Cohort III

Theresa Baker

Baker, TheresaTheresa is an administrator at Carroll County Learning Center, an organization that serves children birth-5 with developmental delays. She oversees over 70 employees at multiple locations, serves as due process liaison for state agencies and coordinates transition services to public schools. She is a certified trainer and often presents trainings around the state.  She received her Master’s degree in Special Education from UCA. She is committed to cultivating the development of her staff and advocating for the early childhood profession as a whole.

Kris Bertelsen

Kris Bertelsen PhotoKris Bertelsen is an Economic Education Specialist with the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Prior to joining the Fed in 2011, Kris was a high school economics teacher in St. Charles, MN. He graduated from St. Cloud State University and earned his master’s in Economic Education and Entrepreneurship from the University of Delaware. Kris has served on various boards and committees including the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, the 2012 National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] economics assessment writing committee, Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education [AGATE], and the Arkansas Jump$tart coalition.

Jack Boles

 Jacks BioJack Boles is a retired 4-H Program Specialist of the University Of Arkansas Division Of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. During his career with Extension, he worked in a variety of positions: agriculture agent, state environmental management specialist and county staff chairman to name a few. Jack has also had the opportunity to work with the native Indonesian Dayak tribes of Borneo and the Khmer people of Cambodia addressing issues ranging from forest degradation to human trafficking. Participation in these programs has developed into a personal passion for international development, and has provided him with a unique insight into issues faced by an international audience. Jack’s research interest is aimed at youth leadership development. He believes as youth leadership models are developed, implemented and expanded to an international audience, the result will be an improved quality of life on a global scale.

Sara Brown

Sara BrownSara is the Director of Development at National Park Community College.  She began her career in higher education at NPCC in 2006 as the Assistant Director of Admissions, Scholarships, and Recruitment, then moved to the Assistant Director of Financial Aid until September 2013. Sara holds a Bachelor in Business Administration in Accounting and Master of Business Administration from Henderson State University. She is an active member of the Hot Springs National Park Rotary Club, Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Accreditation Taskforce, Leadership Hot Springs, Garland County Single Parent Committee, and the Oaklawn Foundation Education Committee. She is an advocate for higher education and enjoys volunteering, spending time with her family, traveling, and fitness training. Sara and her husband, Jeremy, have two children, Abigail, 7, and Zachary, 4.

Sara has enjoyed working with the students and faculty in the Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies Ph.D. program.  She feels that the LEAD program is helping prepare her for future roles in higher education administration. Sara is participating in the TAFF Project and is scheduled to presented at the 2014 International Leadership Association (ILA) conference in San Diego.

Ferris Delph-Jackson

FerrisDelphJacksonFerris Delph-Jackson is currently an administrator serving the Conway Public School District and has worked in the field of education for going on 15 years. Ferris has taught grades 3-12 in Little Rock and Conway, Arkansas, and has presented at different educational conferences within and out of state, promoting her passion to strive daily to be an uncompromising advocate for student achievement. Within her educational career, she has served as a teacher, library media specialist, and now an assistant principal.  Ferris earned her Bachelor of Science in Education; Master of Science in Special Education Curriculum and Instructional Specialist; Master of Science in Library Media and Information Technology; Educational Specialist in Education Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Central Arkansas and also completed a program of study in Education Leadership from Harding University.

Ferris believes this PhD program will guide her in establishing connections between the different sectors found within the community while developing a collaborative design to promote citizenship and social responsibility.  Ferris has taken to heart one of the prominent symbols of her school district, established by the district’s Superintendent, Dr. Greg Murry, “Every Child, Every Day, Whatever it takes.” and believes strongly this philosophy has the ability  to be applicable to different sectors within the community.

Leah Horton

Leah HortonLeah Horton is a career science educator, with experience in K-12 and higher education. Her current research interest seeks to combine her passion for science education and service-learning, which led her to co-develop the “Science and Society in Rwanda” study abroad program. Leah is currently a Lecturer I and Assistant Chair of the Biology Department at UCA and was the first Resident Master of the STEM Residential College. She is an UCA alumna, earning a BS in Chemistry, as well as a MS from Emory University in biochemistry, cell, and developmental biology.

Matthew Jackson

Matthew JacksonAffectionately called Matt by friends and family, Matthew Jackson originally hails from Preston, Mississippi, but now considers Little Rock his home. He currently serves as the Information Technology Specialist for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development – Little Rock Field Office. He earned both his BS in Business Administration and MBA from William Carey University, as well as a Master of Information Technology from Grantham University.

