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Students and Staff Shine at October Board Meeting

OCTOBER 28, 2019 | Board of Education Recognitions

Superintendent’s Star Award Winners  

Eddie Diaz is a third-grader at Pike Elementary School. He was nominated by his principal, Monica Austin.  Mrs. Austin says that Eddie has blossomed since he began Kindergarten. He has built great friendships, he is participating in general education classes, he is becoming an independent learner and is excited about every day. Eddie is a learning "Rock Star!” Eddie is the son of Iris Palacios Garcia and Edwin Diaz.

Destinee Goldman is a Tilles Elementary sixth-grader who was nominated by principal, Regina Thompson. Ms. Thompson said Destinee is a leader and a positive role model. She is always willing to help in any way she can and does so with a smile and cheerful attitude. Teachers can depend on Destinee to do the right thing and trust her with jobs that need to be done. Destinee is the daughter of Tonya and Shawn Pierce.

Braxton Herrera is a fifth-grader at Ballman Elementary. Principal Lori Griffin says that Braxton always has a smile and he uses kind words to speak with others. This past month, a Solution Tree Coach was working with his teacher in the classroom, and she asked the teacher for a sticky note. Braxton immediately pulled some out of his desk and offered them to her. As the coach was leaving the room, Braxton handed her a few more sticky notes to take with her, just in case she needed them later. He is an extremely considerate young man. Braxton is the son of Nancy Herrera. 

Jillian Joyner is a sixth-grader at Barling Elementary School. Principal Carl Hill says Jillian is respectful, has a good attitude and helps whenever she can. She is always smiling, kind and she is attentive toward her peers and teachers. She is a wonderful student, and more importantly, a wonderful person. Jillian is the daughter of Carolona Odom and Dwight Joyner. 

Xin Li is a sixth-grader at Orr Elementary. According to principal Dr. Dawn Childress Xin is willing to serve in any capacity in the classroom or in the school. He is faithful to complete any task he is given and has an excellent work ethic, always completing his work with authenticity and perseverance. Xin is the son of Jin Li and Mei Lu 

Ben Sanders is a fourth-grader at Beard Elementary. Ben is always demonstrating a growth mindset and encouraging other students to “look at the bright side,” says Principal Pam Siebenmorgen. He is a positive role model for his classmates and often encourages students to make good decisions with his example. He constantly demonstrates integrity by doing the right thing. Ben is the son of Bruce Sanders and Meya Sanders.

Gracie Smith is a straight-A sixth-grader at Cavanaugh Elementary School. Gracie enhances the learning environment for her classmates says principal Hank Needham. Whether it is by asking stimulating questions, sharing an insightful point of view, or demonstrating her astute ability to think outside the box, Gracie is a leader in the classroom. Gracie is the daughter of Becky and Aime Terrell. 

Daimian Vega who is a fourth-grader at Sunnymede Elementary has become a role model for other students during his time as a Bulldog. He has been a hard worker since kindergarten and served as a member of the Sunnymede Student Council for the past several years. Principal Krystle Smith says that she is proud of the progress he has made during his elementary career. Daimian is the son of Abraham and Virginia Vega.

Robby Walker, Jr. is a third-grade student at Fairview Elementary. Principal Nicole Shaffer says she sees a smile on his face even when he is facing adversity and challenges. He is caring, compassionate, loving, and considerate. Robby is helpful and generous to both students and staff at Fairview. He is often caught doing good deeds and never expects acknowledgment or a reward in return. Robby's integrity is impeccable. Robby, Jr. is the son of Robby Walker, Sr. 

Student Recognitions

We are delighted to continue this portion of our recognitions tonight with Southside Senior Sidrah Raache who has been commended for her score on the PSAT by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sidrah is the daughter of Yazid Raache and Dalila Fedaoui. 

Haris Rana is a junior at Southside High School. He is being recognized tonight for his perfect score on the College Board’s ACT. The national average score is a 20, while a perfect score is a 36. Haris is the son of Javed Rana and Sara Bibi. 

