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August 2018 Board of Education Recognitions

Board of Education Recognitions
August 27, 2018


Northside & Southside High School Art
A mural celebrating the Fort Smith Bicentennial is hanging in the Service Center Auditorium. It is a collaborative project designed and completed by Northside and Southside High School art teachers and their students, and is their visual arts contribution to the community’s 200th birthday. The piece was displayed at the District’s Arts&Sounds event in May and will hang in the auditorium through this year. Our thanks to David King, LaDawna Dillman, Amy Fairfield, Lee Young, Cassandra Owens and Susan Allison for their leadership and their students for this beautiful work.

Robyn Dawson - Robyn Dawson, principal of Spradling Elementary School was recognized at the Summer Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators Conference with the 2018 Arkansas Association of Elementary School Principals’ “Above and Beyond Award.” The award is given honoring the memory of Newtown Connecticut Elementary School principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and recognizes “over-and-above” service to students. This year, Robyn used personal resources to put a food truck and near Spradling and paid for students to eat lunch between the end of the Summer Meals Program and the beginning of school. When she began this project, she paid for the food herself. Now community members and a local church fund the food and volunteers run the program during school breaks.

Cindy Dean teaches English at Ramsey Junior High School and was recognized by Governor Asa Hutchinson for her dedication to the AR Declaration of Learning program. Dean was one of 26 educators to participate in the program for the third year. The program uses historic art and objects from state and national museums to develop lesson plans centered around civic engagement. The Declaration of Learning program was formed in 2013 as part of an inter-agency educational initiative with representatives from 13 national organizations. Arkansas is the first state to participate in the program.

Oretha Ferguson teaches Pre-AP English at Southside High School and is the co-author of The Classroom Management Book with Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong. She received the 2018 Arkansas Society for Technology in Education Leadership Award. It is “an internationally recognized awards program for educators in the field of educational technology integration in K–12 schools. The program identifies and rewards educational technology leaders around the world for their commitment and innovation.

Northside High School Director of Bands Gordon Manley has been named as a 2018 laureate of the John Philip Sousa Foundation by the Bandworld Legion of Honor. Recipients have served as directors for 15 years or more and have maintained a very high-quality concert band program throughout their careers. These laureates have also contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music. Mr. Manley is a 32-year veteran music educator, and has been teaching band students at Kimmons and Northside daily for the last quarter century and at Kimmons, Northside, and Darby daily for the past 20 years.


2018 Administrative Appointments

Mary Bellah is the District’s Supervisor of Special Programs. Ms. Bellah has 20 years in educational leadership experience and 30 years of experience in PK-12 education. She was most recently the assistant principal for Howard and Spradling Elementary Schools.


Travis Biggs is the Supervisor of Maintenance and Construction. Biggs has most recently served as an assistant principal at Southside High School. His new role will enable the District to ensure that the Buildings and Grounds Department continues to provide exceptional customer service to all of our schools and the 14,500+ students that they serve as the District also begins the implementation phase of the Millage 2018 Plan.


Marna Boltuc is the assistant principal at Woods and Barling Elementary Schools. Ms. Boltuc was a principal out of the district for eight years and most recently served as a Math Instructional Facilitator at Spradling and Woods Elementary Schools. She has been active in the Arkansas Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Pilot Project at Spradling Elementary School and is a candidate for National Board Certification.


Dana Booth is the assistant principal at Spradling Elementary School. Prior to this assignment, she was an instructional facilitator assigned to Spradling. Ms. Booth has had a variety of leadership roles within the school including Principal Designee, Mentor Teacher, ACSIP Program Manager, SIOP and Kagan. She serves on the Professional Learning Community (PLC) Pilot Leadership Team and contributes to the life of the school as an after school tutoring coordinator and the Spradling PTA vice President.


