Cohort I

Michael Blanchett

Michael formerly served as the Professional Adult College Education (PACE) Department Chair and Director of Central Baptist College’s Online Studies in Conway, AR.  He was employed by CBC for over ten years.  In this role, he lead and directed the strategic planning, vision and academic growth of the accelerated PACE Department at the school.  Michael was CBC’s point of contact for the Service Member’s Opportunity College (SOC) Program, and he was also an adjunct instructor at CBC in such subjects as Marketing, Management and Economics.  Currently, Michael is focusing on his studies in the LEAD program.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys walking, bicycle riding, and playing chess.  On Tuesdays and Fridays of each week, he likes to practice being an active vegan.  Michael is also an active member of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR.  He plans on completing his first 1/2 marathon this year.

Kristy Carter

Kristy Carter is the Executive Director for the Division of Outreach and Community Engagement at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA).  She started her career in higher education as a program coordinator for Outreach in 2006.  As Executive Director, Mrs. Carter provides leadership to connect the campus with the community through a variety of community engagement services offered through the university.

Before UCA, Kristy was a business teacher for the Arkansas Department of Education’s Distance Learning Center in Maumelle. She earned a Masters of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is currently a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership at UCA.

Carter is an Executive Board Member for both the Arkansas Distance Learning Association and Arkansas Council for Women in Higher Education (ACWHE).  As President of ACWHE, she increased membership to nearly 500 and raised funds to support the organization’s fiscal health.  Now, Kristy is the state coordinator for the national office for Women in Higher Education out of Washington, D.C.  In addition, Carter serves on the Business Advisory Council for Central Baptist College in Conway and is a member of the Arkansas Community Development Society.

Mrs. Carter is a mentor for multicultural students at UCA. She served as a UCA Staff Senator and was nominated for UCA Employee of the year. Kristy also volunteers her time and talents to minority small business owners and entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations on rebranding and marketing initiatives.

Kristy is a native Arkansan and currently resides in Conway with her husband, Therman, and daughter, Armani.

Mara Cawein

With a BS in Math and an MSE in Math Education from UCA, Mara looks forward to earning a doctoral degree from UCA in Leadership Studies. Mara was born in Hamilton, Ohio and currently lives in Morrilton with her husband, David, vice-president of Green Bay Packaging, Inc. They have three children and eleven grandchildren. Her hobbies include church work, community involvement, and active vacations, which have included an ocean kayak trip out of British Columbia and a bicycle ride across Missouri on the KATY trail.

The Ph.D. program has helped to inform and expand on the leadership activities in which she participates. She has held a state office in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and also in the Arkansas Teachers for National Board Certification (ATNBC). She also leads the UCA chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) with Dr. Nancy Gallavan. KDP is an international honor society for educators at all stages of their career. Mara will take part in two presentations at KDP’s convocation in Dallas this fall, October 2013. She has also worked with Dr. Patty Phelps and had a chapter proposal accepted for a book, Perspectives on Teacher Leadership, which is due to be published in 2014.

She currently works at UCA as a Level II Clinical Instructor in the College of Education. She teaches undergraduate courses for education majors and national board classes for the Advanced Studies in Teacher Leadership (ASTL) master’s program. She is also part of the Women’s Research Group that is assisting the Women’s Foundation in Arkansas. Mara says, “The doctoral program has really opened my eyes to the importance of leadership in every organization. My coursework has allowed me to look more closely at leadership in education, and allowed me to do research at my favorite school, Morrilton High School, where I taught math for 13 years and achieved national board certification in 2003.”

Malcolm Glover

Malcolm is a longtime journalist and certified conflict mediator. Malcolm also produces the award-winning Impact of War series that highlights the struggles and triumphs of military veterans. “As a news reporter, I listen closely to what people are saying and try to discern fact from fiction,” Malcolm said. “The Leadership PhD program at UCA has aided my understanding of the actions and motivations of leaders and their followers.”

