Forward Arkansas announced the appointment of three new members to its board of directors – Mary Elizabeth Eldridge, Deborah Frazier and Anna Strong. With these appointments, the education advocacy nonprofit’s board now includes 10 active members.
The complete slate of board members for FY23 includes:
Phillip N. Baldwin, former chief executive officer, Citizens Bank
Tequila Brownie, chief executive officer of TNTP
Jerry Jones, chief legal and ethics officer and executive vice president, LiveRamp
Rick Neal, director of workforce, education and data transformation, Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson
Vicki Saviers, former Arkansas State Board of Education member
Darrin L. Williams, chief executive officer, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
Shaneil “P.J.” Yarbrough, training advisor, University of Arkansas
Kathy Smith (emeritus), former senior education advisor, Walton Personal Philanthropy Group
Sherece West-Scantlebury (emeritus), president and chief executive officer, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Mary Elizabeth Eldridge is a trustee and director of programs at the Ross Foundation in Arkadelphia. She oversees grant distributions to support public education in Clark County, including a focus on pre-K education in the Arkadelphia School District and the Arkadelphia Promise. She serves on the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation, where she has served as the grants committee chair, the Nature Conservancy of Arkansas and the Arkansas Forestry Association. She is a past commissioner of the Arkansas Forestry Commission and a former board member of the Arkansas Community Foundation and Baptist Health Foundation.
Deborah Frazier recently retired from a more than thirty-year career in Arkansas higher education, during which she served as chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College in Batesville, where career and technical education was foundational to the region’s workforce.
Anna Strong is the executive director of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ARAAP), the state’s membership organization for pediatricians. In this role, she leads policy and advocacy initiatives and engages members in statewide programs that promote child health and health care quality.
Before joining ARAAP, she served as executive director of child advocacy and public health at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where she led clinical and community health outreach initiatives reaching all 75 counties, and convened the Natural Wonders Partnership Council, a coalition focused on improving child health. Other past roles include director of health care policy at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, where she led Medicaid-related policy work and contributed to Arkansas’s successful effort to extend Medicaid to low-income adults and establish its health insurance marketplace. She was also a decision support analyst at Acxiom.
Forward Arkansas was established in 2014 with grants from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Walton Family Foundation with the goal of improving outcomes for all students.