Marion School District Newsletter

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Quote of the Month

“Growth is the process of responding positively to change.”

-- Paul Harvey

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Mrs. Sarah Sagaskey was announced last week as the Marion School District’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. She was honored and overwhelmed by the love and support from her magnet family at MST and her community. She has been with the district 10 years and expressed what a privilege it is to work with the best educators every day teaching their hearts out to their students. “I am thankful for such a supportive team, MST is the place to be!” She said she truly strives to have a classroom that honors the Lord and the calling he has placed on her life. At a young age she had a passion for educating children and ministering to their families. Her own education was something she struggled with, she had a deep desire to learn but the learning didn't come as natural to her as it did for others. She worked hard and used her experiences to impact her students today. “I believe when given the right tools ALL students can learn and achieve. Students learn in different ways and I find it important to know your students and be able to meet those individual needs.” She finds motivation from her colleagues and students everyday to keep giving her best. She is truly a proud Patriot!
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Each year, the Marion School District teachers vote for a colleague that exemplifies the best of the best for that school year. This year's district representative comes from Marion Math, Science and Technology magnet school - Mrs. Sarah Sagaskey. However, the other campuses also chose the teacher that represents them as their excellence in education.

From Herbert Carter Global Community magnet Mrs. RoShawnda Dennies was their choice. Ms. RoShawnda Dennies, a 12 year educator, was chosen by HCGC as their 2020 Teacher of the Year. Dennies has been with the district 5 years and is elated that HCGC picked her to represent their campus as an example of teaching excellence. She said, “I love what I do everyday; however, I’m not always sure I’m doing the right thing, so it’s nice to be noticed.” She feels like at HCGC she has found not only an excellent work environment but a family. She is happy to show up at work each day. She appreciates her paraprofessionals because without them she’d be completely lost. Her motivation to be the best comes from a memory from her teachers. She knows that students never forget good teachers and bad teachers. She wants to be a good memory for her students for being a positive example to them.

At Marion's Visual Performing Arts magnet, Mrs. Whitney Hall was their choice. VPA caught Mrs. Whitney Hall by surprise by naming her their 2020 Teacher of the year. She said she’s worked with many outstanding, talented educators that being named their Teacher of the Year is something she’ll treasure. Mrs. Hall fell in love with Marion during her internship and 5 years later she’s still with Marion. She couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. Her VPA family is supportive and always willing to help in whatever way they are needed and offer words of encouragement. “I appreciate them more than they could possibly imagine.” Mrs. Hall has a background in theatre, which makes her a perfect fit for VPA. “I've learned so much about music, art, and dance by working with my Encore team. They've made me a better teacher. Whenever one of us has a project going on, it is a team effort. Everyone jumps in to help. I am grateful I never feel like I'm alone in my efforts. We are all working together toward a common goal and that's our students and what is best for them. I can't say enough great things about my colleagues at VPA.” Her motivation to be the best is simple. “It’s what my students deserve.” She said she because she loves what she does so much, it doesn’t feel like work. Mrs. Hall believes the arts are so important to children because it teaches them so much about life and collaboration and how to set goals and reach them. She loves seeing them have the freedom to be themselves and find their creative outlets. She, like her colleagues, knows when they leave VPA, their experiences here are setting them up for success in the future. That is the biggest motivation of all. She cannot wait to see what amazing things her students accomplish in the future.

Marion Junior High chose it’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, Ms. Krisma Smith. She’s been with the district for 4 years. She said she was honored to be selected by her colleagues. She has always appreciated the supports she receives from those she works with in participating in some of her crazy ideas. “I’m happy to be a part of MJHS.” When asked what has been her motivation for being an educator she jokingly said “The money of course.” but then said “Honestly, my students are my motivation.” She said growing up in a poor area where education isn’t a priority and she now teaches in a similar area, has given her the motivation to help struggling students by providing them a safe and loving place where they can learn and grow in confidence. Ms. Smith also many hours outside of class as the sponsor for the MJHS Debate Club and Co-Sponsor for the MHS & MJHS Robotics teams.

Mrs. Jeanette Skipper, a veteren of 35 years and 14 of those years with the Marion School District was selected by her fellow educators as their 2020 Teacher of the Year. She was overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness toward her colleagues at MHS. She said, “As a 2020 retiree, this honor is such a fantastic way to end my teaching career.” Mrs. Skipper has enjoyed her work with the fun loving educators at the high school. She absolutely loves teaching students. When she was in school she was lucky to have some pretty great teachers. She noticed they were aware of her needs in their class. That became her motivation to be a great teacher for her students. Her goal has been to be the teacher each student needed to become a great math student. She wanted her students to leave her class knowing they were loved and capable of doing anything they wanted to do.

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Marion's Mobile Meal Program (video by Tyler Bennett)

Marion School District on Facebook Watch

APSRC School Spotlight - Marion School District

During this difficult time, we could all use some positive news. We want to hear about the great things schools are doing to support their communities, whether it’s helping to provide PPE for healthcare workers, ensuring kids have access to nutritious meals, or innovative ways your educators are reaching students. These stories may be shared on the APSRC Facebook page.

For the month of April, Marion School District Child Nutrition and volunteers provided a total of 24,013 meals to children. Since March, Marion has provided approximately 33,970 meals to children in the district.

