Fort Smith School District fills several admin positions

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 778 views 

In a little over a week Fort Smith Public Schools has filled several key administrative positions in preparation for the upcoming school year.

On June 28, FSPS accepted the resignation of Dr. Lisa Miller, Southside High School principal. Miller has served as the school’s head administrator for three years, succeeding long-time principal Wayne Haver. Miller’s resignation came on the heels of various retirements and promotions that left vacancies in several key positions throughout the district. Thursday (July 9) the district announced many of those positions have now been filled.

Dr. Tony Jones will serve as the director of secondary education for Fort Smith Public Schools, a position left open when Dr. Ginni McDonald, former director of secondary education, was selected as the executive director of strategic initiatives and professional learning. Jones has served as principal at Belle Point Center since 2018. Prior to his appointment at Belle Point, he was an assistant principal at Northside High School and assistant principal at Kimmons Junior High School. He began his career as an educator at Northside High School, a district news release said.

Jones, a graduate of Northside High School, has a doctor of education degree in educational leadership and a master’s degree in education leadership from Arkansas Tech University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology education from Berea College in Kentucky.

“I am humbled to serve as the director of secondary education. I look forward to supporting each secondary campus in reaching higher levels of excellence,” Jones said.

Jennifer Steele has been named the assistant director of athletics and activities, working under the direction of Michael Beaumont, director of athletics and student activities. Steele has served as assistant principal at Northside High School since 2013. Prior to her appointment at Northside, she was the director of bands at Chaffin Junior High School, the news release said. Steele has a bachelor’s degree music education from Georgia Southern University, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and an educational specialist degree in education leadership from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

The district also has three new elementary principals. Laura Gladden will be the principal of Ballman Elementary School. Former principal Lori Griffin was recently named the director of elementary education, filling a vacancy left when Dr. Mary Ann Johns’ retired at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Gladden was assistant principal at Ballman and Bonneville Elementary School beginning in 2018.

Prior to her appointment at Ballman and Bonneville, she was an instructional facilitator in the district, elementary and middle school teacher in Van Buren and elementary and middle school teacher in Hendersonville, N.C. Gladden has a master’s degree in education Western Carolina University, and a bachelor’s degree in education from UA.

“I am honored to transition into this new role at Ballman and to continue my service within the district,” Gladden said.

Ami Griggs will serve as principal of Fairview Elementary School. She has served as Fairview assistant principal since 2019. Prior to her appointment at Fairview, she was a literacy instructional facilitator for Ballman, Bonneville, Fairview and Morrison Elementary School and a teacher at Euper Lane Elementary School. Griggs has a master’s degree in educational leadership from UA, a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Arkansas Tech and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the students and families of Fairview in this leadership role,” she said.

Nicole Shaffer will serve as the principal of Cook Elementary School. Shaffer has served as Fairview principal since 2019.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at Fairview Elementary School and look forward to continuing my service to the district at Cook Elementary School,” she said.

Prior to her appointment to Fairview, she was assistant principal at Cook, Woods Elementary School and Barling Elementary School and district supervisor of elementary music education. She taught at Sunnymede Elementary School as well as in Lavaca and Panama, Okla. Prior to her career in education, Shaffer served as an executive officer in the Air Force with the maintenance group of the 188th Fighter Wing. Shaffer has an education specialist degree in education leadership, a master’s degree in education leadership and bachelor’s degree in education, all from Arkansas Tech. She also has a master’s degree in physical education from UA.

The district announced Wednesday (July 7) that Dr. Christopher Davis will serve as the assistant superintendent of human resources and campus support. Davis will fill the vacancy left when Sherri Penix, the assistant superintendent for human resources and campus support, retires July 31. Davis has served as the district’s supervisor of human resources since 2019. With his new assignment, he will oversee all aspects of human resources for the district including athletics and activities functions, an FSPS news release said.

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