Board of Directors
Phillip N. Baldwin, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Bank, Batesville, Arkansas
Phillip Baldwin is a nationally recognized leader in rural community and economic development. His pioneering concept of combining strategic community planning with economic development was recognized by Bloomberg-Business Week Magazine, which named him one of America’s top five social entrepreneurs, and by the Council of Foundations, which presented him with its highest national award, the Critical Impact Award for outstanding community development programs and initiatives. In 2018, the American Bankers Association named Citizens Bank the best bank in America for Economic and Community Development due to Citizens Bank’s innovative community development work in support of the IMPACT Independence County Strategic Community Plan.
With a personal focus on improving education, Baldwin is a champion of innovative education and workforce training programs. He was a key partner in the founding and development of the KIPP Public Charter School in Helena, Arkansas and led the creation of the Arkadelphia Promise in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
He is currently chairman of the Board of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of the White River Medical System and the University of Arkansas Community College of Batesville. Previous board services includes the Board of Visitors of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
Baldwin is a past National Board Chair of United Way of America, where he established United Ways national philanthropic strategies and policies focused on income, education and health. He is a founding board member of United Way Worldwide and served on this Board for 12 years as United Way extended its reach into 47 countries across the world.
Baldwin is proud to have served his home state of Arkansas as a member of the Board of Directors of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for six years with his final year as board chair.
Before joining Citizens Bank, Baldwin served as chief executive officer of CredAbility, an Atlanta-based national nonprofit credit counseling agency and as chief executive officer of Southern Bancorp, the nation’s largest rural development bank. Baldwin began his career in the banking services group of Ernst & Young and is a certified public accountant.
Tequilla Brownie, Executive vice president, strategy, policy & Coalitions, tNTP
As an executive vice president, Tequilla Brownie leads 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, Tequilla 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, Tequilla 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, Tequilla helped build community support for quality education and drove human capital reforms that led to significant policy changes. Tequilla 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.
Tequilla holds a B.A. in psychology from Yale University, an M.A. in social work from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and an Ed.D in education leadership and policy studies from the University of Memphis. Her dissertation was on the policy implications surrounding teacher evaluation and effectiveness. She is a sought-after national speaker on policy issues and frequently presents to key state legislatures and other leaders and stakeholders at the national and local level to drive important policy changes related to educational equity.
Tequilla serves on several local and national boards, including Education Leaders of Color (EdLoc), Stand for Children National Board, KIPP Delta Arkansas School Board, and Memphis Seeding Success Strive Network.
Tamika Edwards, J.D., Executive Director, Philander Smith College Social Justice Institute
Tamika S. Edwards, a native of Little Rock, AR, serves as the Executive Director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College (PSC). She is responsible for formulating, communicating and implementing a vision of social justice that reflects a holistic, contemporary view to infuse social justice principles campus wide and beyond.
Prior to joining PSC, she served as Director of Governmental Affairs for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF). In that role, she advanced the mission and policy agenda of AACF by directing the development and execution of AACF’s legislative strategy and managing key relationships with elected officials and other policymakers. She also played a central role in facilitating AACF’s team approach to lobbying.
Edwards was the Director of Public Policy at Southern Bancorp Community Partners where she led family economic security public policy efforts in Arkansas and Mississippi and she also served in the Office of U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln for nearly eleven years, ending her career there as a Community Affairs Specialist. During her time with Senator Lincoln, Edwards worked with municipalities and community organizations to identify resources to further community and economic development efforts and served as the Senator’s grassroots representative to elected officials, community leaders, and other constituent groups.
Edwards is a contributor with Talk Business and Politics, a news website that covers business, politics, and culture across all the Arkansas regions.
Edwards earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), a Master’s degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and a Juris Doctor from the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.
Her current and previous community leadership includes the Board of Visitors for UA – Pulaski Tech, Friends of Mosaic Templars Board of Directors, Delta Dental of Arkansas, Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Community Development Advisory Council, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital Board of Directors. Edwards is a member of Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XX, Leadership Arkansas Class I, the Junior League of Little Rock and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In 2010, Edwards was named one of the top 40 Under 40 Business and Community Leaders by Arkansas Business. In 2017, she was recognized in the Inaugural edition of The Arkansas 200, published by Arkansas Business, as a leader “who influences the way we live, learn and do business in the state.”
She resides in Little Rock with her husband, daughter and son.
Jerry Jones, Chief Legal & Ethics Officer and Executive Vice President, LiveRamp
As Chief Legal and Ethics Officer, Executive Vice President for LiveRamp (formerly Acxiom Corporation), Jerry C. Jones leads the Legal and Privacy teams in addition to being responsible for the strategy and execution of mergers, alliances and other strategic initiatives company-wide. During his 20-year tenure, Jones has spearheaded several high-profile projects such as Acxiom’s expansion in international markets including Australia, Japan, China, Europe, Brazil, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. He has also played a significant role in moving the company into digital and interactive marketing services as well as leading Acxiom through the successful acquisition of two public companies, in the US and in France.
In addition as Chief Legal & Ethics Officer at LiveRamp, Jones is a member of the board of directors of Agilysys, Inc., Heifer International and the Board of Visitors of UALR. He also was the chairman of FASTERArkansas, connecting students to a 21st century education in trying to bring high-speed internet to every public school in Arkansas. His passion for community-relates challenges has been the driving force for the creation of several programs, including Harnessing 21st Century Solutions: A Focus on Women. As leader of the initiative, Jones was responsible for bringing to Arkansas the annual meeting of the Club de Madrid, an organization comprised of 93 former heads of state of 65 democracies to the Clinton Presidential Center where Jones serves as a Special Advisor.
