ForwARd Arkansas, a non-profit organization that works on education issues in the state, has hired three new board members. The organization announced Monday (May 17) that Tequilla Brownie, Rick Neal, and Shaneil “P.J.” Yarbrough have been added to the board.
Brownie is the executive vice president of TNTP’s Strategy, Policy & Community Coalitions division. Her team’s work is focused on improving local and national student outcomes and disrupting educational inequities to ensure all students are afforded an opportunity to be successful.
Previously, she served as both executive vice president and vice president, leading TNTP’s work with school districts to design integrated approaches to talent and academics. Before joining TNTP, she worked for nine years in Memphis City Schools, where she oversaw the district-wide effort to improve student outcomes by increasing teacher effectiveness. Working alongside TNTP’s staff, Brownie helped build community support for quality education and drove human capital reforms that led to significant policy changes. Brownie is also a licensed therapist and worked as a school social worker, where her focus was on supporting students’ and families’ efforts to improve academic and social outcomes.
Neal recently joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s staff as director of Workforce, Education and Data Transformation. In this new role, he will coordinate the Arkansas Ready for Life initiative, a program to connect employees and employers.
Neal previously served as Education to Employee director for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, where he was responsible for engaging state business and industry partners and communicating their workforce needs to education leaders in Arkansas, while creating a seamless transition between high school, post-secondary education and the workforce.
Yarbrough initially worked as an elementary classroom and an instructional resource teacher for literacy and math. At Families and Children Together Inc., she was an education manager and the Arkansas Better Chance coordinator.
During her time at Arkansas State University – Childhood Services, her roles included serving on the curriculum team, being a technical assistance consultant, training facilitator, Arkansas Better Beginnings specialist, and certified and reliable assessor of the Program Administration and the Early Childhood Environment rating scales.
Currently, she is a training advisor with the University of Arkansas Early Care and Education Projects (ECEP). She assists in researching and writing professional development curricula within the early childhood field, presenting and teaching ECEP courses to participants and coaching early childhood professionals across Arkansas.