Academy of Arts at Bella Vista

Vision: In order to prepare our students for Middle School, build confidence and independence, and empower them to become life-long learners and productive citizens, our educators will provide a safe and respectful multi-cultural environment that includes both educator and student accountability measures to promote student success.




Cameo Elementary School began in 1971 when teachers came from the old La Casita to teach at Cameo. The grades were from 1st to 6th. There were four classes for 1st Grade and three classes each for 2nd through 6th. They offered one Special Education class. The first principal of Cameo was Mr. Danny Mitchell. He was principal from 1971 until 1986. The first secretary was Mrs.Ruth Snipes. There were many exciting things that went on here at Cameo during the first years. The Cameo school mascot was a Cricket. They were big supporters of the Clovis High School Wildcats. The lunchroom workers would invite the CHS football and basketball players to have lunch with the students on game day and they would have a pep rally to get them excited about the game. Two of the teachers that taught school during the beginning years of Cameo are substitutes for our teachers today. Their names are Wilma Ploudre and Jerry Lou Franse.


Mr. Dale Paul became the principal in 1986 and continued through 1991. He set a good example for the students by writing a, poem for the grade levels to help them make good decisions at school. The poem called "Good Decisions", that he wrote was part of a school wide effort to encourage children to recognize the importance of making good decisions. It was initiated in the office and incorporated into every classroom. There was a "Good Decision Club" that every student could be a part of. He had membership cards printed up that had a poem on the back. If the children memorized the poem they would get a membership card. The teachers posted posters that said "Make Good Decisions!" When students were disciplined, we would ask, "Did you make a good decision?" Mr. Paul says that it got to the point that often when students came into his office for discipline, the first thing that they would say upon entering is "I'm sorry Mr. Paul, I made a bad decision." At the beginning of each year, he talked to the students in an assembly about the decisions that they make while they are at school.


Tina Krattiger (Morris) became principal in 1991. She was the principal of Cameo until 2000. She taught Kindergarten, 2nd and 4th grade here at Cameo for many years before she became principal. She spent 17 years here at Cameo. There are many stories and exciting things that happened here during her time as principal.In 1992, many of the students, especially the boys, began to grumble about being called the Crickets. It seems the little league football players were being called names by other teams and didn't like the "weak image" of crickets. They allowed the upper grade level classes to submit other suggested names. The names were placed on a ballot and the entire school was allowed to vote: the Cougars were born! It was a fun project that helped create unity and school spirit. The hand mural that is in our main hallway was painted during Mrs. Krattiger's time at Cameo. The district theme during the year was "We Grow as We Go." Anna Eskridge and Ninetta Warrior-Brown involved every student in the school with this project. Everyone in the school was able to put their hand in paint and place it on the wall to be apart of the mural. It turned out beautiful and everyone had so much fun. They also did some different things while she was principal. They performed portfolio assessments on students. It came about due to staff concerns about the discrepancies between data from report cards and the data from the competency cards. A student could demonstrate mastery of all the required competencies for a nine week period, but end up with a poor grade on a report card. After much research and many meetings with staff, we decided to replace report cards with portfolios, more frequent parent/teacher/student conferences and anecdotal records. It was a lengthy process involving lots of meetings with staff and parents. Once everyone decided that they wanted to go this route, we took it to the board to request variances from board policy. It was approved! The conversation became one between parents and students rather than judgment calls on the part of the teacher that could sometimes be misinterpreted or challenged by parents.

Mrs. Krattiger describes her time as principal of Cameo to be a time of creating a trusting relationship between all partners. We built a talented, cohesive staff that was highly regarded and valued. Various teaching styles were recognized as valuable so that the new teachers taught with newer methods right next door to the more experienced teacher who used more traditional methods. This made comprehensive K-6 education at Cameo a well-rounded and diverse experience. It was a time when technology was becoming a necessary tool for teaching and learning. It was a time when literacy programs were being closely watched and discussed. The era of standardized testing success was upon us. We treasured each student and the individuality they brought to our school. We respected all of our parents and recognized that they all wanted a top-notch education for their child.


Nancy Sides became the principal in 2000 and remained until 2002. She was also a teacher at Cameo before she became principal. During her two years here, she had an appreciation luncheon for the retired teachers of Cameo. It was a nice time for the teachers to reminisce of their time here at Cameo.


Carrie Nigreville became principal in the year 2002. We have done many exciting things while she has been principal. On September 11, 2002, we invited local fireman and police officers to have lunch with our students. We decorated the lunch room and the children enjoyed meeting local heroes. We had two fundraiser's during 2002 to raise money for new school bleachers. Our students did a great job with the fundraiser's and worked hard to raise money for the bleachers. They were purchased and installed during our fall semester of 2003. We have enjoyed using them this year! In the Fall of 2004 we adopted the Triple "A" Way! Where students are Always Safe, Always Responsible, Always Respectful! The new discipline policy is designed to increase positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors at our school. We have also purchased a new sign for the front of the school. As soon as it is up I'll have pictures of it on this site.


Michelle Southard became the Principal in 2007. We implemented a two hour Literacy Block every morning. Every person in our school is helping to teach literacy during that time. We are saving every possible instructional moment so that our teachers have the time they need to help our students succeed academically. We began our year with 9 new faculty members. The new teachers are so excited and fired up to make their mark on Cameo kids. We ordered green and gold jerseys for all of the staff and had their names printed on the backs. They were a huge hit. Lots of kids and parents wanted a jersey. We will continue to work as a team. We will own the successes and failures of all Cameo students from this moment on.


Tony Igo was named Principal at Cameo in May 2008. Julie Howell will be the new Instructional Coach. Current plans include continuing the 2 hour literacy block to increase our Reading and Math Skills. A Good Citizenship Program has been implemented along with renewed efforts in promoting the PBS behavior model.


Mike Read was named Principal at Cameo in May 2015.