By John Lovett
Newly appointed Belle Point Academy Director Tony Jones says he can relate to students who face challenges.
The former Northside High School School assistant principal and School Improvement Specialist told the Fort Smith Board of Education on Tuesday he was raised by a single parent and knows the importance of consistency.
“The reason I consider Belle Point a dream job is because I know the students at Belle Point face a particular set of challenges,” Jones said. “Coming from a single-parent household whose never met his father, I feel like I can relate to those kids and I know for a fact what they need more than anything is a consistent, supportive adult in their life.”
Jones, who is projected to complete a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Arkansas Tech University in 2019, said he wants to be that adult in areas where students lack.
Jones is married and has a 4-year-old son.
Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent Doug Brubaker told the school board at its meeting Monday that Jones’ outstanding attributes include “his drive to use data to inform instruction and his commitment to ensuring that all kids experience authentic success.”
Brubaker went on to say that Jones has demonstrated the ability to build rapport with students, faculty, families, and community members and he will “continue to be very valuable in his new leadership role.”
Maria Arnold, former Belle Point Academy director, is relocating to Florida after seven years with the school district and about five at Belle Point.
Formerly called he Belle Point Alternative Center, the school began its first year in 2016 as a part of the New Tech Network (NTN), a design partner based in Napa, Calif., “dedicated to changing how schools teach their students.”
Arnold told the Times Record in 2016 that Belle Point Center: A New Tech Academy is built around four learning outcomes: agency, knowledge and thinking, written and oral communication, and collaboration. It also utilizes project-based learning to teach students how to become effective problem-solvers.
Belle Point had 76 students on Oct. 1. There are 19 certified staff members at the school at 1501 Dodson Ave.