Corie Woodman

age: 37 | Third Grade Educator | Red Lick Independent School District

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Currently in her eleventh year of teaching, Corie Woodman has taught all grades from kindergarten through fifth, except first. Once she had her first child, she knew right away that she wanted to love and teach other people’s children the way she wanted her son to be loved and taught.

“My hope in my classroom is to not only help each child grow academically, but more importantly help create kind, productive citizens,” Corie explained. “You can ask any one of the students I have had in the past about Mrs. Woodman’s life lessons. We spend a lot of time discussing how we will impact this ever-changing world.”

Married to Andy, the couple has four children: Drew Woodman (18), Cole Gideon (12), Sarah Jane Woodman (11), and Cade Gideon (8). Being a mother, wife, and friend is by far, Corie’s greatest personal accomplishment. “These are jobs I am most proud of and will always strive to be better than the day before,” Corie said. She and her family enjoy spending their summers at the family lake house or their river cabin, and the rest of the year is mostly spent watching travel baseball and travel soccer since two of their children play. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“AT THE END OF THE DAY, PEOPLE WON’T REMEMBER WHAT YOU SAID OR DID; THEY WILL RE- MEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.” – MAYA ANGELOU

Corie serves as a committee member for CASA’s Songwriters on the Edge of Texas event and is a member of Women for A&M- Texarkana. She also served as a “celebrity” during TRAHC’s Party with Picassos event and does her best to contribute and volunteer for any organization she can that is outside of school hours.

Professionally, Corie’s greatest achievement is receiving her Master’s Degree in Education and going on to get her Master Math Teacher Certification. Her long-term goal as her kids get older is to teach future educators on the college level. “I want to help instill a love of teaching and remind young educators how crucial their roles are in children’s lives,” she said, adding that she and Andy also look forward to traveling more once all of their kids are in college. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I spent my childhood showing horses as part of the South East Arkansas Horseshow Association, and I even placed tenth in the state! I learned a lot from those days ... how to love and take care of animals, good sportsmanship, and hard work.” 

Armani Valentino

age: 38 | Publisher, Author, Business Marketing Consultant | College Boy Publishing, LLC & ArmaniValentino.com

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Armani Valentino stays busy running his publishing company, College Boy Publishing, and his consulting business. “I independently became a national bestselling author and therefore have a certain level of expertise when it comes to marketing,” he said. But Armani believes that his own successes allow him to do more than just consult. “If [I had not been successful in publishing my books], numerous other people, especially African-Americans in Texarkana and many other areas, would have never been inspired to go for one of their dreams of becoming a published author,” he said. “Sometimes you have to be the first to do something in order for others to be inspired to know they can do it, too. You know, be a trailblazer and an inspiration. I think I have done that since I was a young child—inspired others to follow their dreams.”

Though he’s most often spotted writing self-help books, managing a publishing project, or consulting, Armani is regularly involved in service work. “Most of how and what I give back people never know about,” he said.

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“WORK HARDER ON YOURSELF THAN YOU DO ON YOUR JOB.” — JIM ROHN

“I tutor and volunteer with many of the youth in different capacities.” These different capacities include volunteering for Bridging the Gaps of Arkansas Ministries, the REACH program at Texarkana ISD, Total Life Changes, The Healing Place, and United Families of America. A father to a son, Armani Christian, Armani enjoys recording/ producing music, speaking/coaching, reading, traveling and “just living life.”

Armani is also proud of the work he’s done in the Beverly neighborhood, helping community members revitalize the struggling area. He calls the initiative #BuyBackTheBlock. “It’s been something that has inspired many in the community to take a more active role in cleaning up the neighborhood, rehabbing the homes, starting a business, and getting to know one another in an attempt to create a community,” he said. “I want to give people the opportunity to rent and eventually own homes in a decent neighborhood with the intent to create a community. Home ownership is the foundation to creating a better life and family wealth in America.” 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I sold my first house to a corporation owned by a famous former NFL Super Bowl and Collegiate National Championship coach!”

Fallon Turner

age: 30 | Barista | Starbucks Coffee

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Perseverance is often defined as “the act or power of continuing to do something in spite of difficulties.” Anyone who knows Fallon Turner would agree that although it hasn’t always been easy, she has molded her story into one of triumph, success, and most of all – perseverance.

