My name is Tanya Gardner. I am a long time resident of Shirley and attended school here. I have read a lot of negative things about Shirley Public Schools on Social Media and in local papers and I would like the opportunity to voice my opinion.

My kids are having an amazing school year. They have been greeted by an amazing faculty, staff and administration. My son is enjoying shop class with Mrs. Simms, my daughter is taking AP classes and both are playing sports and making future plans for continuing their education. I believe that our faculty, staff, administration and school board have our children’s safety, education and wellbeing close to their hearts. Our school board is made up of humble giving people. We have all personally witnessed them all give of their time, money to promote our youth and I feel they truly have best intentions to govern our school district. I’m thankful for each of these people and there is not a teacher, staff member, administrator or school board member that deserves to be slandered on social media the way we have all witnessed. I really wish that people would see that spreading rumors is extremely damaging to our communities. And yes, I say RUMORS because as far as I know there are no complaints being heard by the Arkansas Board of Education. Rumors without facts is just libelous, damaging slander. And do we really want to hurt the children, spouses, parents, relatives and friends of people committed to making our school a better place? I pray not.

If anyone wants to make a positive difference, I suggest volunteering your time, giving words of encouragement to every soul in our campuses. There is a time and place for criticism: call the superintendents office, get on the agenda for the next meeting and voice your concerns! But please, don’t spread rumors, or make it look ok to our youth to bash our teachers, staff administration or school board members. I take it personally because Shirley Public Schools raised me. From headstart to 11th grade. Anna Mae Johnson filled my stomach and soul, Mrs. Gloria Renfroe, Betty Clark, Carolyn Tobey, Tyrene Gardner, Coach Benny Brown and Doris Brown have forever impacted my life and to that I am grateful.

I’m sad with the way things are today, but I have faith that things can change. Many of us were raised in a different time. Where your neighbor was your friend that came to hold your hand in your darkest hour, that wanted the best for you and your family and only wished you well. Adults didn’t encourage our youth to be disrespectful and lash out and slander other adults…we are all better than this, our little school community and most importantly our youth need and deserve adults that can show them how to love their neighbors and create a bright, promising drama free future..together!!

Shirley will rise above, Shirley will heal. We must mend our fences, we must be better neighbors, we must not think of our pride and selfish ambitions.

Amazing things are happening at our school, I would like to see our community pool together as one, volunteer, become informed of what’s really happening and promote our school for the treasure it is!


Tanya Gardner

Shirley, Ark.