Malcolm’s reporting has been lauded by several media organizations including the Associated Press and the Alliance for Women in Media. Additionally, he appears regularly on AETN’s Arkansas Week, where a group of journalists discuss issues in the news. In 2012, Malcolm made Arkansas Business’ list of “The New Influentials: 20 In Their 20s.” Malcolm was an MTV News correspondent for the Emmy award-winning “Street Team ’08” coverage of the 2008 presidential election and he served as a production assistant for the MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews program. “Students who have extensive leadership experience in diverse fields, both in the U.S. and abroad, are in this innovative program,” said Malcolm. “Through our assignments, courses, and conversations we learn from professors and each other the tools and techniques necessary to help teams overcome obstacles and support organizational efforts to fulfill a mission.”

Currently Malcolm is the Communications Director and Delta Veterans Program Coordinator at ARVets.

Malcolm has traveled the world and completed humanitarian projects with nonprofit organizations in the Sudan, Egypt, Kenya, Israel, China, Belize, and Brazil. He has toured war zones; lived in a refugee camp; walked on the Great Wall of China; sailed on the Sea of Galilee; and trekked through ancient Mayan ruins. Malcolm grew up in Maryland and is a graduate of Florida A&M University, the Clinton School of Public Service, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. While at UCA, he has given presentations on communication strategies for organizations and mediation techniques that resolve cultural conflicts within institutions. Malcolm is also working on research that explores the ways education attainment can improve the economic wellbeing of Arkansas women.

Damond Jackson

damond1Damond often tells people that he developed largely out of four pivotal environments: the Country, the Church, the Projects, and the Academy. His education includes: Post-Graduate Clinical Pastoral Education at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and General Studies at University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a Board Certified Clinically Trained Minister, Clinical Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor.

Damond’s employment history includes: Conway Regional Hospital, Faith United Church of Christ, Trinity Outreach Center, Youth Care and Beyond, TD Ameritrade, The Salvation Army, AFLAC, Christ Urban Ministry Center and Christian Open Door Church. Among his community service involvements are: Conway Cradle Care, The Living Affected Corp., Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, Nebraska AIDS Project, and His Way Homes.

Some of his professional leadership initiatives include: starting a tutoring service for children in Jackson, MS; founding a mentoring program for children and youth in Crystal Springs, MS; implementing an intercultural outreach program for inner city youth and co-coordinating an outreach program for Sudanese refugees in Omaha, NE; starting a Hip-Hop Church/Ministry in East Saint Louis, IL and forging an opening and affirming spiritual community for LGBT and HIV positive citizens in Little Rock, AR.

Craig Lindholm

While trained in counseling, Craig’s professional experience includes grant development and administrative roles in rehabilitation services, community corrections, and community and economic development.  Craig currently serves as City Manager for Lindale, Texas.  He also maintains a private consulting practice assisting cities, non-profits, and businesses with grant development, community and economic development.  Craig’s passions include leadership, planning, and problem solving. Craig’s research interests include leadership for sustainable communities, political partisanism as a threat to societal progress, and leadership and disparities in twin cities.

Barrett Petty

Barrett, who is originally from West Helena, Arkansas, graduated Magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Management in 2003. He then received his Masters of Science in School Counseling from John Brown University in 2008. In 2009, Barrett received his Educational Specialist in Counseling degree from Harding University. He is currently the Director of College Transitions at Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School. In his spare time, Barrett likes to work out, play tennis, and read. His professional interests are teacher mentoring, increasing students’ performance on standardized test, and school counseling.


Lyle Rupert

Lyle was born in Kansas, moved to Arkansas when he was 13, and graduated from Fayetteville High School.  He graduated from Hendrix College with a major in Accounting.  Lyle received an MBA from the University of Chicago with specializations in Accounting and Statistics and passed the CPA exam.  For the past 24 years, Lyle has been a professor at Hendrix College in the Economics and Business Department and has taught every financial and managerial accounting course, finance, statistics, intro to business, and several interdisciplinary courses.  For the past 20 years, he has been the choir director and organist at First Presbyterian Church in Conway.  For the past five years, Lyle has been Director of Arkansas Governor’s School.  Lyle and his wife, Sheila, have three children: a son who will graduate from U of A this year, a son entering the MBA program at Baylor University, and a daughter who works in the medical field.

Craig Seager

Craig was born and raised on the tiny island of Bahrain in the Middle East, but is a citizen of India. He has called Arkansas home for 15 years now. Craig received his Bachelor’s degree in Airway Science Management at Henderson State University; he earned his Master’s degree in Administration soon after. Currently, he works at the University of Central Arkansas as an Area Coordinator with the Department of Housing and Residence Life. In this role, Craig oversees a cluster of Residence Halls and Residence Life programs.

