There are quiet, unassuming people that come into your life that play a significant part in your growth as a person. These people lead by phenomenal example and tireless dedication. My life was blessed to have Dr. Karen Endel enter my world several years ago when we served together on an educational committee. A few years later, our paths crossed again and I was fortunate enough to become part of her staff at Butterfield Trail Middle School. Her knowledge of education, technology and the world blend together to produce a leader that guides her staff, the parents, and the students in the direction of the future. She constantly is concerned with what is best for the students and not concerned with what the latest fad or trend may be. She stands up for what is right and always has her facts in order to prove her case.

Life passes us by quickly and with each end of a chapter comes change. To prepare for these life changes, tough decisions must be made. After being employed with the Van Buren School District for many years, an opportunity came my way to join the Fort Smith Public School system beginning in the fall of 2015. When one is content with their current setting and highly respects their peers, this is a monumental decision and one that takes much thought and prayer. However, one must do what is best for his or her future. As I prepare for my new journey into a new chapter in my life, I am thankful for the outstanding leader I have witnessed in Dr. Karen Endel. She has set the bar high for me to try and duplicate her professionalism.

I am leaving another great administrator, assistant principal Johnny Williams, who is an integral part of the team. The entire faculty and staff at Butterfield Trail Middle School has a climate of devotion and dedication to education and to students. People pull together constantly to assist and help one another at school and personally. Dr. Endel’s mantra is that she is not the lone leader, but everyone is a leader of something. Her sharing of the spotlight is what makes being a part of Butterfield Trail Middle School so amazing.

Last, but certainly not least, is Ms. Beverly Fears, my teaching partner while at BTMS. When I came to Butterfield as a student in 1975, then Van Buren Junior High School, Ms. Fears was a home economics teacher and it always amazed me how students flocked to her and to her room. I never had her for a teacher, but knew many that did and listened to the endless stories of how she made a difference in their lives. Almost 40 years later, I was blessed to be her teaching partner. I learned from "the best," and developed a friendship that will last our lifetime. Ms. Fears leads by example as well, and her tireless devotion to students is contagious.

As I say my goodbyes, I am truly blessed to have been a small part of BTMS. I am leaving behind a well-oiled machine that has great people working on great minds and doing what is best for students and their futures. Thank you Dr. Endel and the entire staff for being tremendous assets to a community that my family has called home for many generations. There is no place like Butterfield Trail Middle School, and I will miss you all greatly!

Steve Marion

Van Buren