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FSPS New Assignments

By, Dr. Doug Brubaker, Superintendent

You may remember that when we announced Mr. Mahan’s and Ms. Penix’s new assignments in late February, I shared that additional fine-tuning of our organizational structure would likely accompany these changes. On July 1, several pending promotions will take effect. This is a great opportunity to review these upcoming changes, make a few other exciting announcements, and update you about openings that will be posted over the next several days.

Marty Mahan begins his new assignment as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Marty has distinguished himself as an exceptional leader and innovator in every assignment that he has held in our district. Prior to his appointment as the Director of Secondary Instruction, he served as a campus leader at Kimmons Junior High and Northside High School. He expanded his skill set as the Executive Director for Human Resources in 2017 and took on further responsibilities as the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Campus Support in 2018. Marty's extensive experience in implementing career tech and concurrent credit programs will be very valuable to our district as we open the new Career and Technology Center and transition to a K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 configuration. The enhanced understanding that Marty has developed about staffing during his two years in HR will also be invaluable in his new role. 

Sherri Penix begins her new role as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Campus Support. She has distinguished herself as a positive and effective leader in our district throughout the course of her career. Prior to her appointment to a leadership role in the HR division in 2016, she served as the principal of Spradling Elementary for four years. This was followed by a 15-year tenure as the principal of Euper Lane Elementary. Under Sherri's leadership, Euper Lane earned recognition as a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School. More recently, Sherri has played a key role in enhancing teacher recruitment efforts, expanding teacher representation through the implementation of our PPC, and enhancing relationships with our community through initiatives such as the Ambassador Tour.

Gary Udouj begins his new assignment as the District’s first Director of Career Education and District Innovation. Gary has served as director of the FSPS Adult Education Center since 2008. He is a Fort Smith native and Southside High School graduate. He earned a doctoral degree in adult learning and lifelong learning, a master’s degree in adult education, and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Arkansas. In 2015, he was named the Outstanding Adult Education Administrator by the Arkansas Association of Continuing and Adult Education. We are thrilled that Dr. Udouj will help to connect students to opportunity in this new position. 

Vance Gregory is the District’s first Executive Director of Technology. Aligned with the recommendations of a recent peer review by the Consortium on School Networking (CoSN - the professional association for school technology leaders), the overall technology leadership role has been elevated to Executive Council. Vance has served as our director of technology for eleven years. He was among the very first technology specialists hired by the district. He has an MA and BA in Business Administration from John Brown University. 

Dr. Darren McKinney begins a new assignment as the District’s first Director of Technology Operations. This role has been added to the Technology Department as a result of the CoSN review noted above. He will oversee day-to-day functions such as technology project management, infrastructure uptime, and user support as well as take leading responsibilities for this year’s 10-12 Chromebook deployment. Darren’s practical experience, pragmatic leadership style and expertise with technology in the education landscape make him a great addition to our Information Technology team. Dr. McKinney began his career with the Fort Smith Public Schools as a science teacher at Kimmons Junior High School. He has served as assistant principal and principal at Darby Junior High School and most recently as the Director of Athletics and Student Activities.

Dr. Chris Davis begins a new assignment as the District’s Supervisor of Human Resources. Chris has a strong understanding of how the HR team can contribute to the accomplishment of the Vision 2023 Career Planning, Equity, Staffing, and Technology goals. His involvement in development of our strategic plan as a leader of the Career Planning team, his experience as a building principal in another district, and his service as an assistant principal at Northside High School have prepared him to guide and build capacity in educators at all levels. Dr. Davis began his career as a band director and music educator in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He has earned BA and MA degrees in music education and educational leadership at Arkansas Tech University (ATU) and Arkansas State University. He recently completed his Doctor of Education in School Leadership at ATU.  

Nicole Shaffer officially begins her new role as principal of Fairview Elementary School on July 10. Mrs. Shaffer's leadership experience includes four years as the assistant principal of Woods and Barling Elementary Schools and two years as the assistant principal of Cook Elementary School. Her educational accomplishments include a BA of Science in Education from Arkansas Tech, a MA in Education from the University of Arkansas, and a MA in Educational Leadership from Arkansas Tech. She is also a veteran of the Air Force, having served in the 188th Fighter Wing. Nicole's enthusiasm, positive outlook, instructional background, and student focus are characteristics that we believe will contribute to her success in this new role. 

These appointments have created some new opportunities. In the near future, you will see postings for positions such as Director of Adult Education, Director of Athletics and Student Activities, and assistant principal. We will keep you informed as those hiring processes unfold.