UACES Facebook LeadAR graduates 18th class of leaders
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LeadAR graduates 18th class of leaders

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Nov. 20, 2019 

Fast facts

  • Twenty-six people from 15 counties completed LeadAR program.
  • LeadAR equips Arkansans from rural and urban areas with knowledge base and skills development to positively impact their communities and state.

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LITTLE ROCK — Twenty-six people from across Arkansas recently graduated from LeadAR, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s leadership program, bringing the total number of graduates to nearly 500 in the past 35 years.           


The group members, who represent 15 Arkansas counties, spent nearly two years developing their leadership skills and gaining a better understanding of key economic and social issues facing Arkansas. They celebrated completion of the 22-month program at a ceremony Nov. 15 in Little Rock. 

Since 1984, the Division of Agriculture has worked to bring together rural and urban leaders to learn from each other through the LeadAR program, as well as help them grasp the importance of agriculture to Arkansas’ economy.

“Our goal is to equip emerging leaders in the state with knowledge and skills they need to make a difference in their organizations and their communities,” said Stacy McCullough, assistant director for community, professional and economic development for the Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. “We want rural and urban leaders of Arkansas to work together to positively impact the state.”

Throughout the program, participants attend three-day seminars about every eight weeks, meet some of the state’s top industry leaders, practice their policy-making skills, tour communities throughout the state and visit with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. The program culminates with an international study tour, to learn how international issues and policy impact Arkansas and to see the world from a different perspective. Each of the program’s 18 classes have visited a different country — Class 18 toured Belgium and Netherlands.

Applications for the next LeadAR class open in January. 

Congratulations to the following leaders:

  • Anthony Armstrong of Little Rock, project consultant/loan mobilization manager, Arkansas Economic Development Commission
  • Ana Phakhin of Springdale, United Way of Northwest Arkansas community impact director
  • Arlisa Harris of Forrest City, Forrest City Public Library director
  • Brad McGinley, Sheridan, UA Cooperative Extension Service staff chair/ county extension agent
  • Curtis Moore of Lincoln, Moore Farms owner
  • Christian Olson of Little Rock, Chief Examiner, Arkansas Securities Department
  • Chris Wasson, El Dorado, Entergy Arkansas customer service representative
  • Donette Spann, Cabot, Arkansas Beef Council promotions director
  • Ethan Dunbar of Lewisville, mayor
  • Gayla Bradley, Clinton, Boston Mountain Rural Health Center customer service representative
  • Gina Radke, North Little Rock, Galley Support Innovations owner and CEO
  • Jacob Box, McGehee, First Natural State Bank vice president-lending
  • Jason Hayes, Brinkley, vice president/branch manager, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services
  • Jonathan Duran of Benton, Arkansas Geographic Information Systems Office deputy director
  • Jennifer Johnson of Blytheville, Blytheville School District treasurer/finance director
  • Kyle T. Miller of Helena, Delta Cultural Center museum director
  • Lori Burrows, Little Rock, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation vice president and general counsel
  • Marc Harrison, Little Rock, chief administrator, Pulaski Circuit County Clerk
  • Mary Wood, Russellville, USDA Forrest Service special projects coordinator
  • Rickey McCauley, McCauley Technology Solutions owner
  • Ryan McGeeney, Little Rock, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture writer and content specialist
  • Sudha Bande Little Rock, Arkansas Department of Workforce Services program operation manager
  • Stephanie Malone, Little Rock, Community Health policy and advocacy director
  • Maddison Stone, Wynne, Greenway Equipment marketing manager
  • Tyler McDonald, Lewisville, T and R Farms co-owner
  • Yolanda Wallace, West Helena, administrator/therapist, chief executive officer, and chief operating officer, The Family Center Counseling & Education Center.

To learn more about LeadAR, visit or contact Emily Smith at or 501-671-2138.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Tracy Courage
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126