Board members key to district's growth

January is School Board Recognition Month in Arkansas, and the Marion School District is taking time to show appreciation for its board members.

The seven members of the Marion School District Board of Directors are A. Jan Thomas (president), the Rev. Jeffery Richardson (vice president), Daryel Jackson (secretary), Jerri Crase, Eddie Minton, Rob Rash, and Gary Wehrum.

“I have nothing but the highest regard for these individuals,” said Marion Superintendent Glen Fenter. “Their leadership, guidance, and support is the reason we are able to do the things we are doing. It is an honor to work with folks who are so committed to improving education in the community.”

Fenter said the board’s support is directly responsible for several of the improvements the district has made over the past several years, including the establishment of three magnet elementary schools and the passage of a millage increase. The millage increase has allowed the district to improve school facilities district-wide, enhance campus security, upgrade athletic facilities, make key staff additions, and more. More recently, he said, board members provided crucial support as the district navigated the COVID-19 crisis and established a Virtual School for the 2020-21 school year.

“To have quality schools, you have to have quality leadership with quality vision,” Fenter said. “And this is what our board provides. They know our community, and they know the power of high-quality education.”

Board President A. Jan Thomas, who joined the school board in 1983 and has been board president since 1985, praised the work of his fellow board members, citing the board’s overall stability as a reason for its success.

“We are constantly trying to improve all services for students,” Thomas said. “We are one of the best school districts in east Arkansas. One of the most important things we’ve been able to do is keep a level-headed board at all times. If you have fighting on your board, that drifts down to the schools. That’s not been a problem for us. We have quality people – always have had, always hope to have.”

As public elected school leaders, Marion school board members are empowered by state law to set policy for the district, hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. They are also required to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their roles and responsibilities.

With a growing enrollment of nearly 3,900 students, the Marion School District is committed to helping students develop the academic, social, and decision-making skills needed to become productive citizens in the rapidly changing technological world. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit or call 870-739-5100.