Fallon’s greatest professional accomplishment is continuing to work at Starbucks for the past 12 years. “When it comes to choosing a career I love, I am one of the lucky ones,” she says. “I look forward to going to work.”

Fallon’s true “happy place” is on the back of her horse, at home strumming a new song on her guitar, waterskiing at the lake, or lifting weights in the gym.

As part of a therapeutic equestrian program at Circle J Cowboy Church, Fallon enjoys visiting with her “therapy family” while learning horsemanship skills. She feels fortunate to have many great mentors who have ridden horses for many years and “know the ropes.”

A lover of all things fitness, Fallon is a member of Richmond Road’s Anytime Fitness and trains there three times a week. “I am so lucky to have a hands-on trainer, Trey Crow, who always guides me and supports me,” she adds. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“ALWAYS TRY YOUR BEST TO BE POSITIVE AND POLITE BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING YOU FROM AFAR.” — SUZY AND MIKE TURNER, FALLON’S MOTHER AND FATHER

Another one of Fallon’s favorite pastimes is participating in adaptive waterskiing programs. “I have never really been afraid to try new things, so I became involved with Texas Adaptive Aquatics (TAA) and RISE Adaptive Sports. I love attending their adaptive ski clinics,” she explains.

When asked what her greatest personal achievement has been, Fallon says, “I have been very blessed with caring, compassionate people in my life who have helped me pursue my passions. My greatest personal achievement would be winning 11 National Physique Committee (NPC) Women’s Wheelchair Bodybuilding competitions. Many people in the business took me under their wings and taught me the ins and outs of the sport.”

Spunky and energetic, 30-year-old Fallon Turner is one you never forget once your path crosses with hers. Her infectious smile is contagious, and she is the epitome of one who could have easily given up, but chose to push through, never giving up on her goals. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“Even though I am not a girly-girl at all, I took dance lessons for five years when I was in elementary and middle school. Yes, I even wore sparkly costumes and put on makeup.”

Dr. Brandon J. Thurston

age: 30 | Principal | Liberty-Eylau Elementary School

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For Dr. Brandon Thurston, it is important that his faculty, staff, and students at Liberty-Eylau Elementary School follow him for the right reasons. “As a campus leader, there is a massive difference in people responding to you because you are the campus administrator and them following you because they support your vision, love you as a person, and trust your judgment and your heart,” he said. “I’m grateful that I have experienced the latter [at the schools where I’ve led].”

Full trust in a leader’s judgment and heart is hard to come by, but Dr. Thurston has the receipts to show his commitment to his post, colleagues, students, and community. He has spent his adult years studying and working to become the best school administrator he could be—and it hasn’t always been easy. “I never thought I was smart enough to actually graduate with an undergraduate degree,” he said. Still, with his mother’s insistence, he attended Henderson State University and, post graduation, earned a master’s from UT-Arlington and a doctorate from TAMU-T. With each pursuit came doubts: “I didn’t think I could do it, but I did,” Brandon said. “These are the lessons I learned [through my experiences in higher education]: hard work does pay off; people will help you if you let them; and, most importantly, don’t quit— keep moving! If I, a black boy from College Hill, can do it, anyone can.” 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“GET YOUR LESSON.” THIS WAS THEIR WAY OF SAYING, “TAKE CARE OF THE IMPORTANT BUSINESS FIRST BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE.” – BILL AND MARY GRADY, BRANDON’S GRANDPARENTS

This perspective makes Brandon an ideal leader in his district. He leads from a place of experience, passion, and hard-earned confidence. But his educational goals are far from completed: he plans on one day attending law school and continuing a career in either public or higher education. He would love one day to mentor administrators and teachers.

For now, though, Brandon’s focus is on the almost-700 elementary children at LE whom he considers his own. His current professional aim is to increase parental and community involvement in his school by forming relationships with local businesses and churches. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I love onions and The Golden Girls.”

Michael Stephenson

age: 28 | Coordinator of Student Life | Texas A&M University – Texarkana

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Institutions of higher education bolster local economies, empower citizens, and enrich communities. But in order for these schools to succeed, their students must succeed. At TAMU-T, that’s where Michael Stephenson comes in.

“Did you know that 30% of first- year college students drop out? That is why positions like mine exist,” Michael said. “We facilitate activities, programs, and events that foster campus engagement and community. Statistically, students that are more connected to their campus are more likely to graduate. Our efforts facilitate student development in various ways including new student orientation, student organizations, Greek life, and volunteerism.”