Aside from the enjoyment he gets from his job at UCA, Craig also loves music and plays the drums in two bands – a funk band and a folk rock band. He has had the privilege of playing music all over Arkansas and some parts of Texas. Craig also enjoys the outdoors and will go fishing every chance he gets.

Craig’s passion for working with students is one of the main reasons he picked the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program. He has always enjoyed working in Student Affairs and would love to stay in the field for the rest of his professional career.

Patricia Searight

Patricia is a member of the first class of the Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership Studies program at the University of Central Arkansas.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico and her Master’s Degree from New Mexico Highlands University in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She is currently employed as the Director of Curriculum/Federal Programs/Professional Development for the Searcy County School District in Marshall, Arkansas.  She has been with the district since 2003, in education for nineteen years, and has business experience prior to going into the field of education.  Patricia’s husband, Randy is also an educator.  They have four children and seven grandchildren.   When she is not reading professional texts, Patricia loves to play the guitar and sing.

The Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership Studies program at UCA has broadened Patricia’s perspective in leadership.  She has enjoyed working with the program participants who have diverse experiences and perspectives in leadership.  Conversations among members are thought provoking, deep and at times intense.  Patricia’s experience at UCA has allowed her to collaborate with peers and community groups in leadership development.  A team of students will present our experiences from the leadership development work at the International Leadership Association conference in Montreal, Canada in October of 2013.  Patricia also collaborated with other students in a case study competition that was presented in Denver Colorado at the International Leadership Association Conference in 2012.  Her experience from the Interdisciplinary PhD Leadership program has broadened the depth and breadth of her understanding in leadership theory and its practical application.

Marshall Sladyen

Marshall is the Site Coordinator for a Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) Grant and Site Coordinator for High Schools That Work (HSTW) at Hall High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Marshall received his BS in Zoology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a minor in French and 30 graduate hours in Anthropology.  He received an MS in Educational Media/Library Science from the University of Central Arkansas.  He holds an Arkansas Teacher’s License for Biology, Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Chemistry, Astronomy, French, and Library Science.  From 1987 until 1993 he taught French, Biology, Earth Science, Life Science and Human Physiology at England High School.  From 1993 until 1997 he taught French, Earth Science, and Advanced Biology at Mayflower High School.  In 1997, he began teaching with the Little Rock School District at Hall High School in the subjects of French, Cisco Networking, EAST Lab, and Research for the 21st Century.  Marshall began work as the Site Coordinator for HSTW and the SLC grant in 2002.   He also serves as ACSIP chair, a member of the Principal’s Leadership Committee, Coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Center, and Technology Coordinator.

Chad Tappe

After growing up in Dallas, Texas, and then in Hutchinson, Kansas, Chad came to Arkansas to attend Harding University in 1997. He graduated from Harding in 2001 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Professional Sales and Marketing.  Chad served as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Harding for five years, while also completing his Masters of Business Administration.  In 2006, he was hired as the Assistant to the President at Central Arkansas Christian Schools in Little Rock, AR.  In this current position, Chad works with admissions, development and marketing, and he serves as a member of the administrative team.

Chad and his wife of nine years, Andrea, have two children: Ella, five, and Livia, one.  For the past three years, he has served as the Worship Minister at the Central Church of Christ in downtown Little Rock. Chad also enjoys playing basketball, being a movie trivia grandmaster, and consistently beating his five year old in “Go Fish” half of the time.

Hang Yang (Armstrong)

Having graduated from Qingdao University in China with a Master Degree of Law in International Relations and a Bachelor Degree of Law in International Politics, Hang  has a general view about world issues. Being a former junior coordinator in the International Programs of Qingdao University for about three years, he easily understands the challenges and the opportunities that the university would face in international cooperation with different schools from North America, Europe and Asia. Hang has participated in the international education cooperation held by Qingdao University. Having enjoyed his experiences there, Hang is eager to study more about and gain more experience in leadership in international education cooperation between universities. As a former exchange student to the University of Central Arkansas in fall 2010, he worked in the Division of International Engagement as a volunteer. Hang believes that his experiences in both the United States and China, combined with his former major training, qualify him to be a student in the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies program.