Board of Directors

Lisa John-Adams, Board Chair

Quality Systems Director, Nucor Steel Arkansas

Mrs. Lisa John-Adams has been with Nucor Corporation since 1994. She has led the implementation of NSA's Quality Management System, which has kept its certifications since first certified in 2001. She is a certified Quality and Environmental Systems Lead Auditor. Lisa holds a Master of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of the West Indies and the University of Toronto. Lisa is the 2014 President of the Board of Directors of the Greater Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce. She is also the President of the Board of Directors of The Haven, a domestic violence shelter. Lisa is a member of the Mississippi County Solid Waste Board and chairs the Board's recycling committee. Lisa is married to Tracy Adams and together they have three children. Lisa and her family live in the Blytheville area.

Randy Zook

President and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas

A native of McGehee, Arkansas, Mr. Randy Zook graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Before serving as deputy director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), he spent nearly 34 years with Atlantic Envelope Company of Atlanta, serving as president and CEO of the $200 million company from 1989 to 2004. After his retirement, he began his second career involved in economic development efforts. In 2006, he served as chairman of the Central Ozarks Task Force for Economic Development and currently serves as a member of the Melbourne Airport Commission.

Judge Chalk Mitchell, Board Vice Chair

Judge, First Judicial Circuit Court

Mr. Chalk Mitchell grew up in Helena, Arkansas, and graduated from Eliza Miller High School before pursuing his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College and graduate degrees at both Georgetown University Law Center and Harvard University. He previously served as Helena-West Helena's City Attorney. He serves on the board of several community groups in his hometown and recently completed his term as chair of KIPP Delta’s Board of Directors.

Ron Nurnberg

Executive Director of Teach For America (TFA) in Mississippi

Mr. Ron Nurnberg has presided over the expansion of the Delta corps from 32 corps members in 1996 to 520 in the 2010-2011 school year. Prior to joining TFA, Ron completed a master's degree in southern studies at the University of Mississippi. He also served as executive director of Main Street Helena, project coordinator for the Center of Southern Culture in Oxford and Vicksburg, assistant director of Central College's American Program at Trinity College in Carmarthen, Wales, and operated a highly successful pub and restaurant business in St. Louis. His undergraduate degree is in business administration and interpersonal communications.

Cathy Cunningham

Community Development Consultant, Southern Bancorp Community Partners

Mrs. Cathy Cunningham is a community development consultant at Southern Bancorp Community Partners and a longtime member of the KIPP Delta Board of Directors. She also sits on the boards of several other local organizations including Southern Bancorp, the Helena-West Helena Advertising and Promotion Commission, and the Phillips Community College/University of Arkansas Foundation. Past honors include being named the Phillips County citizen of the year in 2011 and receiving the "Beyond Z" award at the KIPP School Summit in 2006. Cathy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas, Monticello and her graduate degree from the University of Central Arkansas.

Darrin Williams

Chief Executive Officer, Southern Bancorp

Representative Darrin L. Williams is the Chief Executive Officer of Southern Bancorp, Inc., a family of a community development bank and a nonprofit affiliate that work in concert to revitalize underserved communities in the mid-South. With over $1 billion in assets, over 80,000 customers and 39 branches throughout the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta, Southern Bancorp, Inc., and its affiliates comprise one of the most effective and largest community development organization in America. Darrin is also a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he serves as the Speaker Pro Tempore. Darrin has been recognized nationally for his progressive legislative work, including being selected as “one of the rising stars” in American government and offered a prestigious Aspen-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership by the Aspen Institute and being recognized as one of twelve legislators to watch by Governing Magazine. Darrin holds a LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Law and a B.A. from Hendrix College.

Baxter Sharp

President and Partner, Sharp & Sharp Law Firm

Mr. Baxter Sharp graduated in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in German and European history from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. He followed that up with a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1991. His love of community service was solidified in college, where duty and honor were emphasized. Highlights from Sharp's civic involvement include board member and tutor at the Literacy Council of Monroe County, Brinkley City Council, assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts, Monroe County Heart Association, Lawyers for Literacy Committee and board member of the Arkansas Community Foundation. Sharp currently serves as President and Partner of Sharp & Sharp Law Firm in Brinkley.

Robin Houseworth

Houseworth Hotels and Restaurants, LLC

Mrs. Robin Houseworth is a native Arkansan. She obtained a Chemistry and Biology degree from Henderson State University and a master's degree in Education. She and her husband reside in Blytheville and have been in the hospitality industry for 37 years. Robin is a Certified Hotel Administrator, and recently launched Houseworth Hotels and Restaurants, LLC with her husband and two daughters. Robin has been a volunteer for 28 years with the Miss America Organization, and a 20-year member of the Arkansas Chapter D PEO. Both organizations concentrate on providing women with scholarships to further their education. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Miss Arkansas Pageant. Robin enjoys traveling internationally, spending time at Lake Norfork, and entertaining her grandchildren and her two Yorkies.