A Texarkana transplant, Michael garnered much of his fund-raising and organizing experience at his alma mater, Northwestern State University, where he worked under the Director of Student Activities and devoted countless hours to his favorite national nonprofit, St. Jude. “While I was an undergraduate student, I focused my co-curricular efforts on collegiate fund-raising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Michael said. “Throughout my tenure, I assisted the university in raising over $100,000 for the kids of St. Jude. In addition, I was awarded the Danny Thomas Leadership Scholarship, awarded to only one undergraduate student for their dedication to the mission of St. Jude. All of this cumulated to an internship opportunity where I was given the opportunity to fund-raise on a national level and helped with three Dream Home giveaways.” 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“WE LIVE IN A WORLD IN WHICH WE NEED TO SHARE RESPONSIBILITY. IT IS EASY TO SAY, ‘IT’S NOT MY CHILD, NOT MY COMMUNITY, NOT MY WORLD, NOT MY PROB- LEM.’ THEN THERE ARE THOSE WHO SEE THE NEED AND RESPOND. I CONSIDER THOSE PEOPLE MY HEROES.” – MR. ROGERS

These experiences and others prepared him well for his current position. In 2016, he was charged with overhauling the university’s community service programming. His team decided to bring “The Big Event,” a nationwide community service event, to Texarkana, and in April of 2018, the one-day event “boasted nearly 300 volunteers that performed over 1,000 community service hours,” benefitting 25 different local nonprofit organizations. “Being the lead staff member spearheading this event has been my greatest professional accomplishment because it has given me the opportunity to leave my mark at TAMU-T,” Michael said.

Married to Chase, Michael enjoys traveling, shopping at flea markets, antique shops, and garage sales, and renovating or building something at home. In addition to his work at the university, Michael also serves on the board of the Friends of the Texarkana Parks and is a member of Texarkana Young Professionals.

Name something about you that very few people know:
“I like candles (a lot). Some people may consider it an addiction. My candle closet inventory is probably around 50 or more. I just enjoy offering my house guests a diverse experience depending on what room they’re in. I call it southern hospitality.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I like candles (a lot). Some people may consider it an addiction. My candle closet inventory is probably around 50 or more. I just enjoy offering my house guests a diverse experience depending on what room they’re in. I call it southern hospitality.”

Rachel Scott

age: 34 | Magnet Director | Texarkana Arkansas School District

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Rachel Scott is in the business of transforming ideas into actions, wishes into goals, and imaginations into realities. “I help make the visions and dreams of students, teachers, and administrators possible,” she explained. Under Rachel’s leadership as the Magnet Director for the Texarkana Arkansas School District, her office “provides support for the magnet programs at College Hill 6th Grade Academy, North Heights Junior High School, and Arkansas High School,” she said. She is responsible for guiding decision-making regarding recruitment, marketing, curriculum and instruction, and community and parent engagement. Rachel also oversees the TASD “Montage Project,” a $14.7 million initiative funded by a Department of Education grant, for which Rachel was on the grant writing team. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“IF YOU HAVE TO EAT A FROG, EAT IT IN THE MORNING.” THIS MEANS TACKLE THE THINGS YOU DREAD FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, SO YOU DON’T WORRY ABOUT THEM THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE DAY. — RACHEL’S MENTOR, ROBIN HICKERSON

In her free time, Rachel can be found gardening, beekeeping, spending time with her husband, William, and children, Maggie, Emmy Lou, and Millie, or giving back to Texarkana. One way she does this is in her role as board member for the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council. “Serving as a board member for TRAHC has helped me to see beyond just the amazing impact that programs like ArtSmart and the Kennedy Center Partnership have on teachers and students, but to the larger impact of TRAHC on building and sustaining community in Texarkana,” Rachel said. She also is a volunteer teacher with the children’s ministry at First United Methodist Church of Texarkana, Arkansas.

Happy with her life, Rachel hopes to continue serving Texarkana, Arkansas, students for years to come. “I am passionate about magnet schools because I know that they provide public school choice options for students and parents that are engaging while preparing students for post-secondary success,” she said. “In 10 years, I hope to be continuing my work in the TASD Magnet Office to ensure all students have access to high-quality instructional programs.” 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I cannot watch scary movies. I get so anxious that I have to stop. I will try to watch them with my family and never can make it past the first 10 minutes without leaving the room.”

