Life Comes Full Circle for Dr. Hinkle and AP Kursh


Back in the early 1990s, Dr. Shawn Hinkle calculated equations in Mr. Kennedy’s Math class here. Ten years later, Ms. Marian Kursh read Romeo & Juliet in Mrs. Springs’s 9th grade English class and studied keyboarding with Ms. Putman. AP Kursh also honed her basketball skills under the guidance of Coaches Laura Davis and Regina Thompson.

After leaving Kimmons as a student and graduating from Northside High School (NHS), Dr. Hinkle earned a bachelor’s degree in Math Education from Arkansas Tech University. One surprising fact is that he played tuba in the ATU’s Band of Distinction! Dr. Hinkle chose to return here where he led the math lessons to Raiders in Algebra, Pre-AP Algebra, and Geometry for fifteen years. By 2016, he transitioned to assistant principal at Darby Middle School. Later, he returned to ATU and earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Now, he leads Kimmons as principal.

“What I like best about being back at Kimmons is having the opportunity to serve the students and staff in the community in which I grew up in and at the school which provided me with a foundation,” Dr. Hinkle said.

Upon graduating NHS, Ms. Kursh earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Speech Pathology from The University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She went on to earn two master’s degrees from Arkansas Tech University — one in teaching and the other in special education. For eight years, AP Kursh taught special education and coached girls’ basketball — six of those at Jacksonville High School and one at Ramsey Junior High. She even led her eStem Public Charter High School team to becoming State 3A champions! Later, Ms. Kursh earned an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership (EdS) from Arkansas State University.

“I like being back at Kimmons because I am giving back in the same building that I had a great experience in,” AP Kursh said. “I like being able to relate to the kids and grow in my new professional role.”

Dr. Hinkle is not sure if it was one single person or event that inspired him to become a principal.

“I just knew that in order to impact change on a larger scale, I needed to increase my capacity to do so,” Dr. Hinkle said.

As for AP Kursh, her first principal at eStem Charter High School, Ruthie Walls, encouraged her to become a principal. Ms. Kursh expressed doubt, but Principal Walls had faith.

“A couple of years later, I decided to complete my course work and transition into admin once I wanted to leave coaching,” AP Kursh said. “Principal Walls motived me to make a transition that I didn’t think I could make at such at a young age.”

Serving as an administrator comes with challenges. For Dr. Hinkle, knowing what he must do and what he can delegate has been his biggest obstacle in his first year as a principal.

“My plate is so full, and I have to learn to share the workload,” Dr. Hinkle said.

Wanting to fix every situation is AP Kursh’s biggest challenge in her first year as an assistant principal.

“I care a great deal about students and can’t always fix their situations for different reasons,” AP Kursh said. “As a coach, I was used to working long days. Those still exist in administration, but it is a bit different. There are a number of responsibilities that include more than just the students, so finding balance is a challenge I am learning to overcome.”

Aside from difficulties, administrators also experience memorable moments. Greeting the incoming 6th grade class at their Transition for Success back in August is Dr. Hinkle’s most unforgettable – unforgivable – moment as a principal.

“I addressed the students as ‘Kimmons Rangers’ – so embarrassing!” Dr. Hinkle said.

Running into so many of her classmates’ children or family members are AP Kursh’s favorite moments as assistant principal.

“It is funny to make a call and realize I already know who I am talking to,” AP Kursh said.

Outside of school, Dr. Hinkle enjoys mowing yards.

“The satisfaction of a nicely-mowed yard brings about an accomplished feeling,” Dr. Hinkle said.

Spending time with her loved ones, traveling, and attending basketball games are what AP Kursh likes doing with her free time.

“I am a homebody and enjoy cleaning and organizing,” Ms. Kursh said. “It is therapeutic for me.”