A retired elementary school teacher, Janna Sue Newton was inspired to be a teacher by her aunt, who taught first grade for 40 years in a small rural school district. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Arkansas Tech University in 1965 and immediately began teaching at the Fort Smith School District, where she remained until her retirement in 2005. Over the years, she taught first, second, third and fifth grade; provided her expertise in curriculum development on state and local levels; and served on the elementary council of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1993 to 1999. She is also member of Childhood Education International, where she spent time on the board of directors in 1965 and was active as the Arkansas teachers’ representative for the organization.
When Ms. Newton first started teaching there were no separate special education classrooms and only one speech therapist to serve 22 schools, leaving much of the day-to-day work with special needs students to the teachers. Being able to help her students, particularly those with special needs, was the greatest achievement of her career. Furthermore, she was always very proud to see so many of her students graduate from high school and go on to build successful lives for themselves. Watching her students succeed was truly a highlight of her career.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Newton has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Notably, she was presented with the Lifetime PTA Member Award, which was a particular point of pride for her as it recognized the impact she had made on her profession and the help she had given her students and children over the years as well. She was also the recipient of the State Textbook Committee Award in 1992 and the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement, the highest honor conferred by Marquis Who’s Who.
Born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to father Ivor Eugene Hill and mother Anne Elise Martin, Ms. Newton spent 51 happy years married to her late husband, Albert Lee Newton. Together they were the proud parents of two children, Penelope S. and Hunter Lee, and grandparents to two grandchildren, Madalyn and Fischer. In her free time, Ms. Newston enjoys gardening, yard work and planting flowers as well as traveling to Alaska.