Chalissa Russell

age: 31 | Small Business Owner | Fizz Bizz LLC

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Working with her hands has always been something Chalissa Russell enjoys. And owning her own small business, Fizz Bizz, lets her do just that while making bath bombs.

Chalissa enjoys being the face of her business and seeing the joy her customers get from using products she has created. “We design our products to help as a way to relax and escape from the stress of our everyday lives,” she explained. “And we couldn’t be happier with our results.”

Chalissa also works on Sunday mornings at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church, serving coffee for the church members. She and her boys also enjoy delivering bath bombs to local businesses in town who are nominated to receive them as part of challenges she hosts on Fizz Bizz LLC’s Facebook page. She donates $1 of every item sold back at any local charity event Fizz Bizz participates in. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“REMEMBER TO CHOOSE YOUR BAT- TLES WISELY, BUT MOSTLY, REMEM- BER TO KEEP YOUR BOYS LITTLE AS LONG AS YOU CAN!” — LACY MCMILLEN, REGARDING MOTHERHOOD

Moving her business into a building of its own is a priority for Chalissa. She works hard to get her brand noticed and looks forward to being able to say she owns a nationally-recognized bath bomb company in the future.

Spending time with her husband, Garreth, and sons, Garren and Stryder, is Chalissa’s favorite pastime – especially on a Carnival cruise ship. Being a mother is her greatest personal accomplishment, and Chalissa cherishes every moment spent with them. “I try to live my best, remembering that my boys are only this little today,” she said. “Tomorrow they will be older and bigger!” 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“Fizz Bizz LLC started as a Bunco gift cop-out and an itch to try something new. We never knew it would go as far as it has! Garreth and I are truly blessed.”

Mason Rostollan

age: 22 | Graduate Teaching Assistant/ Researcher | University of Central Arkansas

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Texarkana native Mason Rostollan epitomizes the adage “think global, act local.” Currently a student at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Mason volunteers weekly at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and serves as a scholarship advisor for Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at UCA. But while his hands work in Arkansas, his head is 8,000 miles away, as he thinks about his current research project.

“I am currently researching environmental health risks in a small village in Rwanda,” he explained. “I am analyzing the residents’ air and water quality as well as their personal statements to help improve their livelihood and health in the long-term. I hold this project important to myself for its potential to help not just one person, but an entire village to have healthier, longer, and more enjoyable lives. When I visit, I listen to the adults of the village who tell of the struggles they face daily, but also the children who will inherit these burdens if interventions are not made.” 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“SET YOUR GOALS AND DON’T LET ANYONE DETRACT YOU, AND REMEMBER: IF IT WERE EASY, EVERYONE WOULD DO IT.” – MASON’S GRANDPARENTS, CAROL AND GARRY HODGSON

A Texarkana Troop 19 Eagle Scout, Mason exemplifies the values he learned in Scouts every day, as he devotes his time and energy to solving health crises that will never affect him personally. Academia has time and again acknowledged his leadership: he was named the Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year for 2017-2018, for having gone above and beyond in teaching anatomy and physiology labs at UCA. And, just this month, he is attending a by-invitation conference in Vienna, Austria, where he is presenting his research.

Upon completing his formal education, Mason plans to return to Texarkana as a physician. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I was a tap and ballet dropout by age 5!”

Connor Ribble

age: 27 | Real Estate Developer/Property Manager | Columbia Property Management

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Developer Conner Ribble takes great pride in the work he does throughout Texarkana. “I enjoy bringing a sense of creativity into each project I work on,” he said. “It is always fun seeing a person shocked at the before and after photos of projects, whether it is an empty piece of land or an old abandoned house. I find it very gratifying to not only improve a property but to give a person a place to live that they can happily call home.”

In his role, Conner oversees and manages all sorts of real estate projects, from property renovations and multi- family complexes to restaurant franchises. One of his top priorities is “providing excellent customer and maintenance service for the families in our complexes,” he said. “This is always important to me because so many people have a negative stigma toward landlords. My number one goal is for someone to see a sign that says ‘Columbia Property Management’ and to be excited about the work being done.” 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“ALWAYS HAVE HONESTY AND INTEGRITY.” – CONNER’S GRANDFATHER, RONNIE RIBBLE

Naturally, seeing Texarkana develop and grow fuels Conner’s fire. Outside of work, he serves on the Eagle Impact Board for Texas A&M-Texarkana, a budding university Conner is proud and excited to support. “Our board is always working on new and innovative ways to raise funds in order to give back to student life at A&M,” he explained. “I have enjoyed watching and being a part of a University that is growing at such a fast rate with a positive presence in the Texarkana community.”

