Located in Western Arkansas, Fort Smith is home to our school, Kimmons Middle School, previously known as Kimmons Junior High. Historically significant, it is a town that is found in the pages of history books and projected on the screens of movie theaters. A fortress of a harsh brand of justice on the edge of the Indian Territory, Fort Smith carved its place in American history as the fort on the frontier. Though many years separate us from that time, we find ourselves defined and shaped by its character. Accepting the definition of frontier as "a field for discovery," our school wholeheartedly embraces this and strives to be a "fort" for students embarking upon their journey into this frontier.
Kimmons opened for its first school year in the fall of 1964. The school is the only school named for a woman, Mrs. Dora L. Kimmons, who taught in the Fort Smith Public School system for thirty-five years, retiring in 1924. Her name was chosen by the school board as a way "to not only honor a great teacher, Mrs. Kimmons but also honor a great profession, the teaching profession," according to the then Fort Smith Superintendent of Schools, Chris D. Corbin.
Kimmons opened under the direction of Mr. Robert McDaniel who was principal until 1974. The school has since had ten principals; Mr. Bill Bardrick from 1974 to 1987, Mr. Dan Roberts from 1987 to 2000, Dr. Ray Martin for the 2000-2001 school year, Mr. Nick Lasker from 2001-2003, Mr. Martin Mahan from 2003-2007, Mr. James Garvey from 2007-2010, Mr. David Watkins from 2010-2016, Dr. Keri Rathbun from 2016-2017, Dr. Christopher Johnson from 2017-2022, and currently Dr. Shawn Hinkle.
The building is situated on 18 acres. Its spacious tree-shaded grounds provide an opportunity for long-range development and expansion. A large beautiful entrance offers easy access to the main office and opens into the new science wing and central hallway for all the other classrooms. Five shallow wings branching from this hallway form an arrangement of 30 classrooms. Off the central hallway, easy access to the attendance office, music department, cafeteria, restrooms, library, media center, gymnasium, and computer and technology labs is achieved. A new tornado shelter for our community has been built on our property.
We believe all students can learn in a safe and nurturing environment and are committed to providing a comprehensive education to prepare them for the twenty-first century, regardless of the social, economic, and political challenges that affect them. We feel strongly that all our endeavors must be student-centered. Our staff understands that a team approach builds a more productive and positive environment. The unity of purpose we seek for our students, we also work to discover in ourselves.