March 2018

VA Shout Out!

Rhonda Williams, English Instructor for our Concurrent Campus! She recently was the featured speaker at Literacy Night at Hermitage High School where she was asked to share ideas for strengthening literacy skills, preparing students for college-level literacy classes, and was able to share the recent book she authored, The Naming of Girl.

Congratulations Ms. Williams!

Facilitator of the Month

Mrs. Rayanne Thomason

Sparkman High School

Tell us a little about your family:

I am married to a wonderful, Christian man named Michael Thomason. We have been married for 5 years. We have a precious, wild little boy named Braden Thomason. He is 4 years old and is a complete JOY. We are expecting another sweet baby in October 2018! I am very close to my family. My mama and younger sister are two of my very best friends. I am blessed!

Position at Virtual Arkansas:

9th and 10th grade Facilitator at Sparkman High School


I graduated from Sparkman High School in 2004. I then went on to Henderson State University and graduated from there in December of 2008.

Where did you grow up?

Sparkman, Arkansas

Why did you decide to work in education?

I decided to become a teacher because I love kids. I love being around them. I love helping them. I truly want to make a difference in the world and be a "happy place" for the kids around me. I think back on the teachers I had growing up and the impact they had on me....and I want to make that same impact!

What is the best part about being a facilitator?

I'm just going to be honest, the best part about being a facilitator is having the summers off. :)

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Never give up on your dreams!

Student of the Month

Gavin Shapiro

White Hall School District

"Gavin Shapiro is a member of his school's ROTC program which helps develop strong leadership skills. Gavin exhibits this by leading assignment work groups and advocating for his learning of content. It is rare that Gavin misses a Zoom session and often communicates through messages to verify his understanding of challenging topics. He often asks questions that advance inquiry skills beyond course content. Gavin is an example of student-lead learning in this way.

Gavin has been accepted into West Point, awarded the Superior Cadet award twice, has been awarded the Douglas MacArthur Central AR West Point Society award for leadership, American Legion Scholastic Excellence Award, Boys State, Naval Academy Summer Seminar, Quiz Bowl captain, Debate Co-Captain, Beta Club Historian, Team Court Officer, enjoys hunting and fishing, video games and doing Excel spreadsheets."

Nominated by: Leslie Frewert, Virtual Arkansas Science Teacher

Teacher of the Month

Mrs. Leesa Potts

CTE Campus

Tell us a little about your family:

My husband and I met in college at Arkansas Tech. We have been married for 12 years. We enjoy traveling and gardening together. Recently, we had the chance to go to Hawaii. To grow our family, we have been hosting exchange students. We have hosted students from Hong Kong, Costa Rica and Thailand. We love our international family and hope to travel to each of those counties soon.

In my free time, I like to read, watch movies and shop for bargains.

Position at Virtual Arkansas:

Business Teacher


Arkansas Tech University for dual degree in Business Education and Marketing. UALR for Master's in Educational Technology.

Where did you grow up?

Keller, Texas

Why did you become a teacher?

I grew up playing school with my stuffed animals. I was always the teacher and I guess I have always known that I wanted to teach. I became a teacher because it is challenging and rewarding. As a teacher, I hope I am able to inspire, encourage and motivate my students.

What is the best part about being a teacher?

Getting to know my students is the best part of being a teacher. I love working with students all over the state of Arkansas. Every school and every student is unique. Also, I love hearing from former students as they move onto college and careers.

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Keep your head up - stay positive, plan ahead, persevere, and then be patient.