At home, Conner and wife, Whitney, are busy with their new son, 8-month-old Palmer. “I know I am just beginning, but I can easily say my greatest personal accomplishment is raising my son, Palmer, with my wife,” Conner professed. Name something about you that very few people know:
“I am ambidextrous.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I am ambidextrous.”

Natalie Reeves

age: 30 | Interventionist/ESL Instructor | Pleasant Grove Independent School District

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Natalie Reeves is passionate about teaching children. For the past eight years, she has taught elementary students in the general education classroom, and this year, she will get to work with struggling learners, as well as ESL students. She enjoys building relationships with her students while teaching them. “Every child deserves to know someone cares about them. I also have a love for watching children learn and grow!” she explained.

Raising her son, Barrett, in a God-centered home with her husband, Malachi, is Natalie’s greatest personal accomplishment. When she’s not busy teaching students, Natalie enjoys hanging out with her family and friends while cheering on the Arkansas Razorbacks, and she also enjoys crafting.

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“BE JOYFUL ALWAYS, PRAY CONTINUALLY, AND GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.” — 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-17

Completing her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and going back to grad school to obtain her certification in Educational Administration while having a newborn at home and working full-time is Natalie’s greatest professional achievement. She looks forward to making her way up the education administration ladder in the future.

A member of the Junior League of Texarkana, Natalie enjoys being able to give directly back to the community. This year, she will serve as the New Member Educator and will help grow the League. She is also involved in her church, First Baptist Church Texarkana, where she and Malachi volunteer in the pre-school department. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“In high school, I was a member of a youth choir, and we sang the National Anthem on the field of the San Diego Padres before a game.” 

Levi Ponder

age: 36 | Vice President, Lending | Commercial National Bank of Texarkana

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Caring and compassionate, Levi Ponder has firsthand experience transitioning from one position to another within a company. He began working as a part-time teller at Commercial National Bank and is now the Vice President of Lending.

“As a lender with Commercial National Bank, I get the opportunity to work with all types of individuals and businesses in the Texarkana area,” he explained. “I especially enjoy helping our customers achieve their financial goals whether it be starting a new business, growing their existing business, or building a new home, just to name a few.”

Levi’s greatest personal achievement was accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, followed by marrying his wife of 11 years, Elizabeth. He enjoys spending his free time with Elizabeth and their three children, Luke, Lincoln, and Emerson. For fun, he likes golfing, hunting, working out, and doing yard work. “My oldest son, Luke, has recently started going to the golf course with me, so it has been fun seeing him learn the game,” he admitted. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“IF YOU TELL SOME- ONE YOU ARE GOING TO DO SOMETHING, THEN DO IT!” — JIMMY PONDER, LEVI’S FATHER

Levi is a member of the Oaklawn Rotary Club and helps out with the club’s Flag Project. He helps put out flags on the six “flag” holidays throughout the year. He also serves as a board member of the Four States Fairgrounds as treasurer and is also a board member of Temple Memorial Rehabilitation Center.

When asked what Levi sees himself doing in the next 10 years, he replied, “I hope to have continued to grow in my banking career.” Well said from someone who enjoys what he does and looks forward to continuing on his chosen career path. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I enjoy waking up every morning at 3:45 a.m. to workout. It’s a great way to get the day started!” 

Claire Northam

age: 26 | Senior Accountant | Holliday, Lemons & Cox, P.C.

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Senior accountant Claire Northam does tax and audit work for Holliday, Lemons & Cox, P.C. What she really enjoys about her job is that regardless of the engagement, each client presents a different challenge. “Accounting is a profession, like many others, that is constantly changing,” she explained. “Every year, new laws are passed and new best practices are issued. It keeps it interesting, keeps me on my toes, and I love that I get to keep learning.”

