A Rogers education has prepared our graduates for a variety of career paths. Our alumni are leading the way in cutting-edge medicine, performing on Broadway, producing news for ESPN, creating documentaries, researching innovative energy solutions and contributing to their communities in countless ways. Enjoy some of our alumni stories below and also help contribute to this ever-growing list. Alumni may share their information or nominate someone else they think would be interesting to feature by filling out an
or by mailing submissions to Rogers Public Schools, Attn: Ashley Kelley Siwiec, 500 W. Walnut, Rogers, AR, 72756.
Wife - Stephanie. Children - Gage and Faith
When a group of us organized a bonfire for the Bentonville football game. Hundreds of people showed up, including coaches. I remember being filled with a great sense of pride for Big Blue.
They all had an impact both big and small. Mr. Ross in Biology (yes, a journalist citing Biology here) was tough but always fair. He made his classes interactive which always kept us engaged. I liked to talk a lot, so this was perfect for me. Of course he also had frogs to dissect, who wouldn’t love that!
I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the teachers and staff members who put up with me over the years. I don’t know how you did it.
In 2000, I covered both the Republican and Democrat conventions. After that year’s election, I was sent on a journey to West Palm Beach, Florida for the recount. We had an election, but we didn’t have a President. Remember those “hanging chads?” I sure do.
One of my personal favorite assignments was in southern Mexico. I was sent there to produce a series of reports on a potentially dangerous volcano. While at the foot of the massive volcano, the tectonic plates shifted a bit setting off an earthquake. Yes, I was a little shaken (pun intended). The most interesting part of the assignment was seeing how people lived on basically nothing in hills of Mexico. Meeting them was an enriching experience. Just wish I would have paid a little more attention in those RHS Spanish classes. It would have come in handy.
bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of the Ozarks in 1961, master’s in education from the University of Arkansas in 1972; plus some additional hours at Southwest Missouri.
Married to the former Vicki Korner; 2 sons (Jay, who has 3 children, and is a National Junior College Championship-winning basketball coach, and Steve, who has 2 children and owns his own company - Spoonball); living in the home four dogs and five cats, cockatoo, and 18 lovebirds (apparently, the original ones didn’t realize they were living in captivity)Favorite School Memory:
My main memory would have been football games. When I was a sophomore, we were really good. I was the manager of the football team – that was my contribution. I didn’t play. I was too little in high school. I also remember in basketball that we won district and went to state. One of my main memories, even though it was after I graduated, was Stevie Roberts and those guys winning the championship in 1957.
the coaches – Coach Sutton, Coach Matthews and Coach Johnson; the Reagan sisters and Mrs. Worthington
I think Mrs. Worthington because she was really good at what she did. I didn't start out thinking I would be a teacher but she probably planted the seed somewhere in the back of my mind.
Mid-Continent Coach of the Year (1984, 1987, & 1988); National Collegiate Coach of the Year (1994, U.S. Basketball Writers Association); Missouri Sports Hall of Fame (1994); Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (2009); National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame (1991).
Jeff Bradley, M.D. ‘85
S. Lee Kling Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Mo.
Education: Drury University - BA in Biology; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; radiation oncology residency - University of Chicago Medical Center.
Family: Wife -Heidi Prather, my college sweetheart. Children- Ethan and Emma. I am thankful to God for our family. It’s the most wonderful part of my life.
Favorite School Memory: All of the friendships I developed while in high school. I still keep up with a few classmates, though not as many as I would like.
Favorite Teacher: I would say that it has to be Mrs. Linda (King) Payne. I had her for calculus as a senior. She was fun, genuinely enjoyed her students, and was interested in their daily lives. I know she still teaches math at RHS. I wish her well.
Other Thoughts: I’ve had a rewarding life thus far, with much more to come! When my father died in 1991, I was a second-year medical student. He died of cancer. That was tough on all of us - me, my mom and my younger brother. I decided to turn that into a positive by dedicating my life to fighting cancer. I have become very specialized in what I do. My main job is managing the treatment of patients with lung cancer. I am also heavily involved with clinical research, meaning designing and enrolling patients on clinical trials. The biggest honor I have received is an endowed chair position at the medical school. Some of my administrative responsibilities include being the Director of the Kling Center for Proton Therapy, being chairman of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) lung cancer committee, and serving on the Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee for the National Institutes of Health. Most of my administrative time is spent helping our medical center open our proton therapy facility. We are planning to open in early 2011. It will be the 8th proton facility in the country. Proton therapy is a highly focused form of radiation therapy that is mainly used to treat cancers in children and cancers near the eyes, brain, spinal cord or other critical organs. I truly believe that this type of radiation therapy will eventually change the course of disease for most cancer patients.
