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The Move to Magnet is Official for Marion

Posted Date: 01/22/2018

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Dr. Fenter speaking at the School Board Meeting

The Marion Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday, January 18, on a proposal to adopt magnet school models for three of its schools: Avondale Elementary, Marion Elementary, and Marion Intermediate.


“This means a lot for our school district. There is excitement among the teachers, the students, and parents that we are doing this,” said A. Jan Thomas, Board Chairman.


A thunderous applause of exhilaration ignited the Board Room for the historic vote as dozens stood shoulder to shoulder in anticipation of the new direction for Marion School District.


“This is one of those things that we will look back on and realize that not only was it a major turning point for our district in terms of changing direction, but more importantly, it allowed us to empower our students and their parents with more choices in how they pursue their education,” said Dr. Glen Fenter, Superintendent.


Magnet School models offer a set of opportunities important to the growth of students by integrating curriculum with aligned themes attractive to their academic interests.


By making the move to magnet, Marion School District will become a member of Magnet Schools of America, a non-profit organization that supports over 4,000 magnets schools and 3.5 million students nationwide by assisting with turnaround efforts that improve academic outcomes.


“The best thing about this whole process is the fact that it’s giving our kids and their parents a choice. The opportunities that each school will provide will be impactful for our district,” said Adam O’Neal, who currently serves as principal at Marion Elementary.


“I have been extremely impressed by the quality of people that we have working for our district and the quality of people in our classrooms. My excitement about where we can go and what we can make happen is all predicated on the talent we have and I can assure you we have folks working in our district who are capable of doing anything,” said Fenter.




The school board also voted in favor of the proposed themes, locations, and administrators for each new magnet school.



Visual and Performing Arts

The Visual and Performing Arts magnet program offers a variety of opportunities to

creative youngsters while also stressing the core academics.  The magnet program

includes visual arts, dance, drama, music, strings, and other related

happenings.  Students develop communication skills and have opportunities to

participate in activities such as plays, art exhibits, and major drama and musical


Location: Avondale Elementary School

Administration: Principal: Carissa Lacy; Assistant Principals: Blake Owen, Betsy

Laughter (Long)


Math, Science, and Technology

The Math, Science, and Technology magnet program uses innovative strategies to

engage the inquisitive child. The curriculum offers opportunities for hands-on learning

experiences involving both mathematics and science labs. Children make mathematical

and physical discoveries using models they can touch and manipulate. These programs

focus on problem-solving and logical thinking. The program will be investigative in

nature and will provide opportunities for students to interact with agricultural and

environmental experiments including wellness and animal science activities. Coding,

cybersecurity, 3D printing, drones, and other state of the art STEM (Science,

Technology, Engineering, and Math) based education will be woven into the curriculum

as well.

Location: Marion Intermediate School

Administration: Principal: Alexia Weimer; Assistant Principals: Rafael Smith, Takelia



Global Community    

The Global Community magnet program is highly rigorous and moves at a quicker pace

with high expectations for all students. It provides students with the background and

skills for future career opportunities in the global community and emphasizes

developing leadership in young children. Students frame all learning within a world

perspective while studying about business and law; environmental and biological

sciences; government and public service; diplomacy and international organizations;

media and public relations; and health care and education. All students will also have an

opportunity to learn a second language.

Location: Marion Elementary School

Administration: Principal- Adam O’Neal; Assistant Principal: Shelbi Cole


“I think it’s fantastic. The strength and health of a community rides on the back of the schools and this move will help the entire community and county,” said Tracy Brick, Marion Chamber of Commerce.


Dates are currently being secured for meetings with parents and community members that will provide more information on each school, the registration process, and commonly asked questions.


“I am excited that we are starting this new chapter. This will be wonderful for our schools and Crittenden County. I am thrilled to be able to witness this change. Our kids are going to have a chance to learn and excel in studies that are familiar to them. I think scores will increase and parents will be happy,” said Lisa O’Neal, Realtor.


Please visit  or click below and view the “Questions Answered” video to learn more about Marion Magnet Schools.


Dr. Fenter answers questions about Magnet Schools