$24 Million Scholarship dollars offered to 2019 district seniors.
60% of 1,750 district teachers have master’s degrees or higher.
24 EAST programs in the district, more than any other district in the United States.
86 Advanced courses through AP, IB and concurrent classes.
This is another in the continuing series of feature stories about Springdale Public School District Administrators.
Assistant Superintendent For Instruction, 6-12
Assistant Superintendent Shannon Tisher has impeccable character. Want an example? She is not only an educator but also a swimming official. Once she had to disqualify her own daughter from a race!
“My son, Max, and daughter, Miley, are very involved in swimming so I became a USA Swim Official,” Tisher says. “I love to watch them swim and I also officiate swim meets, mostly those they have competed in. It just so happened that Miley was in my lane and she ended her backstroke on her stomach.
“She knew what she had done but she still looked at me with shock when I disqualified her. I told her, ‘I love you but I had to disqualify you.’ The other officials were laughing. Several of them had done the same thing to their children.
“My poor kids! There’s no escaping their mother. I’m a school official and a swimming official, too.”
It’s doubtful Max or Miley want to escape their mother. Max will be a sophomore at Har-Ber High school and is already a key member of the swimming program. Miley will be a sixth grader at Hellstern Middle School.
Max and Miley were destined to become athletes. Shannon was a cheerleader, on the dance team and competed in gymnastics while at Fort Smith Southside High School. Her husband, Mitch, pitched for the Razorback baseball team and is an excellent golfer.
“Mitch and I actually met on his recruiting visit to the University of Arkansas,” Tisher recalls. His host was my roommate’s boyfriend. I graduated from the UA and we got married in 2002, after his Razorback career was over.”
Once she was a UA graduate, it didn’t take long for Tisher to dive into public education. She had known since childhood she wanted to be a teacher.
“I played school at home,” she explains. “I always wanted to be a teacher. My dolls and stuffed animals were my students. I had an aunt who was a teacher for 40 years. She gave me her teacher workbooks when she was finished with them. My parents bought me a chalkboard.
“I always thought I would be an elementary teacher after working at church camps and as a lifeguard. While in college I felt a strong calling to work with older students. That surprised me.”
When she entered the MAT program at the UA, she did internships at Springdale High School, J.O. Kelly Middle School and Central Junior High.
“After I finished the MAT program the English teacher I had interned with retired at Springdale High and I was hired as the replacement,” Tisher says. “It was interesting. I had a constant awareness that I was only 23 years old and, teaching sophomores and seniors, I wasn’t much older than they were. The good part was I could relate to them.
“I still see some of my first students when I am out in the community. Nick Emerson and Eddie Ramos took English from me and now both of them are on the school board. That’s always a little funny for me when I am speaking at a school board meeting.”
Tisher spent five years at Springdale High before moving to Har-Ber when the school opened. She served as an instructional facilitator for two years, then was hired as an assistant principal at George Junior High. Two years later she was named assistant principal at Har-Ber High. She served in that position for five years.
Her next stop was Southwest Junior High where she was principal for four years. She moved to the Don Tyson School of Innovation as principal and was there only a year before being named assistant superintendent.
“I’ve moved a lot but it’s been cool because I spent seven years on the east side of the district, seven years on the west side and four years at Southwest, where we had students from both sides,” Tisher says. “The year at DTSOI was an awesome, different experience. It was a blessing because it gave me a good lens into all aspects of education.
“I love being in administration. When a teacher leaves the classroom a piece of his or her heart still yearns for that classroom. But, in administration we support teachers who in turn support students. The impact we can have is at a much broader level.”
What does she like most about working in Springdale?
“There are so many things to like but the best parts are the relationships and interaction we have with principals, teachers and students,” Tisher responds. “It is wonderful to see how the work of administrators and teachers impacts students and to celebrate with them.
“Springdale is a one-of-a-kind school district. When you consider the relationships we have as an entire staff combined with interaction with our community, there is none like it. We truly are one community.”
Tisher helps make Springdale a great community and her contributions as a member of the administrative staff team help make Springdale Public Schools #THEChoice.
This is the first in a series of feature stories on Springdale Public School District Administrators.
Deputy Superintendent, Finance
Kelly Hayes’ specialty may be accounting but he has a wonderful sense of humor. In fact, he’s been told that rather than be a financial expert for the largest school district in Arkansas, he should have been a cruise director.
“I’ve had friends who have come back from cruises tell me I remind them of their cruise director,” Hayes says. “They say I am personable and funny. I hope people see me that way. I take my job seriously but I don’t take myself seriously.”
Former Superintendent Dr. Jim Rollins saw both sides of Hayes. He trusted Hayes’ financial advice while also ranking him “the eighth or ninth funniest comptroller in the state, depending on the joke.”
New Superintendent Dr. Jared Cleveland also appreciates Hayes’ humorous side and has been so impressed with Hayes’ professional abilities that he has added the responsibilities and title of Deputy Superintendent to his duties as head of finance.
“Kelly Hayes is one of the most trusted educators in Arkansas,” says Cleveland. “He always makes himself available to help other districts in the state. We are not replacing the position of deputy superintendent because of Kelly’s unique talents. His ability to lead in this district is needed. I look forward to the support and input he will provide to advance quality education in our district.”
