Spradling Elementary
  • Rosemary Geren, Woods Elementary
  • Jana Green, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Martha Jackson, Euper Lane Elementary 
  • Greg Jensen, Tilles Elementary 
  • Delana King, Spradling Elementary
  • Samantha Kirk, Fairview Elementary 
  • Vincent Losole, Woods Elementary 
  • Susan Rose, Ballman Elementary
  • Sherry Sims, Orr Elementary & Fort Smith Public Schools
  • Amber Smith, Woods Elementary

These individuals invested 50 or more hours on behalf of FSPS students. 

  • Bill Alspach, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Janet Alspach, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Jimmy Binns, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Deborah Byerly, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Larry Byerly, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Carly Fimple, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Grace Fletcher, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Kathy Glidewell, Spradling Elementary
  • Betty Hale, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Melissa Sanders, Woods Elementary
  • Deidra Howerton, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Roberta Hutchinson, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Barbara Kennedy, Fairview Elementary 
  • Martha Oldham, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Omar Portillo, Southside High School & Fort Smith Public Schools
  • Katy Prater, Woods Elementary
  • Diane Titsworth, Cavanaugh Elementary
  • Janet Weindel, Barling Elementary
  • Jennifer Williams, Chaffin Middle School
  • Steve Young, Cavanaugh Elementary

Student Recognition

Although the student criteria is a little different, 23 FSPS students qualified for Gold-level recognition through the Points of Light Foundation. 25 students qualified for the Silver-level recognition, and 65 students qualified for a Bronze-level recognition.

The Partners Luncheon is sponsored in part by the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. Platinum sponsors: Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus, Gerdau, Harry Robinson, Springwoods Behavioral Health, Valley Behavioral Health System, Gold Sponsors: Action Mechanical, Inc., ArcBest, Arkansas Valley & Electric Cooperative, Wave Rural Connect, Carman, Inc. Centennial Bank, Gerber, River Valley Democrat Gazette, Westark Plumbing, Silver Sponsors: Candy Craze, First Western, Rheem Manufacturing, Simmons Bank, Weldon, Williams & Lick, Inc.