September 26, 2007 Edition

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Kim Keen

Breanna Sisk

Shane Duncan

Matt Gay

Elizabeth Shelby

Sarah Gifford

Kelly Rider

Jerry Haynes

Austin Keanon

Natalie Smith

WR School sees many
new faces in 2007-08

Students at Walnut Ridge Schools are seeing several new faces this school year as well as improvements to the campus and a new preschool building.

The school has hired 10 new teachers and one new administrator throughout the elementary, middle and high schools.

Kim Keen has joined the administration at Walnut Ridge as the new K-6 principal. Keen, who is a native of Marmaduke, received her BSE and MSE from Arkansas State University. She taught at Marmaduke for seven years and served as assistant principal at Westside School for one year. She has two sons, Chris, 23, and Kevin, 20. Both are students at ASU in Jonesboro.

Other new staff at Walnut Ridge's Ben R. Bush Elementary School includes Sarah Gifford, who is teaching fourth through sixth grade special education. Gifford, who is a WRHS graduate, received her bachelor's degree from Williams Baptist College and is currently working on her master's degree at ASU. She and her husband, Michael, live in Walnut Ridge.

Kelly Rider is the new third grade teacher at WRES. She received her BSE from Williams Baptist College and has taught at Sloan-Hendrix School in Imboden. Her husband, Jeff, is the men's basketball coach and athletic director at WBC. They have two daughters, Jennifer, who is a sophomore at ASU majoring in graphic design, and Alivia, a sophomore at WRHS.

Natalie Smith, who is teaching fifth grade literacy this year, received her degree in early childhood education from Arkansas State University. She and her children, Jake and Sheridan, live in Walnut Ridge.

Breanna Sisk, a native of Walnut Ridge and a graduate of WRHS, is teaching seventh and eighth grade English. She received her BSE in English from WBC and has been teaching at Cross County High School.

Shane Duncan, elementary P.E. coach, is a recent ASU graduate. He did his student teaching at Nettleton Junior High, and he and his wife, Angel, live in Jonesboro.

Elizabeth Shelby moves to the area from Texas. She is the new speech therapist at Walnut Ridge. Shelby graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and has worked in San Antonio, Texas. She and her husband, Matt, reside in Pocahontas.

Matt Gay, new P.E. coach, served in the U.S. Navy after high school and was stationed on the USS Saipan out of Norfolk, Va. He did his student teaching at Jonesboro High School and is an ASU graduate. Coach Gay and his wife, Nicole, live in Jonesboro with their three children, Gracie, 5, Ella, 2, and Grant, 11-months.

Jerry Haynes, a native of Imboden, received his bachelor's of science from Arkansas State University and is now teaching math at Walnut Ridge High School. He and his wife, Amanda, and their son, Jordan, live in Jonesboro.

Austin Kennon, the new Agri teacher, is a native of Bono. He received his bachelor's of science from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. This is his first year teaching. He and his wife, Amber, live in Jonesboro.

Vicky Robertson has replaced Joyce Rose, who retired last year, as high school counselor. She has a BSE in business education and MSE in counselor education. Robertson has worked at Pocahontas High School and Crowley's Ridge Academy. She and her husband, Stephen, live in Jonesboro.

ABC preschool expands

Over the summer, the Lawrence County School District purchased property near the elementary school for another preschool classroom.

The house located on the property was renovated to fit the school's needs and students kicked off the first day of school in their new classroom.

Preschool teacher Rachel Nipper and aide Joyce Smith are in the new location, while new teacher, Valerie Priest, aided by Genea Cullum, runs the other classroom.

SmartBoard Technology

Walnut Ridge School has added 10 SmartBoards to its campus this year, most of which are located in the math and science classrooms.

The SmartBoard, which is connected to a computer, gives the user the ability to "be the mouse," using a finger to write on the board where the program is projected.

Teachers are able to save notes on the computer or send them to a printer to be used as a study aids. The SmartBoard may be used with the computer software that accompanies their textbooks and can also be used to "animate" the lessons.

"It has really added to our math classes," said Cindy Logan, eighth grade math teacher at Walnut Ridge.

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