Springdale chooses an academic coach
SPRINGDALE — A HarBer High School teacher is the district’s new academic coach, following an announcement made Tuesday night.
Marcia Smith, who oversees curriculum for Springdale School District’s middle, junior high and high schools, named Michael Fotenopulos to the position during the monthly School Board meeting. Fotenopulos has taught Advanced Placement world history at Har- Ber High School.
“We have very high expectations for this position,” Smith said.
The role was created a year ago to fulfill a desire by the School Board to have an employee focus on pushing high school students toward high achievement. Nandra Campbell, who was an assistant principal at Westwood Elementary School, spent a year in the academic coach role.
Campbell joined Fayetteville School District in July as its director of professional development.
“The academic coach position is of major interest to all of us,” Superintendent Jim Rollins said Tuesday. “We’ve had a great introductory year and a change in personnel.”
Smith told the School Board the final interview was Monday, and Fotenopulos was notified Tuesday morning.
“He’s going to be a great asset,” Smith said. “He’s got a lot of background knowledge in the AP and what we need to do to push AP forward and what are some things we can do in all different areas of AP.”
Fotenopulos will help the district work toward advancing student performance by connecting with children and their families and helping them plan for college, Rollins said.
“We need help to identify those kids early on who really are gifted, who have great abilities, and then families need support,” Rollins said.
Har-Ber Principal Danny Brackett described Fotenopulos as someone who encouraged and motivated students, he said. Students call him their history coach.
School Board member Jeff Williams had an interest in the success of high-achieving students when he ran for the position nine years ago, he said. The idea for an academic coach started with a desire to have someone work with seventh- and eighth-graders who participate in the Duke Talent Identification Program as potential National Merit scholars. It has expanded to a person who could be a resource in planning for college for Advanced Placement students and other high-achieving students.
An example would be helping a low-income student in the International Baccalaureate program at Springdale High School graduate and attend Brown University, he said. School Board member Mike Luttrell got to know Fotenopulos as a parent because his daughter was in his class. He shared his knowledge with students, motivated them and helped them to be creative, he said.