Jones holds a degree in public administration and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas.
Rick Neal, Director, workforce, education and data transformation, office of governor asa hutchinson
Mr. Neal recently joined Governor 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.
Rick 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.
Rick has also served as superintendent of the Pea Ridge School District and has worked in public education for the past 36 years. Prior to becoming Pea Ridge School District superintendent, he served as the high school principal for seven years at Pea Ridge School District. He was also middle school principal of Berryville Middle School in the Berryville School District. He began his career as a social studies teacher and basketball coach at Siloam Springs Junior High School.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of Arkansas, as well as a master’s degree and a specialist degree from the University of Arkansas. He is passionate about preparing students to enter the global workforce through the integration of technology, real-world STEM learning and linking to today’s college/career workforce.
Vicki Saviers, Former Arkansas State Board of Education Member
Vicki Saviers is a Fort Smith, Arkansas native and graduated from the University of Arkansas. She became interested in education reform and policy while volunteering in her children’s public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Vicki founded the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock and served as its first Executive Director. Other education involvement includes serving on Arkansans for Education Reform, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas, founding board member of eSTEM Public Charter School, and a member of the Arkansas State Board of Education. She currently serves on the Advisory Boards of The Academy for Educational Equity and the Arkansas Teacher Corps, and the Board of Visitors at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Other volunteer involvement includes past service on the boards of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Arkansas Arts Center, Potluck, Inc., the Arkansas Repertory Theater and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.
Vicki is married to Mark Saviers and they are parents to two married sons and have four grandchildren.
Kathy Smith, Senior Education Advisor, Walton Personal Philanthropy Group
Kathy is a senior education advisor for the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group. She has spent more than 30 years in public education in Oklahoma and Arkansas, first as a high school English teacher and eventually moving to district secondary curriculum director. Kathy holds a bachelor’s in education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s in educational administration from the University of Arkansas.
Sherece West-Scantlebury, President & CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury is president and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, a private, independent foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of all Arkansans in three interrelated areas: economic development; education; and economic, racial, and social justice.
Involved in philanthropy for 25 years, Dr. West-Scantlebury served as CEO at the Foundation for Louisiana and as a program associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Her professional career includes nearly 30 years of experience in community development, public policy and advocacy, and public service.
In addition to running the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. West is active in a number of nonprofits and philanthropy organizations, and she is a mentor to several nonprofit leaders and young foundation executives.
Darrin L. Williams, CEO, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
Darrin Williams’ career is a unique combination of law, business, and politics. As CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., he oversees the strategic direction and operations of three Community Development Financial Institutions: Southern Bancorp, Inc., Southern Bancorp Bank, and Southern Bancorp Community Partners (a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization), collectively known as “Southern.” Southern is a $1.4 billion asset organization with over 50,000 customers and 46 locations throughout Arkansas and Mississippi.
Prior to leading Southern, Darrin served as managing partner at the law firm of Carney, Williams, Bates, Pulliam & Bowman, PLLC, representing institutional investors and consumers in class action litigation against some of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies. He served three terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives, serving as Speaker Pro Tempore of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly, and recognized nationally for his legislative accomplishments. Darrin received his B.A. from Hendrix College, his J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law, and his Master of Laws degree in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
Darrin married his law school classmate, Nicole Sippial, and they have two children, Darrin Jr, a junior at Wake Forest University and Payton, a sophomore at Spelman College. He is actively involved in his church, where he serves as a deacon and leads the service ministry, and with several community and civic organizations, including serving on the boards of Southern Bancorp Bank, the Little Rock Tech Park, Hendrix College, and KIPP Delta Public Schools.
Shaneil “P.J.” Yarbrough, Training Advisor, University of Arkansas, Early Care and Education Projects
Shaneil is affectionately known as “P.J.,” short for her nickname, Precious Jewel. She received a Bachelor of Science with a major in elementary education and a minor in early childhood education from Southern Arkansas University. Her professional career spans over twenty years within the education field, with children at the heart of her work. She is intentional about striving for effectiveness, empathy and equality for all children and her colleagues.
Yarbrough initially worked as an elementary classroom and an instructional resource teacher for literacy and math. Her love for early education was ignited during her time with Families and Children Together Inc. While there, she was an education manager and the Arkansas Better Chance coordinator.
A dedicated focus on supporting early childhood professionals began 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.
A champion for children, one of Yarbrough’s most rewarding and refreshing endeavors was to serve in the foster care community as the executive director and administrator at the Agape House Children’s Home. 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.
Other volunteer involvement includes past service as the vice president of the El Dorado School District and membership on the Excel by Eight advisory committee, C.I.R.C.L.E. Initiative Foundation, and the Family Connects Community advisory board. She currently serves as president-elect of Arkansas Early Childhood Association (AECA) and will lead the organization beginning January 2022.
Yarbrough is also actively involved in her church, serving as an ordained minister and the director of ministries. Her passion for community is evident as she frequents civic events, leads projects, advocates and has been awarded numerous community-focused awards. Yarbrough frequents as a motivational speaker and is a published author.
“P.J.” is married to Larry D. Yarbrough, Sr. They are parents to two sons, Larry D., Jr. (L.J.) and Lance. She resides in El Dorado, Arkansas.