Academy of Scholars inducts three

— From left: Amanda Jones, Shannon Curtin and Joyce Craft

Henderson State University inducted three alumni into the Academy of Scholars Aug. 25 during a convocation ceremony in Arkansas Hall. The Academy is comprised of Henderson graduates who have gained distinction in their professional fields. Faculty excellence awards were also presented.

Joining the academy this year are Amanda Smith Jones, Joyce Littleton Craft, and Shannon Curtin.

Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones has been an educator for 15 years and currently teaches at Poyen High School. She was most recently invited to the White House to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, which is the highest honor for math and science teaching.

Jones, who graduated summa cum laude from Henderson with a biology degree, was named Arkansas’s Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year in 2012, and Grant County Teacher of the Year in 2005. She served as Arkansas Senior Beta Club State Sponsor from 2013-2015.

Jones has collaborated with Vanderbilt University’s Aspirnaut Program to build an on-site afterschool science program for students in third grade through high school. She also mentors the robotics team and spearheads the Poyen Academic Banquet. Jones developed an ACT prep course for students and works closely with participants to prepare them for college.

She earned her M.Ed. in secondary education and science curriculum from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she received the dean’s award.

Joyce Craft

Joyce Craft is currently transitioning from superintendent of the Hot Springs School District to retirement. She began her educational career with the Hot Springs School District as a classroom teacher and went on to become an assistant principal, interim principal, interim director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences, and assistant superintendent. She was named superintendent in 2007.

Craft holds a master’s degree from Henderson State, and bachelor of science degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She continued graduate studies at Memphis State University, UALR, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and Ouachita Baptist University.

Craft is active in many community and civic organizations, as well as state level professional organizations.

Shannon Curtin

Shannon Curtin is group vice president and general merchandising manager for beauty and personal care at Walgreens corporate headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois. Curtin’s team is responsible for purchasing the beauty and personal care merchandise for Walgreen’s 8,229 stores.

Curtin, who earned a B.A. in business from Henderson State in 1999, joined Walgreens in 2009 after working for Walmart in Bentonville. She began her beauty career selling prestige fragrance in her hometown department store. Since then, she has held numerous merchandising positions.

Curtin serves on the board of CEW, and is a member of the Chicago Art Institute Auxiliary Board. In 2013, Beauty Inc. named Curtin one of its “Top 40 under 40,” and MMR noted her as one of the “Most Influential Women in Retail,” both in 2013 and 2014.

Diversity Magazine named Curtin to its 2014 Women Worth Watching List, and she was named one of the “50 Most Influential People in Beauty” by Women’s Wear Daily.