The Union Way
The Union Way is exemplified at the Union High School Freshman Academy by a dynamic staff that consistently makes significant contributions to the lives of our students. We work every day to ensure that our students will have a string academic foundation so they may take full advantage of all Union has to offer. Our goal is that every ninth grader in our building will earn their degree from Union High School. We have a public and private commitment to making 100 percent of our students college and career ready
We are taking powerful steps to eliminate anonymity and isolation and create a culture where collaboration is highly valued and student achievement is the primary focus for all stakeholders. Teachers meet together every Friday morning to continually refine instructional methods, review student work, and evaluate learning. This built in collaboration time allows teachers to be innovative and to constantly enhance our pyramid of intervention for students.
Students at the Union High School Freshman Academy have an incredible learning opportunity every Wednesday called U-Time. This time is built into our schedule as a provision for students to receive instruction in areas such as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) aspects, learning how to calculate GPA, goal setting, time management, and working towards developing an Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP), a process that helps students engage in academic and career development activities and a product that is created and maintained for students’ academic, career and personal advancement.
Research clearly shows that students involved in co-curricular activities have a much greater chance of attaining high test scores and graduating on time. So, in addition to a relevant, rigorous academic curriculum, Union’s ninth graders are exposed to fine arts and athletic programs that are consistently recognized as the best in the state. Students have the opportunity to participate in performing arts such as band, orchestra, and drama, as well as visual arts such as drawing and ceramics. Union’s twenty-three athletic programs are in contention for state titles on a yearly basis and ninth graders are able to participate on competitive teams at the varsity, junior varsity, and ninth grade levels. There is also a comprehensive intramural sports program.
It is vital that Union students begin their high school careers on a positive, successful note. We know that our freshmen have incredible potential and will go on to unparalleled academic, athletic, and artistic success. It is our imperative to never be satisfied. It is our job to produce scholars and citizens that will lead the next generation. It is our job to create champions with character. It is our job to show our students the Union Way.
History and Features
The Union High School Freshman Academy building was built in 1989, and was designated the Union Junior High at the time of opening, then housing the district's eighth and ninth grades. With a change in Union's secondary school education delivery configuration in 1993, the building was renamed Union Intermediate High School, and served ninth and 10th grade students. The Intermediate instructed 2,300 students daily at the time, and added eight new classrooms in 2007. Union reconfigured classes in 2011, and the building became a 9th Grade Center in the fall of 2012 after sophomores moved to the High School campus. It was renamed the Union High School Freshman Academy in 2019.
The Union High School Freshman Academy is a beautiful building and campus which is in constant demand as a site to host special activities for the Union community. Huge craft shows and large athletic tournaments are the norm throughout the year.
The school site features a modern baseball/softball complex, two gymnasiums, a drama theater, a renovated media center, special driver’s education classrooms and other amenities.
Kenneth Moore was named principal of the Union High School Freshman Academy (formerly 9th Grade Center) in 2018. He previously served as assistant principal at the 9th Grade and 6th/7th Grade Center, after coming to Union in 2015. Moore arrived at Union from Coweta High School where he taught Marketing and Web Design. He was active in a wide variety of coaching and leadership positions, as well as spearheading the charge for district-wide technology upgrades and a revamped secondary business curriculum.
Prior to beginning a career in education, Moore was in the private sector for several years, with a focus in business management. He earned his master's degree in educational leadership from Southern Nazarene University, and also holds a degree in economics from the University of Oklahoma. He plans to pursue his doctorate beginning in January of 2020. Moore is married to his beautiful wife, Kristin, and they are parents to four amazing children, Reese, Baylor, Olivia, and Elleanor.
Moore has firmly entrenched himself in "The Union Way," believing every child deserves the chance to be equipped with the resources to fulfill our district mission of 100 Percent Graduation, College and/or Career Ready. He is committed to creating a family-like culture at the Freshman Academy through forming positive, meaningful relationships with our students, their families, our teachers, and members of the surrounding community.
Kevin “Beau” Brannon was named assistant principal at the Union High School Freshman Academy in the summer of 2018. He is beginning his fifth year at Union and his ninth year in education overall. He spent his first six years teaching math and coaching football. He is a 2008 graduate of Muldrow High School where he was an All-State selection at wide receiver before spending a year playing at the University of Tulsa.
He finished his bachelor’s degree in middle childhood education at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in 2012, completed his master’s degree in educational leadership at Arkansas State University in 2016, and completed the superintendent certification program at Northeastern State University in 2020.
Brannon spent his first year at Alma Public Schools in Alma, Arkansas, in 2012 before spending three years at Keys High School in Keys. In the spring of 2016, he joined Union Public Schools, and worked with the “QB’s and RB’s” while teaching Geometry at the High School before making the transition into administration. Brannon and his beautiful wife Caitlyn have been married since May 2013 and have two children, Baker and Collins.
Estella Evans joined Union in 2009 as an administrative intern at the 6th/7th Grade center. She was named assistant principal of the Union High School Freshman Academy in 2011.
Evans came to Union with more than 15 years of experience in public schools at both elementary and middle school level. Evans has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Oral Roberts University and a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning Leadership from Oklahoma State University. Evans has participated in principal’s academy and other curriculum-related committees during her tenure as an educator.