Suzanne Yoe Blandon '89
Associate Director of PR and Publications
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Education: Bachelor of Arts/English from Hendrix College; Master of Science/Public Relations from the University of Denver
Family: Two children
Favorite school memory: Having such a strong support network the year my father died.
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Ed Prentice
Notable Experiences: Highlights of my career have been to assist with the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the “Summit of the 8’s” International Economic Convention and the world premiere of Tantalus (a 10-hour play about the Trojan War that attracted journalists from 28 foreign countries).
Other Thoughts: While school at any age has its share of challenges, I was particularly fortunate to have a wide variety of friends. There were the brainy kids, the band kids, the popular kids, the jocks and even terrific teachers that I was - and still am - fortunate to have in what was a very important time of my life. Being friends with people from all different backgrounds has made me open minded, non-judgmental and outgoing. I credit my many friends with making me a better person.
Kelly Hale Zega ‘86
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Education: University of Arkansas/BA, Broadcast Journalism; BA, Political Science
Family: One daughter, Haley.
Favorite School Memory: I have a lot of great school memories, especially associated with REACH—the gifted and talented program—overnight trips to participate in All Region and All State orchestra—being a part of the drama program my senior year—and traveling to a remote spot in the middle of south Arkansas via school bus to be part of the “Hands Across America” chain.
Favorite Teacher: There were so many wonderful educators in the Rogers Public Schools, but I believe my favorite was Laura Sawyer—who taught 6th grade at Northside Elementary. She saw my potential, celebrated curiosity, encouraged me to be unique, and always made me feel good about myself.
Special Influence: Betty Lynn Reagan probably influenced my education more than any other teacher. She was tough but fair, and managed to demand everyone’s very best efforts…all while presenting the most gentle, gracious, refined demeanor. I cared very much what she thought of my work…and of me, personally…and never wanted to disappoint her. Her high expectations in high school made college so much easier; I knew how to study, how to write, and how to organize myself as a result of working hard in her classes.
Honors/Awards: 2008 Cox Communications (Kansas/Arkansas) Most Valuable Player; named as one of Northwest Arkansas’ “Grooviest People of 2002” in All About Town, a local publication highlighting regional events and culture; selected for the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s annual “Forty Under Forty” in 2000
Notable Experiences: My most notable and happiest experiences have come from getting to travel abroad with my family. On a very different note, I can also say that my life took on a very different meaning after experiencing my then 6-year-old daughter being safely returned after going missing in the deep woods of Newton County for three days. The way friends and strangers rallied together to bring her back to us caused me to appreciate my Arkansas home and the goodness of people in a whole new way—something I’ll never be able to fully repay, but will always try through community engagement and support!
Harold H. Rhoden ‘61
Vice President, Middle East & Africa,
Lockheed Martin Corp.
Retired Brigadier General, U.S. Air Force
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Family: Married with two grown children and one grandson.
Favorite School Memory: There were many, but probably winning our last high school football game to complete two straight seasons of undefeated Mountie football. What a great football team on which I was honored to be a team member. (GO MOUNTIES!)
Favorite Teachers: Coaches Frank Tillery and Gary “Blackie” Bond, and of course, Mary Sue and Betty Lynn Reagan.
Notable Experiences: more than 5,000 hours as a command pilot in fighter aircraft. Also, former commander of the Dhahran Advisory Detachment, King Abdul Aziz Royal Saudi Air Base; former chief of the Saudi Arabian Division, Directorate of International Programs and responsible for all Air Force security assistance programs in Saudi Arabia; deputy inspector general, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
Other Thoughts: I continue to enjoy corresponding with several of my classmates and occasionally visiting with some when I return to Rogers. It all brings back fond memories during those times when our lives were much simpler.
Waylon Wishon '91
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc
Education: Bachelor's degree in Transportation and Logistics Management, University of Arkansas
Family: Not married. No children.
Favorite School Memory: Too many to list one. All the great coaches, teachers, teammates, and classmates...
