PIE logo 


Partners in Education 

Fort Smith Public Schools 

C3  Classroom and Community Connections


                 June 2011



During recent celebrations for retirement, friends and colleagues have been extremely thoughtful and generous with cards, gifts and good-bye wishes. Some of my friends who are already retired have pointed out that they've noticed commercial retirement cards are all about "good- bye," but from their perspective, retirement should be about "hello" to a wonderful new phase of life. I'm choosing to adopt that philosophy.

My time as the Supervisor of Community Partnerships for Fort Smith Public Schools has been filled with many moments of gratitude and certainly none more so than at the PIE celebration on June 7. You left me overwhelmed with your thoughtfulness and generosity. Dr. Gooden said at one of the retirement events that I always looked like I was glad to be at work, and you know what? I was. This job has been to listen to the hard-working administrators, the dedicated faculty and the beautiful children of this district in order to match their needs to the resources of the business partners. I'm honored to have been called a matchmaker and a connector. Every school and business contact has been unique and special, and I will be forever grateful to the business and education partners for the opportunity to know you. 

I'm so pleased that Zena Featherston Marshall will be directing the Partners in Education program for the District with the help of District Communications Coordinator Brittany Ransom. This newsletter is your first glimpse into what these women can do with their technical communication skills. Successful partnerships can be described with two words: communication and relationships. These ladies will be dynamite at both.  


Good bye to you, Dear Partners. Hello to travels, reading all night, Law and Order on demand, and no alarm clock! I will miss you all. 

Cathy Williams  

Partners in Education
Host Awards Luncheon

Dana Craig accepts the first "Cathy Williams Partner of the Year" Award from Cathy Williams. 

Fort Smith Public Schools Partners in Education hosted its annual award luncheon on June 7 at the Phoenix Expo Center in Fort Smith. Prior to the luncheon, a reception was held honoring Cathy Williams, long-time director of Partners in Education, who is retiring at the end of June. Representatives from partner businesses and organizations, as well as from FSPS and the community, paid tribute to Williams for her dedication to the program. In her 12 years as director, the program more than doubled in size, growing to include more than 250 partnerships between the schools and community.


Dr. Benny Gooden, Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent, welcomed featured speaker Mayor Sandy Sanders. Sanders, who has been involved with the Partners in Education program for many years, spoke to the importance of having schools and community businesses and organizations connected with another.


Following Sanders, Dean Sparks, Chick-Fil-A, recognized outgoing Partners in Education board members John Craig, Simmons First National Bank, Jim Garvey, Northside High School and Krystle Smith, Sunnymede Elementary. Sparks also announced the 19 new Partners in Education (see below) who joined the program during the 2010-2011 year.


Every year, PIE recognizes outstanding partnerships between schools and businesses or organizations. The Norma Shaffer Partnership of the Year Award is presented every year to one elementary school and to one secondary school or program. It is named for former Partners in Education director, Norma Shaffer who coordinated the program from 1986-1998.


The Norma Shaffer Partnership of the Year Award for Elementary Schools was presented to Fairview Elementary with Fort Smith EMS. Working in conjunction with the Fairview staff, Fort Smith EMS helped kick start the "Let's Move" afterschool exercise program for students by writing a grant to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies. Fort Smith EMS also provided backpacks for Star Students and a free smoke alarm for every Fairview family and staff member. The EMTs also serve every morning helping to keep the children safe during morning drop-off as part of the WATCH DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program. 


The Norma Shaffer Partnership of the Year Award for Secondary Schools and Programs was presented to Parker Center with Sam's Club. Throughout the year, Sam's Club provides funds and supplies to assist with programs such as PAT (Parents as Teachers) and HEP (Homeless Education Program). Employees often volunteer their time to assist with projects such as stuffing backpacks and labeling books. The employees also serve as pen pals to sixth graders and have hosted store visits for the students.  


Named for Partners in Education Founder Bud Jackson, the prestigious Bud Jackson Teamwork Award is presented to teams of school partners who establish remarkable synergy in their efforts to serve the students in their respective schools. These groups of people set an exemplary standard of collaboration and teamwork:


Howard Elementary School with their partners represent long-term and continuing effort that benefits the students and staff at Howard.


Trotter Electric

Weldon, Williams and Lick


Beard Elementary School with their partners have made remarkable strides in their implementation of the Leader in Me program, as well as the many other ongoing partnership activities.


Bowling World

Eureka Pizza

Harp's (Market Trace)

Liberty Bank

Noon Exchange Club


Chaffin Junior High School with their partners represent the best example of what a new team can do in a very short period of time. Many of these partners were recognized as new to the team in 2010-2011.

Brown Hiller Clark

Candy Craze

Custom Awards

Golf, Etc.



A special Bud Jackson Outstanding Teamwork Award was also presented to eFortSmith for its continued support of the District and Partners in Education. Since its inception, Entertainment Fort Smith has continually highlighted the work of the Partners throughout the year. The magazine also dedicates its May issue to Partners in Education featuring both a cover for PIE and content about the work of partners in the schools. The publication was honored with the award on behalf of the entire District.