Kristen Collier Wright

Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, AutoZone, Inc.

Mrs. Kristen Wright assumed the top legal role at AutoZone in 2014. She is the Memphis-based Fortune 300 retailer's first female senior vice president, secretary, and general counsel. In 2017, she was selected as one of Fortune's Most Powerful Women. Kristen serves on AutoZone's executive committee and is also the founder of the AutoZone Women's Initiative (AZ WIN) and executive sponsor of the company's diversity and inclusion initiative. She oversees AutoZone's Legal Department, Government Affairs, Corporate Communications, and Community Relations. Her team supports the values of more than 85,000 AutoZone employees across the US, Mexico, Brazil, and around the globe while protecting the assets of this $10 billion company. A native of Forrest City, Kristen graduated from Forrest City High School in 1994 and earned a bachelor's degree in English with honors and a law degree from the University of Arkansas. Kristen and her husband, Marshall, are parents of twin KIPPsters, Collier and Syble. Kristen is also the chair of the Board of Memphis in May International Festival.

Vince Billingsley

Vice President, Capital Financial Service Group, Inc.

Mr. Vince Billingsley lives in Forrest City, Arkansas, and services customers in the areas of Employee Benefits and Insurance. Vince is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor's degree in marketing. After graduating, Vince moved to Vail, Colorado, for three years where he worked in the hospitality and service industry. He taught children's ski school in the winter, worked on golf courses in the summer, and also worked as a waiter and cook in a variety of restaurants. In 2003, Vince moved back home to Forrest City where he began his career in the family insurance and financial services sector. Vince married his wife, Amber, in 2008 and they have three daughters, Ona, Norah, and Emily. His family attends St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church where Vince currently serves as Chairman of the Finance Council. He is an active member of the St. Francis County Master Gardeners, Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute's Technology Advisory Committee, and the Forrest City Downtown Revitalization Commission.

Dr. Linda Okiror

Associate Dean for Academic Programs, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff

Dr. Linda L. Okiror is the vice chancellor for enrollment management and student success at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, responsible for the offices of recruitment, admissions, the student success center, the living/learning centers, and the Summer Learning Institute and Opportunities for New Students (LIONS) Program. She provides leadership to programs that create opportunities for new students and success through retention and persistence to graduation of continuing students. She was first employed at UAPB in January 1996 in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Human Sciences where she rose from assistant to the dean to associate dean for academic programs. Dr. Okiror authored and co-authored successful grants of more than $1.5 million for programs at UAPB that support student success and faculty development. She has 20 years experience with student summer bridging-to-college programs. Dr. Okiror holds a master's and Ph.D. in crop physiology from the University of Minnesota and a master's in school leadership and supervision from Trenton State College.

Dr. Tequilla Brownie

Executive Vice President, The New Teacher Project

A native Arkansan, Tequilla Brownie is passionate about interrupting intergenerational poverty and improving social mobility for all students, and views education as a key conduit for change. As an Executive Vice President, Mrs. Brownie co-leads TNTP's Client Team and partnership with school systems, with a focus on building a thriving team and positioning TNTP for impact. She oversees TNTP's research and evaluation efforts and chairs the Diversity Leadership Council. Prior to this role, Mrs. Brownie served as a Vice President and led TNTP's work with school districts to design and implement integrated approaches to talent and academics. Previously, as a Senior Strategist, Mrs. Brownie helped lead projects such as measures of student learning with the New York City Department of Education and TNTP's new work on student surveys. Before joining TNTP, Mrs. Brownie 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, Mrs. Brownie helped build community support for quality education, and drove human capital reforms that led to significant policy changes. Mrs. Brownie holds a B.A. in psychology from Yale University, an M.S. in social work from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and an Ed.D from the University of Memphis, where she completed her dissertation on policy implications surrounding teacher effectiveness. 

Dr. Jennifer Parks

Professor, South Arkansas Community College

Dr. Parks holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science from the University of Colorado and a Doctorate in physical therapy from the Arizona School of Health Sciences. She has served on the Arkansas Association of Two Year Colleges Board of Directors as well as the Arkansas State Board of Physical Therapy. Dr. Parks is married to Dr. Kermit Parks, a retired educator, and together they have four grown children who live in Seattle, Washington.