Dawn Childress is the principal at Raymond F. Orr Elementary School. This past year she served as assistant principal at Barling and Woods Elementary Schools. At Barling Elementary, she played a key role in its designation as an "Arkansas A+ School" and served on the implementation team of the Senior/Ambassador Tours that were initiated as part of the District’s expanded community outreach efforts. She models a student-centered philosophy, instructional focus, understanding of how to use data to increase student achievement, positive outlook and professional temperament. She is scheduled to complete her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville in 2019.


Jimmy W. Cook is the assistant principal at Tilles Elementary School. Mr. Cook has taught in County Line, Greenwood, and for the past five years was a Fort Smith Public Schools instructional facilitator focused on mathematics.


Laura Gladden is the assistant principal at Bonneville and Ballman Elementary Schools. Ms. Gladden has served as an instructional facilitator for the past six years focusing this year on the Arkansas PLC Pilot Project at Ballman.


Tony Jones is the Director of Belle Point New Tech Academy. Jones has most recently coordinated the use of data to inform instruction as the School Improvement Specialist/Assistant Principal at Northside High School. At Belle Point he is committed to continuing the school improvement process and ensuring that all kids experience authentic success. He is projected to complete a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Arkansas Tech University in 2019.


Hillary Key is the assistant principal at Beard and Cavanaugh Elementary Schools. Ms. Key has taught 4th and 5th grades at Trusty and Euper Lane Elementary Schools for more than a decade. She is no stranger to leadership roles as a Lead Teacher, a Mentor Teacher, a FSPS New Teacher Induction presenter before her appointment as an assistant principal and has completed the Professional Learning Communities at Work Institute.


Martin Mahan has been promoted to Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Campus Support. Mr. Mahan served as the Executive Director of Human Resources this past year and has accepted wider scope of responsibilities with District Technology and Student Achievement and Accountability. Mr. Mahan has previously served as principal at Kimmons Junior High and Northside High Schools and the district’s Director of Secondary Education. Mr. Mahan is an outstanding and thoughtful leader and brings a wealth of diverse educational experience to his present and these expanded duties.


Sarah Jane Mayer is the assistant principal at Trusty and Morrison Elementary Schools. She taught in a variety of places in the early part of her educational career having received her education credential through the Arkansas Non-Traditional Licensure Credential Program. Prior to her return to Arkansas and Fort Smith as a teacher at Woods Elementary School, Ms. Mayer taught in Bitburg, Germany and served as a K-5 Teacher Leader in Vallejo, CA.


Lisa Miller is the principal of Southside High School. Most recently she has served as the Principal of the Freshman Academy in Van Buren School District since 2010, is the first secondary principal in Arkansas to earn the prestigious designation of Master Principal, and is projected to complete her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Arkansas Tech University in 2020. She brings experience using data and collaborative processes to increase student achievement, working with others to develop a student-centered school culture, and contributing to the success of capital improvement projects. Ms. Miller started her career in education in Fort Smith Public Schools, teaching at Kimmons and Ramsey Junior High Schools.


Jennifer Prado is the new assistant principal at Ramsey Junior High. She joins the Ramsey instructional team having most recently served as a Secondary Curriculum Coach at Van Buren High School. In this role, she facilitated professional development, analyzed data and worked with the Van Buren High School instructional team on improving instruction. She also served as assistant director for the Van Buren New Tech Academy from 2012-2016.


Jeff Prewitt is the new assistant principal at Southside High School. He is an 18-year veteran educator with 17 of those years with Fort Smith Public Schools. He has been an assistant principal at Ramsey for three years. Prior to that he was the Ramsey Head Football and Track Coach.


Lori Yates is the Supervisor of Information Services. This department is responsible for maintaining student data, compiling reports, and managing the uploads that are used to provision student accounts in all of our electronic resources. Lori has worked in the Fort Smith Schools Information Services department since 2005. In 2002, Lori earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree from Arkansas Tech University. Several years later, she earned her Master of Science in Information Technology degree from Capella University.