The new principal at Freshman Academy is excited about his new role with the Van Buren School District.

Myron Heckman has replaced Lisa Miller for the start of the 2018-19 school year.

“The Freshman Academy has a lot of things in place,” Heckman said. “It is a good school in a good school system. I don’t believe I will want to change a whole lot, I just need to figure out my role in the process.”

Heckman has eight years of administrative experience, including the past six as an assistant principal at Van Buren High School.

The Fort Smith native first came to the Van Buren School District in 1990 as a seventh-grade basketball coach at Central Middle School before moving to the junior high school the next year.

“My third year in Van Buren, Coleman Junior High School opened and I moved there,” Heckman said. “I had three different positions in my first three years.”

He was at Coleman for 12 years as a girls basketball coach and as an assistant at the high school. He also taught science at Coleman.

“I like to think I was a good science teacher,” Heckman said. “I have always thought teaching was important for a coach.”

In 2005, Heckman became a coach at Ramsey Junior High School in Fort Smith and began his quest to receive his administrative degree. After five years at Ramsey, he moved to Darby Junior High School, also in Fort Smith, as an assistant principal.

“I was fortunate that I got to come back to Van Buren in 2012 as an assistant at the high school,” he said.

Heckman is a graduate of Northside High School and Arkansas Tech University and has a master’s degree from Harding University and a specialist degree from ATU.

His wife, Janet, is a 1979 graduate of Van Buren High School. She is an aide in the computer lab at King Elementary School. The couple’s daughter, Skye, is a 2012 graduate of VBHS.

Heckman said he knows he has some big shoes to fill in replacing Miller as the principal at the Freshman Academy.

“Lisa is replacing Wayne Haver as the principal at Southside High School, who retired after more than 40 years with the Fort Smith School System,” Heckman said. “Lisa did a great job, and I am going to a great school with great staff members, many of whom have been at the Freshman Academy since day one.”

The Freshman Academy serves about 450 students with a staff of about 30.

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, Michael Hensley will be the assistant principal and Kortney Ricketts the counselor.