Drawing on its strong depth of educational leadership, the Marion School District will have four new building principals for the 2023-24 school year. The Marion School Board approved all four hires earlier this spring.
Taking over as principal at Marion High School will be James Scott. Scott is currently the principal at Marion Junior High School; he will replace Mike Skelton, who is moving into an assistant superintendent role with the district.
The role of principal at MJHS, meanwhile, will be filled by Jonathan Crymes. Crymes has been an assistant principal at MHS.
At Marion Math, Science & Technology Magnet, the new principal for 2023-24 will be Chuneka Scott. Scott is currently an assistant principal at Herbert Carter Global Community Magnet. She will replace Ali Weimer, who will move into a role as a district-wide school improvement specialist.
Last, Emily Hall, currently an assistant principal at MHS, will become the first-ever principal at the Marion Seventh Grade Academy. The seventh grade school, which was previously part of MJHS, will be splitting off as a separate school for the 2023-24 school year.
“One of the things we are very proud of here at the Marion School District is the work we do to develop our leadership talent,” said Dr. Glen Fenter, Marion superintendent. “I’ve always said that if you want to have a great school, the first thing you’ve got to have is great talent in the classroom. And we have that here at Marion. But then you’ve also got to work to develop that talent, so you have people who are able to step into the next level, and lead our schools. With this group of individuals, we have that.”
“Every single one of these individuals has proven themselves to be an amazing educator,” Fenter continued. “I look to them to continue, and to build on, the successes we have had at each of our schools over the past several years. These four, along with our continuing principals -- Ms. Betsy Laughter at VPA and Ms. Shelbi Cole at HCGC – give us an incredible group of principals ready to lead our schools to new heights.”
Read on for a closer look at the district’s new principals for 2023-24:
James Scott, Marion High School
Currently the principal at Marion Junior High School, Scott is a native of Monticello, Ark., and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and master’s and specialist degrees from Arkansas State University.
He is bringing 18 years of experience in education to the position, having served as a third grade teacher for seven years in the Pine Bluff School District, an assistant principal for two years in the Stuttgart School District, an elementary and middle school principal for five years in the Westside Consolidated School District, and four years as principal at MJHS.
“I am thrilled to introduce myself as Marion High School principal for the 2023-24 school year,” he said. “With a deep passion for education and a commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the growth and success at the high school. As the MHS principal, I plan to work with the staff to create a school that continuously meets the diverse needs of our students. This will create an environment where every staff member and every student feels valued and supported. I am eager to continue forging strong partnerships with parents, community organizations, and local businesses to enrich the educational experience and broaden opportunities for our students.”
Jonathon Crymes, Marion Junior High School
A Jacksonville, Ark., native, Crymes holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from Arkansas State University.
He has spent the last six years as an assistant principal at Marion High School, having also added the title of assistant athletic director during the past school year. Prior to coming to Marion, served in teaching and coaching positions at Arkansas State University, Mississippi County Christian Academy, DeWitt High School, and West Memphis High School.
"I am extremely honored and blessed to have been chosen to be the principal of Marion Junior High School,” Crymes said. “I can't wait to get into the building and get to work with the great staff that is in place. I'm excited about the opportunity to meet our students and provide them with a chance to attend a school where they can reach their full potential."
Chuneka Scott, Marion Math, Science & Technology Magnet
Scott is a Pine Bluff, Ark., native who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and master’s and specialist degrees from Arkansas State University.
She will bring a wealth of experience to her role at MST, including assistant principal stints at both HCGC and Trumann Elementary. She has also held teaching positions at Trumann, Stuttgart, and Pine Bluff.
“I am honored and delighted to be the new principal of Marion Math, Science & Technology Magnet,” Scott said. “As I step into this role, I bring with me a profound passion for education, a dedication to student success, and an unwavering commitment to fostering a nurturing and inclusive learning environment. Having served as an educator for 20 years, I have witnessed first-hand the transformative power of education. I firmly believe that every child possesses unique talents, abilities, and potential waiting to be unlocked. My foremost goal as the principal is to ensure that each and every student at MST is provided with the opportunity to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. I am filled with anticipation and enthusiasm as we begin this new chapter.”
Emily Hall, Marion Seventh Grade Academy
Hall is a Marion native, who attended school in the Marion School District from kindergarten to 12th grade. After high school, she attended Ouachita Baptist University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education. She later added master’s and specialist degrees.
She began her educational career in Lake Hamilton, where she taught for three years before coming home to Marion. She spent nine years teaching grades 6-9 before moving into the role of school improvement specialist, and then assistant principal, at Marion High School.
“It is a tremendous honor to be able to be the first principal at the Marion Seventh Grade Academy,” Hall said. “Our focus at 7GA will be on building skills that will help us work together with students toward long-term goals like graduation, workforce readiness, citizenship, and creative thinking. I am looking forward to bringing our creative and competent 7GA team together in the next school year to build community and camaraderie among our seventh grade Patriots!”
The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, a seventh grade school, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit https://www.msd3.org/ or call 870-739-5100.