Favorite Teacher: Barney Hayes
Special Influence: Barney Hayes was and is a great mentor for me as a coach and personal friend. He helped me with athletics, academics, and got me my first summer job working for Whitey Smith at Ozark Fence Company. He set me straight when I got lazy in the classroom. Without him, I probably would have never played football at the University of Arkansas.
Honors/Awards: All Conference and All State in football for the 1989 and 1990 seasons. All Conference in basketball for the 1990-1991 season.
Achievements: Youth football coach since 2003
Notable Experiences: 3-year letterman in football at the University of Arkansas.
Other Thoughts: I love Rogers.
Jerry Cavaneau '59
United States Magistrate Judge
United States Courts, Eastern District of Arkansas
Little Rock, AR
Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Arkansas, 1963; Juris Doctor, University of Arkansas School of Law 1966
Family: I have been married for 47 years, have two children and three grandchildren.
Favorite Teacher: My favorite teacher was Ms. Worthington. She gave us an excellent background in English and grammar. She and Coaches Harold Sutton and Frank Tillery had a great influence on me. They all were conscientious and encouraged us to achieve. They set an excellent example to follow.
Jennie Bea Rehl ‘72
Grace Hill Elementary
Education: Bachelor of Science in Education, Masters of Education in Adaptive Physical Education, Masters of Education in Educational Administration - all from the University of Arkansas.
Family: I am happily married to the most extraordinary man, Dr. Marvin D. Rehl. I have one son, Tyler Isaac Brooks.
Favorite School Memory: Running faster than all the boys at recess at Northside Elementary too many years ago:)
Favorite Teacher: Judy Gundlach and Nelma Faye Williams, who were my PE teachers and my inspirations to become a teacher.
Special Influence: I was blessed to have awesome teachers all the way through Northside Elementary, Rogers Junior High, and Rogers High School. They encouraged me and challenged me, making me believe in myself and push to do my best.
Honors/Awards: PTO Lifetime Award, Bonnie Grimes Award, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in America’s Business Women. It is a HUGE honor to be the principal of Grace Hill Elementary after Mrs. Grace Hill was my principal at Northside Elementary from 1959 to 1965!
Achievements: I feel that being a part of the Rogers School System for a total of 46 years is a great achievement. I count being the mother of a wonderful, intelligent, handsome son as my greatest achievement and blessing!
Other Thoughts: With my mother and grandfather being Rogers natives and living my entire life here, I LOVE ROGERS! I LOVE LIFE! To steal my favorite line, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, ‘WOO HOO, what a ride!’ “
Marshall Cress, M.D. '00
Education: Studied Chemical Engineering at University of Arkansas; Medical Doctorate from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas- 2007; General Surgery Internship completed at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas- 2008; Neurological Surgery Resident, University of Missouri Hospital.
Favorite School Memory: Physics trip to Worlds of Fun and playing football on Friday nights
Favorite Teacher: Bo Black, Steve Long and Linda (King) Payne
Special Influence: My education at Rogers was equal to the educations that many of my friends received from private high schools. I think that this is a direct result of all the dedicated administrators and teachers in the Rogers School District. I have no doubt that my current success is a reflection of the preparation that I received from my time in Rogers public schools.
Achievements: Eagle Scout
Vilma Rosa Domínguez '85
Family: 2 children - Ernie and Sylvia Marie, Son-in-Law Matt, and Mi Princesa (grandbaby)
Special Influence: Mrs. Kenny, Mrs. Parenti, Mrs. Slinkard, Mrs. Compton, Mrs. B , Mrs. Brugman, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Keith, Mr. Backus, Mrs. McCarver, Mr. Harris, Mrs. Pope, Mr. Reed, Mrs. Decker, Mrs. Keazer, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Ewing , Mrs. Bozeman, Mrs. Kruger, Mrs. Wyman, Mr. Phillips, Mrs. Verge, Mr. Kruger, Mrs. Dykema, Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Boyer, Mr. Fort, Mr. Stair, Dr. King, Mrs. Forrest, Mr. Pennington, Mr. Prentice, Mrs. Sooter, Mr. Trice, Mrs. Culpepper, and Mrs. Henbest. These are just some of the names that I can remember but without these teachers and staff and my parents I would not be who I am today.