Claire currently serves as president of the Texarkana Chapter of the Texas Exes, The University of Texas at Austin’s alumni organization. This group hosts events for local alumni and Texarkana area students attending the university. Last year in Junior League, she served on the Mistletoe Fair Committee as Merchants Co-Chair, and this year she is Tickets Co-Chair. “It’s a whirlwind, but it’s rewarding to see the fair be financially successful since that means we get to help the Texarkana community that much more,” Claire acknowledged. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“YOUR PARENTS ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN LIFE WHO KNOW YOU’RE SPECIAL. FOR EVERYONE ELSE, YOU’LL HAVE TO PROVE IT.” – QUOTED BY DR. WANDA NORTHAM, CLAIRE’S MOTHER

“In 10 years, I’d like to be on the partner track at our firm, and Chris, my fiancé, and I plan to have started a family,” she explained. “By that point, I’ll have long since passed the CPA exam, which will free up my time outside of work to be even more involved in the community and my church, as well.”

Buying a house was a great personal accomplishment for Claire. Knowing that she earned the cash to pay for it and maintaining it herself is very empowering to her.

Claire’s greatest professional accomplishment is fighting hard to get what she deserves. “I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t had the courage to walk away from some things. Sometimes not getting what you’re asking for can be a great learning opportunity, I’ve found. I’m in a really good place right now, literally and figuratively, where I know my worth and know I’m appreciated,” she added. “I’ve had some great mentors along the way, both at work and at home, who helped me see what a woman can accomplish when she works hard.” 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“When I was 17, a year after having heart surgery, I played in the USA Junior Olympic Volleyball Nationals.” 

Zach Norment

age: 33 | Senior Media Consultant/Karate Instructor | CableONE Advertising/Lacy’s Shotokan Karate

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As a Media Consultant, Zach Norment’s goal is to help area businesses develop content and reach their customers in as many ways as possible to drive sales and help them grow. “I am fortunate to work with an extremely talented creative team and have fun doing what I do,” he said. “In the evenings, I help teach martial arts in our family’s dojo, Lacy’s Shotokan Karate. Karate is my passion, my stress relief, and my motivation.”

Since the higher one goes in karate, the more work it usually takes, Zach is very proud that he has earned his 2nd degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. He admits that it has taken him a lot of years of hard work and dedication to reach this goal, but it has definitely been worth it. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

Best advice you’ve ever received: “TALENT YOU HAVE NATURALLY. SKILL IS ONLY DEVELOPED BY HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS OF BEAT- ING ON YOUR CRAFT.” – WILL SMITH

For fun, Zach enjoys woodworking and upholstering furniture. “There is nothing better than turning a simple sketch into a beautiful piece of furniture for someone to enjoy for years to come,” he said. “I also love being outdoors and, most importantly, spending time with my wife, Whitney, and children, Raidyn and Westin.” He also stays busy volunteering in the community as a board member for HandsOn Texarkana, a Chamber Ambassador, and a 2015 graduate of Leadership Texarkana, where he serves on the Leadership Team. 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I will do almost anything in public to embarrass my kids and niece, including randomly yelling ‘Bingo’ or dancing! My beautiful wife is no longer affected by this behavior.” 

Casey Nichols

age: 38 | Superintendent | Ashdown School District

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Casey Nichols has worked his entire adult life for the benefit of students. “As a lifelong educator, I have had the opportunity to touch thousands of lives in the Texarkana area, hopefully creating community leaders who will continue to make Texarkana thrive for generations,” he said. “Over the last 16 years, I have had the opportunity to work directly with kids as a teacher and principal before moving into central administration as a director, executive director, chief operating officer, and superintendent, which has allowed me to expand my influence, regarding decisions that make a positive impact on students and our community.” 

Having recently accepted his position as superintendent of Ashdown School District, Casey is looking forward to meeting the needs of the district’s students. “I view [this new appointment] as an amazing opportunity to expand my positive influence and do great things for kids,” he said. 

Best advice you’ve ever received:

“TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT, AND BE FAIR TO EVERYONE.” —PAUL NICHOLS, CASEY’S FATHER

A husband to Megan Rose, and dad of two young children, Abigail Rose and Emily Rose, with a baby boy on the way, Casey’s future surely holds many moments with his family, to whom he is primarily devoted. He also sees himself continuing his legacy as a dedicated public educator. “My passion is education,” he explained, “and I fully intend to continue making a positive impact on the lives of our youth for years to come through my involvement in public education.” 

Name something about you that very few people know:

“Since I was a kid, my father and I have worked on cars together. Over the years, we eventually got into drag racing, and then started building cars ourselves. This is something that I would not trade for the world and has proven to be very special to me as time has passed.”