Hayes, who has a bachelor of arts degree in Accounting and a master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration, appreciates Cleveland’s confidence. Kelly and his wife, Jo Ellen, enjoy being involved in the Northwest Arkansas community as well as the Springdale Public School district.
“My wife and I love Northwest Arkansas,” Hayes says. “It’s beautiful and a wonderful place to live. Plus, both of our children and their families live here. That makes it even better.
“It’s also great to be on the Springdale Public Schools staff. My motto is simple: Do Right. I enjoy helping find solutions to problems. My greatest joy comes from making a difference with our students. I believe that right now our students have more educational opportunities than they’ve ever had before.”
Springdale is fortunate Hayes and his family were willing to leave Cabot 11 years ago. After all, Hayes grew up in Cabot, graduated from Cabot High School and served as business manager in the Cabot district for 17 years before moving to Springdale.
“It was great working in Cabot,” Hayes says. “It was my school district and our children were in school there. We were at all the football games and other events. Our son was into sports and our daughter was a cheerleader. I was president of the PTA when our kids were in elementary school. There weren’t many jobs for accountants in Cabot so I was grateful to work with the school district.”
Cabot gave Hayes his initial experience in public school finance and he had to learn on the fly.
“After I graduated from college I worked a year as an accountant, then six years in a friend’s family business,” Hayes recalls. “I applied for the Cabot schools’ job in 1991 but didn’t get it. A year later it was open again. I applied and was hired.
“My first day was June 15. The fiscal year ended June 30. So, in two weeks I had to close out one year and start working on the budget for the next. When I took the job I didn’t know the difference between a mil and a million. In all the accounting courses I had in college we spent the grand total of two weeks on government accounting. We only covered the basics.
“So, I learned on the job. Somehow we got the year closed and got the budget in and we’ve done it ever since.”
Even though he loved Cabot, he and Jo Ellen sensed it might be time to move. An opportunity opened in Springdale.
“I went to a conference and Allen Williams from Springdale was there,” Hayes remembers. “He told me there was a position in the business office open and asked if I was interested in relocating. I surprised him by saying yes. During my time at Cabot I had heard a lot about Springdale. Springdale was and still is regarded as a leader in educational circles. When I interviewed with Dr. Rollins, it was the first time I had met him.
“Dr. Rollins asked me who the best district business managers in the state were. I thought that meant he wasn’t interested in me so Allen and I started naming them. Then he asked, ‘Aren’t you one of them?’ I said, ‘Well, I guess so.’ Since I didn’t know Dr. Rollins, I am sure Allen Williams helped him get a feel for who I am.”
Now, of course, Hayes is extremely knowledgeable about public school finances. What, many years ago, stirred his interest in accounting in the first place?
“In high school I had a knack for accounting and I had great respect for my accounting teacher,” Hayes answers. “That led me to major in accounting at Ouachita Baptist.”
From high school accounting to deputy superintendent of the Springdale Public School District has been a great adventure for Hayes. And, by the way, he’s even been on a couple of cruises.
“We’ve cruised in the Gulf and also in Alaska,” Hayes says. “The cruise directors were good but neither of them reminded me of me.”
Directing cruises may not be in his future but Hayes is among the humble, competent administrators that help make Springdale Public Schools #THEChoice.
District administrators gave a socially distanced going away lunch for Dr. Jim Rollins on his final day as superintendent. It was also the final day in the district for assistant superintendent Maribel Childress who begins as superintendent at Gravette Wednesday. #THEChoice
An array of opportunities from gifted and talented to early college experiencesRead more about Accelerated Programs
Community supported teams for any student with a passion to build skills and competeRead more about Athletics
Thriving in a safe environment, students are creatively engaged within a schedule that meets family needsRead more about Before and After School Programs
Workforce and career development, including professional certifications, earned through hands-on experiencesRead more about Career and Technical Education
Over 150 businesses partner with our 31 schools to build a strong communityRead more about Community Partnerships
Cutting edge opportunities in coding, cyber security, and many other classes,starting as early as kindergartenRead more about Computer Science
The largest Pre-K program in the state sets up your young scholar for academic, emotional, and social successRead more about Early Childhood
The largest Pre-K program in the state sets up your young scholar for academic, emotional, and social successRead more about EAST
Parents and students develop communication skills together in the largest family literacy program in the United States.Read more about English Language Programs
Providing increased access to vital healthcare for our families and the community.Read more about On-Site Health Clinic
Providing a device for each child to extend learning opportunitiesRead more about One-to-One Technology
Teaching the whole child in an outdoor environment makes for happier, healthier, and more enthusiastic learnersRead more about OutDoor Classrooms
Highly competitive teams blending science and engineering with a focus on design, construction, and operation.Read more about Robotics
Leading the state in assisting students and families to achieve continued educational success.Read more about Scolarships
Collaborating with families to ensure Special Education opportunities for every child’s unique learning abilities.Read more about Special Services
Dedicated to making sure students have healthy eating opportunities in the summer months.Read more about Summer Lunch Programs
Nationally recognized multimedia program challenging students in the digital arts.Read more about Video Productions
An accredited virtual or blended learning environment with engaging on-campus opportunitiesRead more about Virtual Schools