Terms set for members, officers elected on Fort Smith Public School Board

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,026 views 

Terms were set for all members of the Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education, and Dee Blackwell was selected as the board president. The new board members were sworn in Monday (June 20) at a called school board meeting.

The FSPS board voted in the fall to hold elections in May for all seven board seats following remapped zones based on the 2020 census. Each of the new zones have approximately 18,200 residents.

The school board approved a new zone map with five single-membered and two at-large positions for school board representatives based on the 2020 census data.

Following the May 24 school elections, board members are:
Zone 1 – Phil Whiteaker, who defeated incumbent Troy Eckelhoff
Zone 2 – Sandy Dixon, who defeated Brittney Hall for the seat formerly held by Susan McFerran, who did not seek re-election
Zone 3 – Dee Blackwell, the incumbent who defeated challenger Ryan Goodwin
Zone 4 – Talicia Richardson, who was unopposed in the election
Zone 5 – Dalton Person, incumbent who defeated challenger Tara Mendoza
At Large 1 – Matt Blaylock, incumbent who defeated challenger Madeline Marquette
At Large 2 – Davin Chitwood who defeated Taylor Chase for the seat formerly held by Yvonne Keaton-Martin, who did not seek re-election

Because by state law only two board members are supposed to be up for election at one time, the board voted in the fall to have a straw vote to determine the term lengths for all members. Board members drew cards Monday night for their term length.

The minimum term will be for two years. Dixon and Blackwell will both serve two year terms. Blaylock and Chitwood will serve three-year terms. Whiteaker and Richardson will serve a four-year term. Person will serve a five-year term.

The board also elected officers for the 2022-23 school year at Monday’s meeting. The board’s three incumbents will be the executive officers for the coming year. Blackwell will serve as the board’s president. Richardson will be the vice president, and Person will serve as the board’s secretary.