BY JACLYN ROSE –
Born and raised in neighboring Montgomery County, Benny Weston graduated from Mt. Ida High School in 1979. He then went on to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education from Arkansas Tech University.
Weston began his career in education by coaching football in Harrisburg, Arkansas for one year before his father was injured in a logging accident that required Weston to move home to Mt. Ida and assist in the family business. One year later, he was hired as the Mt. Ida Football Coach where he stayed until 1991. After his wife was transferred to Fort Smith, Weston began coaching and teaching science in Greenwood, Arkansas, where he also started commuting to the University of Arkansas to complete his Masters in Education Administration. In 1998, Weston was hired once again by his hometown school district and he became the Superintendent of Mt. Ida Public Schools where he stayed until moving to Mena Public Schools as Superintendent in 2012. “I am what I am because of public education. I was influenced tremendously by fantastic teachers while at Mt. Ida. I was fortunate to have success in high school and I looked up to my teachers and thought, ‘one day I want to do that.’ I can’t say that one teacher influenced me more than the others, they all had a part,” explained Weston. “I was fortunate again to have success while coaching and I had many positive role models in Greenwood that encouraged me to complete my masters degree and that’s why I went in to administration.”
Weston met his wife, Sherry, while in high school but he did not ask her on a date until he was coaching and teaching in Mt. Ida. “I was teaching Social Studies and Sherry was a UPS driver. She would bring in packages and I knew she had a cousin who was a senior in high school and would be attending prom. As the junior class sponsor we put on prom so I asked her to go with me. So, six to seven years after our prom, our first date was to someone else’s prom,” Weston said with a smile.
The couple has now been married 27 years and they have two children: Brittany, a recently married Speech Pathologist in Greenwood and Kevin, an upcoming sophomore at Arkansas Tech University. “I love the day to day communication of parenting. There is always something going on and something to deal with,” said Weston.
“The people of Western Arkansas are the best people anywhere. And the people in Polk County are great to work with. Mena Public Schools have some of the best and finest professional educators anywhere, and I’ve been to many different places. Our strength is in our people and when you combine that with our fantastic facilities, wow! I want Mena Public Schools to be the #1 4A school in the state of Arkansas, in all areas. That is my goal. You have to get up early to make that happen and keep going and strive to be the best. That is why T.E.A.M Mena is such and important concept. It requires buy in from not only the staff but the students and the community. That is what we are striving for,” Weston explained.
“I believe that family is everything, not only our actual family but our church family and our school family,” explained Weston. “You have to balance those to achieve goals with all of them. As long as we do that and put God first we will be successful. Every move I’ve made in my career I have made because I believe it is the Lord’s will. That is why I’m here.”