The Forward Arkansas organization which has worked to improve academic outcomes for the state's students since 2014, announced on Monday the appointment of three new members to its board of directors.
The three are:
• Mary Elizabeth Eldridge, a trustee and the director of programs at the Ross Foundation in Arkadelphia. In that role, she oversees the distributions of grants to support public education in Clark County, including the Arkadelphia Promise scholarship program in that city. Previously, Eldridge worked as an associate at the Little Rock-based Wright, Lindsey & Jennings law firm. She earned her law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. She earned a bachelor's degree in European history with a concentration in environmental studies from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.
• Deborah Frazier, retired from a career of more than 30 years in higher education, including the position of chancellor at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville that provided career and technical education for the local workforce. She also championed providing high school students statewide with the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship. Frazier has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Lyon College in Batesville and a master's in business education from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
• Anna Strong, executive director of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- a role in which she leads policy and advocacy initiatives and engages members in statewide programs that promote quality in child health care. Previously, Strong served as executive director of child advocacy and public health at Arkansas Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the dual Public Service and Public Health master's programs at the Clinton School of Public Service and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Hendrix College in Conway.
Forward Arkansas was established in 2014 with grants from the Winthrop Rockefeller and Walton Family foundations for the purpose of improving educational outcomes for all students. The organization works with districts, schools, educational partners and state leaders to ensure every student has access to and is prepared for opportunities in life and career.
Current active board members and emeritus board members are:
• Phillip N. Baldwin, former chief executive officer, Citizens Bank.
• Tequilla Brownie, chief executive officer of TNTP, which was formerly the The New Teacher Project.
• Jerry Jones, chief legal and ethics officer and executive vice president, LiveRamp.
• Rick Neal, director of workforce, education and data transformation, Office of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
• Vicki Saviers, former Arkansas Board of Education member.
• Darrin L. Williams, chief executive officer, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
• Shaneil "P.J." Yarbrough, training advisor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
• Kathy Smith (emeritus), former senior education advisor, Walton Personal Philanthropy Group.
• Sherece West-Scantlebury (emeritus), president and chief executive officer, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.