Because of ongoing success and past performance, the Northside High School Grizzly Security Team was one of nine teams selected to participate in the 2019 U.S. Air Force Association's CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. These students are sophomores Mateo Aguirre-Sandoval, Tony Aldana, Justin Camey, and Felipe Casarreal and senior and the team leader Janet Phommaha. They are coached by Zach Coats

Staff Recognitions

The United Way-supported Parents as Teachers Program has earned National Blue Ribbon Accreditation and is now a National Parents as Teachers Blue Ribbon Model Affiliate. For those of you who may not be familiar, this program is designed to provide support necessary to ensure that children, birth to preschool, have foundational skills necessary to begin school successfully. 

We congratulate Supervisor of Early Childhood Education, Parent & Community Services, Dr. Sarah Biggs and Parent Educators Angie Williams, Andrea Washington, Kayla Carter, Twynette Dixon, Sharon Garcia-Aponte, Ricky Woodward, Violeta Tello, Dana Briley and Jeanne Carroll for this monumental accomplishment. We would also like to take a moment to recognize the part that community volunteers play in bringing this kind of service to children and their families in this area. 

Many years ago now, former Board of Education member and president, Ann Patton Dawson, daughter of educator and local historian, J. Fred Patton, wife of the honorable Judge Robert Dawson and mom extraordinaire to her children, who are represented by her daughter Southside teacher Courtney Beland, launched this program with the United Way’s Dot Rappeport and Angela Tilley. Angela who is now a teacher at Chaffin helped to raise the funds necessary to bring this program to Fort Smith and Ann ensured that all connection points were active. You can see the results of their work today. 

Ann was the original champion of Success by Six and Parents as Teachers because it was a promising way to give FSPS’ youngest students the best chances. Without Ann’s heart for children, her community-spirit and volunteer efforts, Dr. Biggs and these marvelous parent educators would be at the just-beginnings of their efforts. Today, we can say that hundreds of students have benefited from this important community initiative. Judge Dawson and Ms. Beland and to your family, we offer our sincerest and deepest gratitude for what Ann accomplished. Angela, we thank you for setting the stage for what Eddie Lee Herndon and the United Way continue to support. Dr. Biggs and Parent Educators, thank you – your work continues.  

Rozanna Brown has earned the Arkansas Department of Education’s new license as a Master Professional Educator. There are only 208 in Arkansas who have earned this designation. This new process considers a variety of credentials when qualifying candidates, including her designation two years ago as a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Certified Teacher. Ms. Brown has taught in FSPS for six years, three years at Euper Lane, and for the last two years and the current year at Ballman.  

This year Economics Arkansas announced they would honor only four Bessie B. Moore State Economics Award instead of their usual 10. Though we are not surprised, we are delighted to recognize Barling Elementary’s Amy Gordon who received one of the four state awards for her class’ project Cupid’s Creations. The Bessie B. Moore Awards Program recognizes Arkansas teachers for going “above and beyond” what is required by developing outstanding economic and personal finance projects for their students. 

Veteran Educator Gina Lewis, who is in her first year teaching Business at Southside High School recently completed an application process that earns Southside a position in the Amazon Future Engineers program. Amazon Future Engineers provides curriculum, college scholarships, and internships with Amazon based on participation in their curriculum. 

Dr. Kelley Todd has earned recognition with a "Gold Star Award" for w!se Financial Literacy Instruction. To be considered for this Gold Star Award, a teacher must achieve a 93% pass rate in at least one of their classes on either the Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 W!SE Financial Literacy Certification Test. She will be honored at the annual MoneyPOWER Institute, in New York City, in early November. While this is a spectacular achievement by itself, we are delighted to also recognize her designation, last Friday, as the 12-state Southern Business Education Association Teacher of the Year. This regional honor qualifies her to compete in the National Business Education Association contest for National Secondary Teacher of the Year this spring.

Orr Elementary School Principal, Dr. Dawn Childress has successfully defended her dissertation titled Engaging Teachers in Action Research to Increase Learner Agency, completing her doctoral program in the process. She has been an active participant in many of the district’s current initiatives and she is currently in Phase I of the Arkansas Leadership Academy's Master Principal Institute. She is also certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.