Prior to his current position, Matt has worked in many fields, including military, retail, marketing, non-profit, recruiting, and government contracting. He was initiated into Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated in 2008 and has served as the Hattiesburg, MS alumni chapter president, vice president, and financial secretary.

Matt and his family spend their free time traveling, visiting museums, and watching sports. Matt’s thirst for education and mentoring of others are sources of his motivation, as he believes that anyone who stays the course and never gives up can accomplish anything.

Henry Jones

Henry JonesHenry Jones was born and raised in the MIGHTY Mississippi Delta (Clarksdale). He always had a passion for social justice; however, while attending Tennessee State University, he changed his outlook on life. Ten days after graduating college, Henry began union organizing at Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Since then he has worked tirelessly in community organizing across the state of Tennessee around issues such as environmental justice, poverty, education, and equal housing. For a young man, he is an OG organizer, dedicating over 12 years to movement building. Henry currently serves as Regional Campaign Director at Parent Revolution.

Cara Knight

CaraCara completed her degree in English and Creative Writing Education from Arkansas Tech University in 2007. She taught English for two and a half years at a rural high school in central Arkansas.

While teaching, she developed a passion for higher education and returned to Arkansas Tech University in 2010 to work in the Office of Admissions as a recruiter, to encourage students in Arkansas and Oklahoma to pursue a degree.  After completing her Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel, she transitioned to Student Services at Arkansas Tech University.

Most recently, Cara has made another move to the Academic Advising Center, where she will serve as an advisor for the College of Education.  She satisfies her passion for teaching through experiences with Upward Bound and as an adjunct instructor.

Emily Lane

Emily LaneEmily Lane is a lifetime Arkansan who is fascinated by human nature, spirituality, and the interconnectedness of life; these fascinations drove her desires to become a filmmaker. She holds a master’s degree in digital filmmaking, and in her spare time, she focuses on documenting environmental injustice in the state. Currently, Emily serves as the project manager for program evaluations at the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission. She also is an Adjunct Instructor at UCA in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. 

Courtney Mullen

CourtneyMullen2012Originally from Farmington, AR, Courtney relocated to the River Valley area in 2004 to complete her undergraduate degree in Speech Communication and Journalism: Public Relations from Arkansas Tech University. She later completed her Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel from her alma mater.

Courtney currently serves as Director of Admissions at the University of Central Arkansas.  Formerly she served as the Director of Graduate Support Services in the Arkansas Tech University Graduate College.  She has worked in higher education for seven years, with experience in undergraduate admissions, Upward Bound, and adjunct teaching.

Courtney has a passion to serve students in their pursuit of higher education.  She feels the Ph.D. in Leadership is a perfect fit to provide her with the knowledge and skills to aid students, and influence the realm of higher education for the betterment of the state.

Noah Washburn

Noah Washburn pic 1Noah Washburn is the Program Director for the 4-H Youth Development component of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.  His career started in Louisiana where he worked as a 4-H agent, agriculture agent, and parish chair with the LSU AgCenter Extension Service. After 20 years in Louisiana, he came to Arkansas to work as a County Extension Agent – Staff Chair in Union County. He soon advanced to serve as Associate District Director, where he provided administrative leadership to agents in 25 southwest Arkansas counties. Noah earned both a BS and MS from Louisiana Tech University where he specialized in animal and equine science. He and his wife Lisa live in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Shannon Williams

Shannon Williams HeadshotShannon, a native of Lake Village, Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Criminal Justice, Speech Communication, and Sociology; and a Master of Arts in Higher Education. Currently, he is the Retention Counselor for the University of Central Arkansas’s Partnership for Transition to Teaching (P3T) Program.

Shannon is Past President of Arkansas Academic Advising Network (ArkAAN). He is the co-founder of the Lakeside High School Class of 2006 Scholarship Initiative in Lake Village, which awards annual scholarships to youth pursuing post-secondary education. Shannon is a re-charter member of the Eta Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, seated in Monticello, where he serves as Director of Membership Intake and Parliamentarian. Shannon anticipates the PhD in Interdisciplinary Leadership will equip him with the knowledge and expertise to respond to the needs of Arkansans, specifically youth and underrepresented populations, and help move the state forward through education.