Marion Junior High School teachers and administrators also hosted a parade for students which was featured in the local paper. To view the article, click on the link below:

We love seeing the positive things you are doing. Please continue to send your updates to and we just may select your school for recognition at our annual fall conference.

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The Marion School District is pleased to announce that widely respected veteran Arkansas band directors have been chosen to lead the Marion Band Program. Monty and Valerie Hill were approved at the April 23 Marion School Board meeting upon recommendation of Superintendent, Dr. Glen Fenter. “Mr. and Mrs. Hill have led successful band programs at every level including the collegiate ranks, and we very much look forward to watching them work their magic in Marion” stated Dr. Fenter.

Mr. and Mrs. Hill were both educated at Henderson State University and New Mexico State University. Together they built a very strong band program at Lake Hamilton Public Schools near Hot Springs. The Lake Hamilton Bands began earning state and regional notoriety upon their arrival in 1998. In 2007, Mr. Hill accepted the position as Associate Director of Bands at NCAA Division I New Mexico State University, where he directed the “Pride of New Mexico” Marching Band, “The Roadrunner Revue” Basketball Pep Band, and both the NMSU Symphonic Winds and Symphonic Band.

While in New Mexico, Mrs. Hill did not miss a beat, completely building a band program from the ground up at Chaparral Middle School that earned numerous accolades. In 2012, the Hills moved back to their home state of Arkansas in order to be close to family and achieved great success with the band programs at Mills University Studies High School and North Little Rock High School respectively.

In 2015, Mr. Hill was appointed as the first Director of Bands in the history of Lyon College in Batesville. Mrs. Hill was also hired as the Assistant Director of Bands a short time later, and together they recruited an outstanding marching band, concert band, and jazz band for the college.

In 2019, Harrison Public Schools sought to hire two experienced band directors to help lead the band program. The Harrison Band has flourished during their tenure, earning numerous first division awards.

The Hills are very excited about their new opportunity in Marion. According to Mr. Hill, “The Marion Band Program has historically had an outstanding tradition that we hope to be able to restore and build upon.” “We both look forward to coordinating all aspects of the band program from grades 7-12,” commented Mrs. Hill. She added, “Monty and I love what we do. We will work to build a positive educational experience for all students with everyone’s help.” MHS Principal Paul Johnston shared his excitement, “ I can’t wait to see the reaction from our students when they realize the caliber of leadership the Hills are going to bring to our program. “

Monty and Valerie Hill have two grown children. Their daughter Kristen Shepherd is a band director at Ramsey Junior High in Ft. Smith and their son Nathaniel Hill, is a data scientist for First Orion, based out of North Little Rock. Mr. and Mrs. Hill are eager to meet all the Marion band family!

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MSD students, Madylin Williams and Winsley Brothers, exceeded their goal of $2500 in fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the St. Jude Leadership Society. This has qualified both girls to attend the St. Jude Leadership Society Memphis Experience July, 8th-10th in Memphis.

The St. Jude Leadership Society is a leadership development experience for high school students who share the commitment to give back to the country and community by promoting and supporting the mission of St. Jude Research Hospital: Finding Cures. Saving Children.

St. Jude Leadership Society members meet once a month for the following: Gratitude and Good Citizenship, Discovering Your Best Self, Inspired Leadership, and How to Overcome Failure.

Mady presented to a local business, Crittenden County Farm Bureau, and was entered into a drawing to win a one week internship in which she won. If all goes well, Mady will be assisting with is Courses & Cocktails, which is the pre-party/kick-off event to the World Golf Championships. The event will be held on Saturday, June 27 at TPC Southwind. Mady would assist with silent auction set-up, registration, and overall event experience needs.

Winsley and Mady recently had a Glow In The Dark Egging where they egged homes in respect to social distancing. Winsley raised $6,382 by egging homes in Wilson, Keiser, Crawfordsville, and Marion AR. She even went as far as Lakeland, TN and Southaven, MS. Mady raised $740 by egging homes in Marion, West Memphis, and Proctor, AR as well as Memphis, TN.

Winsley Brothers is a Senior at Marion High School and has raised $8,432.

Mady Williams is a Freshman at Marion Junior High School and has raised $2976.

The girls will continue their fundraising efforts through June 15, 2020.
You can donate to either girl through their fundraising link at and

Stay Up-To-Date at Each MSD Campus- click the links below

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Patriot Stadium Track Resurfaced

Patriot Nation the track surface is finished and it’s beautiful! It’ll be striped next week. We look forward to seeing you on the track once we get the ok from the building administration and receive guidelines for use and social distancing. Stay safe and stay healthy.
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Share The Good Stuff

If there are good things happening in your classroom or building, we want to hear about it. Here are a few examples:
  • Exciting field trips
  • Guest speakers
  • Interactive lesson plans
  • Students or staff with remarkable personal stories
  • Favorable academic data
  • College signings, academic scholarships
  • Planned professional development

Send your good stuff with pictures and/or video to Jonnett Gammill at or Tyler Bennett at


Marion School District Newsletter will be disseminated monthly. If you would like your news included in the next edition, please shoot an email to with "newsletter" in the subject line. When submitting news, keep in mind the 5 W's: who, what, why, when, and where. Attach photos and video with your copy.

The deadline to submit information is the 21st of each month.

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