Best in the State – WMSD’s Collins named Arkansas Superintendent of the Year

Best in the State – WMSD’s Collins named Arkansas Superintendent of the Year

West Memphis’s top educator receives honors from Association of Educational


West Memphis School District

West Memphis' Jon Collins has been named Arkansas Schools Superintendent of the Year.

Buoyed by a new charter in his second year on the job in 2014 and this year an expansive new construction plan for several schools, Collins was recognized by state administrators at a surprise meeting on Tuesday night. Dr. Richard Abernathy, Executive Director for the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, surprised Collins before the start of Tuesday night's regular school board meeting. Several former and current superintendents in Arkansas were there for the presentation.

'I've watched Jon Collins for several years and he's done a remarkable job for West Memphis and its kids,' said Abernathy. 'The career technical programs at the high school strengthens that school. His facilities program has been very impressive. His predecessor, Mr. Kessinger, I think the world of him and I think Jon's just taken West Memphis to the next level.' The American Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year program, sponsored by ARAMARK Education, pays tribute to the talent and vision of the men and women who lead the nation's public schools. Candidates are judged on the following criteria: leader- ship for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement.

The West Memphis School District has a long history of serving as the cornerstone educational provider in the heart of the Mississippi River Delta region.

WMSD is the largest employer in Crittenden County and the 14th largest school district in the state, serving approximately 5,600 students through 11 campuses.

Collins, who succeeded Kessinger in 2013, led the district's approval for the first conversion charter school in state history to partner a high school with a community college (ASUMid-


Collins' goal as superintendent is clearly described on his desk.

'Instead of a desk plate with my name on it, I prefer to display one with two words: Students first,' Collins said. 'Students first has been my battle cry since July 1, 2013 when I assumed the role of Superintendent of Schools of the West Memphis School District.'

Collins has been a member of AAEA since 2001 and is involved in other community and professional organizations. He has received numerous honors and awards related to his work as a school administrator.

Collins is a 1989 graduate of West Memphis High School. His educational background includes Dean of Students at WMHS, Middle School principal at Harrisburg, West Junior High principal and WMHS principal.

By Billy Woods