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Nicole Shaffer is serving as the Fairview Elementary School Principal. 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. She is also a veteran of the Air Force, having served in the 188th Fighter Wing. Her enthusiasm, positive outlook, instructional background, and student focus are characteristics that we believe will contribute to her success in this new role. 

Clint Gillman is serving as the assistant principal of Sutton Elementary. Most recently he has served as the instructor for the Northside High School Unmanned Aerial Systems program. Prior to that, he spent time as an elementary PE teacher, coach, and high school business teacher. He also served two years in the United States Army. Mr. Gillman’s experience and passion for education make him an exciting addition to the Sutton Elementary administrative team.

Sarah-Jane Mayer is serving as assistant principal of Cook Elementary. Most recently, Ms. Mayer served as assistant principal of Morrison and Trusty Elementary Schools. Additionally, she was a classroom teacher for 12 years. She was selected as Teacher of the Year for the Vallejo City Unified School District in Vallejo, California. Ms. Mayer brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to Cook Elementary and will be an exciting addition to their leadership team.

Shawn Shaffer began his new assignment managing a variety of challenges as the Supervisor of Maintenance and Construction. He has served as a teacher and coach at Darby and Kimmons Junior Highs. He also served in the United States Air Force for 24 years where he oversaw construction projects and budgets and earned nine medals for service and achievement. He has worked as a licensed Master Electrician for more than 20 years and taught electrical training classes at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Michelle Burnett is serving as assistant principal of Euper Lane and Orr Elementary Schools. She has served as both a classroom teacher and counselor in the district and she has been an active Vision 2023 Strategic planning participant as a Wellness action team member. Her commitment to academic success, career awareness, and social and emotional development make her an outstanding addition to both Euper Lane and Orr.

Elizabeth Love, is serving as assistant principal at Trusty and Morrison Elementary Schools. She began her career as an educator in the Fort Smith Schools, teaching first, second, third and fourth grades at Spradling before taking on the role of Title 1 Specialist. She was recently recognized as the 2019 Fort Smith Jaycees Young Educator of the Year.

Ami Griggs is serving as assistant principal at Fairview Elementary School. She is a certified in Literacy by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. She began her career in the Fort Smith Schools as the first-grade teacher at Euper Lane Elementary School where she also taught third grade before she became a Title 1 Specialist at Ballman, Bonneville, Fairview, and Morrison. 

 Lt. Col. Jason Meharg is serving as assistant principal at Chaffin Junior High School. He is well known in for his previous role at Northside High School for building what is widely regarded as the most successful Junior ROTC program in the region. Under his leadership, that student-led program has grown from 140 students to over 370 in three years. He also serves on the district CTE Advisory Board that is working on plans for our new Career and Technology Center. 

Jared Meyers has joined the administrative team at Northside High School as an assistant principal. He comes to Northside from Kimmons Junior High where he served as band director and then assistant principal. He has also served as a facilitator for the Vision 2023 Technology action team and is the Fine Arts Transitions Coordinator for grade realignment. Mr. Meyers is committed to empowering students to develop a viable plan and relevant skillset for academic and personal success beyond high school.

Tammy Chase is serving as assistant principal of Kimmons Junior High. Ms. Chase has worked in the Fort Smith Public Schools for 13 years as a classroom teacher, facilitator, and assistant principal. Most recently, she served as assistant principal for Fairview Elementary. Ms. Chase’s ability to be a compassionate and enthusiastic instructional leader and her experience with Professional Learning Communities makes her a valuable asset to Kimmons Junior High.


Barling Elementary School students Layla Randels, Madison Nixon, Jaxon Waite, and Patsy Graham won first in the state and qualified to compete at the National History Day Competition in Baltimore Maryland. Their team, A Fort of Hope, placed 10th of 101 international teams. The team’s sponsors were Teresa Johnson and Jennifer Shure. Leslie Higgins who is the Education Director for the US Marshals Museum, introduced, promotes and supports this important learning and recognition program district-wide.  

Chaffin Junior High School Quiz Bowl team members, Vivian Apple, Lindsey Garretson, Zain Rana, Jacob Reeder and Jackson Wollscheid won the Chicago National Quiz Bowl Championship in early June. Vivian Apple and Jackson Wollscheid were recognized as co-recipients of the Most Valuable Player. These champions are supported by their parents and their dedicated sponsors Logan Hoopes, Travis Minor.

Northside High School’s production of “Once on This Island” is in the national spotlight. Four students have been recognized for their performance by National Youth Arts Council. Madeleine Newman won the award for her performance as Erzulie. The National Youth Arts Council selection committees, who select winners from videos submitted throughout the nation, were also impressed by Wailon Heuangwilai as Agwe, Abby Hope as Asaka, and Angel Keohacksa as Papa Ge. Their sponsors Robyn Fowler and Katy Featherston directed and supported these students and the rest of the cast in bringing this show to life.

Ballman Elementary School Principal Lori Griffin, was a recipient of the first Rebecca DuFour Scholarship which honors Becky’s legacy for leadership and service in education. This award honored 10 women in the nation for continuing Becky’s vision of improving schools and outcomes for students in their school communities. Lori was the only educator in Arkansas identified for this distinction. Additionally, she is the Fort Smith Association of Educational Office Professionals 2019 Educational Administrator of the Year.

Gordon Manleywho is the Northside High School Director of Bands was recently recognized as the 2019 Arkansas Bandmaster of the Year by the Arkansas Bandmasters Association. You may remember that Gordon, who is beginning his 34 year as a band director in Arkansas, was honored nationally last year as a John Phillips Sousa Laureate, and with this latest state-wide designation, he joins a distinguished line of other Fort Smith band directors including Audra Cowan, Stan Cate, Richard Peer, Prissy Buchanan, Mike Croom, Duane Walker and John Combs.

Dejah Stephens, who is a 5th/6th grade teacher at Orr Elementary School, was nominated and named the Fort Smith Public Schools Teacher of the Year in the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Program and as one of 15 regional finalists. Dejah was recognized by Governor Asa Hutchinson in early August. She is certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in English Language Arts/Early Adolescence.

Dr. Kelley Todd, Southside High School Business Teacher, was honored at the 2019 Arkansas Association of Career and Technical Educators as the organization’s Teacher of the Year. Dr. Todd, who earned a Doctorate of Education in Human Resource and Workforce Development from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 2015, is highlighted in comments made by Southside Graduate John Freeny in the video that is posted on our website.

Kathy Ewing who teaches 9th-12th grade Language Arts, Oral Communications, and Journalism at Belle Point: A New Tech Academy was selected as the Arkansas Association of Alternative Educators 2019 Teacher of the Year. She has discussed her experience as an alternative educator at this organization’s state conference and at the New Tech conference. She was nominated by former colleague Melissa Trangmar.

Southside High School was one of only 1,722 public high schools in the United States selected for the 2019 Great Schools College Success Award by Great! These awards recognize and celebrate public schools that are doing an outstanding job of preparing graduating seniors for postsecondary success.