These groups are magnificent examples of Margaret Mead's quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

In recognition of Williams' leadership, a new award was established. The Cathy Williams Partner of the Year was created to honor an individual who demonstrates long term consistent support to a school through the PIE program. The first Cathy Williams Partner of the Year Award was presented to Dana Craig, otherwise known as "Miss OG&E." Craig has been a faithful volunteer at Cavanaugh Elementary School for more than 20 years through the Partners in Education Program. She is a fixture at the school serving as a science fair judge, a speaker at monthly assemblies and much more. 


Sherry Sims, Rheem, Partners in Education Advisory Board Chair and Susan Nolte, Arvest, Partners in Education Advisory Board Chair-Elect present a check for $1,000 to Cathy Williams. The funds were donated by partners and community members to be used for Williams' post-retirement travels. 

Concluding the banquet, Sparks paid tribute to Williams for her dedication to Fort Smith Public Schools and to Partners in Education. Speaking on behalf of the partners, he expressed his gratitude to her and noted that she was leaving "big boots to fill." Williams was then presented with a check for $1,000 to use toward trips she is planning to Italy and Ireland. The funds were all donated by partners and by members of the community. 


2010-2011 New Partnerships

Wanna Be Racing with Barling 

Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club with Beard and Ramsey 

Phoenix Expo Trade and Event Center with Cavanaugh 

Brown Hiller Clark with Chaffin

Candy Craze with Chaffin 

Custom Awards and Engraving with Chaffin

Golf, Etc. with Chaffin

Harry Robinson with Chaffin

Goody's Yogurt with Darby 

Art's BBQ with Euper Lane 

Ted's Air Conditioning with Fairview 

Mrs. Baird's with Fort Smith Public Schools

Lincoln High School Alumni Association with Howard 

Blaylock Heating and Air with Northside

Clayton Welding and Consulting with Northside

Kirkham Systems with Pike

The City Wire with Pike

Westark Plumbing with Sutton

Mark Your Calendar!

Back to School 

Planning Conference  


Thursday, August 4

8:30 am to 1:00 pm


Ramsey Junior High School

3201 Jenny Lind Rd.


Invitations will be mailed mid-July.


Send suggestions for workshops to 


In This Issue
PIE Luncheon
New Partnerships
Norma Shaffer Partnerships
Bud Jackson Awards
2011-2012 Advisory Board

Award Winners

Norma Shaffer Partnership of the Year Award-Elementary

Fairview Elementary and

Fort Smith EMS

Parker Center and Sams

Norma Shaffer Partnership of the Year Award-Secondary or Program

Parker Center and Sam's Club

Beard and Partners

Bud Jackson Teamwork Award

Beard Elementary and Partners

Howard and Partners
Bud Jackson Teamwork Award
Howard Elementary and Partners

Chaffin and partners

Bud Jackson Teamwork Award

Chaffin Junior High and Partners

Bud Jackson Teamwork Award

Entertainment Fort Smith

Norma Shaffer
Partnerships of Distinction


Ballman Elementary School 

with Pre-ceptor Beta Eta Chapter 

of Beta Sigma Phi


Carnall and Cavanaugh 

Elementary Schools 

with Walmart #125 on Zero Street 


Cavanaugh Elementary School 

with OG&E


Cavanaugh Elementary School with 

Commissary Kiwanis Club


Howard Elementary School 

with Trotter Electric 


Sutton Elementary School 

with Marvin Altman Fitness Center 


Secondary and Programs

Chaffin Junior High School 

with Brown Hiller Clark


Chaffin Junior High School 

with Candy Craze 


Ramsey Junior High School 

with Fort Smith Noon Exchange Club


Bud Jackson 

Teams of Distinction

Bonneville Elementary School with 

their partners:

Beall-Barclay and Associates

Hollywood Stars Pizza

Regions Bank

United Federal Credit Union


Carnall Elementary School with their partners:


ABF Credit Union

Walmart (Zero Street)


Spradling Elementary with their partners:


Kentucky Fried Chicken

McCutchen Law Firm

Mickle Wagner Coleman

Taco Bell


Partners in Education

Advisory Board 


Sherry Sims, Rheem, Chair

Susan Nolte, Arvest, Chair-Elect

Dean Sparks, Chick-Fil-A, Past Chair

Pat Stanton, Liberty Bank

Greg Davis, Arkansas Valley 

Electric Cooperative

David Overton, FS Police Dept.

Keith Cummings, Gerber

Sandee Chaddock, AR Blue Cross 

& Blue Shield

Diane Isaacs, Barling Elementary

Todd Marshell, Chaffin Junior High

Jeannie Cole, Board of Education

Dan Graham, Manufacturing 

Executives Association

Paul Harvel, Fort Smith 

Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Benny Gooden, Superintendent, 

Fort Smith Public Schools

Zena Featherston Marshall, 

Director of Communication, 

Fort Smith Public Schools


Help Spread the Word! 

If you know of someone who needs to be added to the Partners in Education e-mail list, let us know. Just send a name and e-mail address to bransom@fortsmithschools.org