Honors: Lifetime Achievement Award at the Héroes de Corazon event sponsored by Walmart Inc & Sam’s Club. That was a BIG HONOR not just for me but also for my family.
Garry W. Earls ‘67
Chief Operating Officer
St. Louis County, Mo.
Education: BS Industrial Engineering, University of Arkansas, MS Systems Engineering, Ohio State University, Masters in Management, Air War College.
Family: Married to Myra Lingle for 41 years. Three children - Mike, Ty, and Jon
Favorite School Memory: There are so many. I was very active in band, orchestra, football, baseball, track, …But my obvious favorite was the Sadie Hawkins Day race at Rogers High School in the spring of 1965. I was “caught” by a beautiful classmate that has remained in my life ever since – Myra Lingle Earls.
Favorite Teacher: The Reagan sisters taught me a love of history. Mrs. Mahone, a 6th grade teacher at Southside Elementary, gave me a start in politics. Ms. Gertrude Stockard, my music teacher, taught me personal discipline that serves me well today. Howard Sutton, RHS Principal in 1967, taught me to be afraid of Marines – that served me well for 27 years in the Air Force.
Special Influence: Greer Lingle, Superintendent, and Claudie Hallie Rose Prim Lingle, 2nd grade teacher at Northside, made my life what it is today.
Honors/Awards: Commanded units in the Air Force that were determined to be the best in the Air Force in 1989 and 1996; 2005 “Public Official of the Year” National Association of Homebuilders.
Achievements: Promoted to and served as a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Competitively selected for and completed Armed Forces Staff College – joint service training for all US military. Selected for and serving as the first Chief Operating Officer of St. Louis County - senior appointed official of the local government – serving one million citizens.
Notable Experiences: Commander of multiple units in the Air Force over a 27 year career. Served in Thailand, Philippines, Pentagon, and New Mexico. Completed my military service as Commander and installation manager of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. – premier facility in the service. Twelve years service to local government in the 20th largest county in the U.S.
Other Thoughts: Rogers Public Schools has set me up for success – providing the fundamentals to help me achieve post-secondary education completion beyond the expectations of a farm-raised boy from the Ozarks. The teachers, coaches, and fellow students of Rogers Public Schools helped me develop the character traits that have proven me a leader in the community and nation. I cherish every element of the opportunity an education in Rogers Public Schools gave me.
Stephanie (McLemore) Morris ‘96
Deputy Prosecutor, Division One Chief
Benton County Prosecutor’s Office
Education: BA in English, University of Arkansas in 2000; JD, UALR School of Law in 2004
Family: Married to Paul Morris
Special Influence: Bob Ross first encouraged me to join the Benton County Teen Court. After that first night of trials, I was hooked and I knew what I wanted to do with my life. He is responsible for getting me on this path.
Other Thoughts: I use the things I learned at Rogers High School every day. Ms. Neville taught me how to read a fruit fly’s DNA, knowledge I use to understand crime lab reports in my criminal cases. Mr. Graham and Mrs. Jones taught me to read critically and interpret literature, which is not all that different from interpreting Supreme Court cases. Mrs. Patton started my law school career early by allowing me to join the mock trial team. I use the speaking and acting skills I learned from Ms. Stubbs every time I step into a court room. I wish I could still speak Spanish as well as Mr. Highfill taught me, but what I remember certainly comes in very handy when meeting with witnesses and victims of crimes.
Matt Crafton ‘86
Professional Engineer/President & CEO
Crafton Tull Sparks
Education: BS- Civil Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy; MS- Engineering from University of Texas
Family: Married to Kristi with four kids.
Favorite School Memory: Friends and athletics – the Mountie Spirit!
Favorite Staff: Mr. Grimsley Graham and Mr. Tom Woodruff. and Coaches Blackie Bond, Barney Hayes and Bo Black.
Special Influence: The teachers and coaches I listed all had a very positive influence on me. They not only taught us in the classroom and on the athletic fields, but they also taught me life lessons about working hard and having a winning attitude.
Honors/Awards: U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer of the Year, Arkansas Society of Professional Engineers Young Engineer of the Year, Ark. Society of Professional Engineers Engineer of the Year
Notable Experiences: Served 8 years in the active duty Air Force, including time in Operation DESERT STORM and RESTORE HOPE (Somalia); currently hold the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
Jack E. Hill ‘58 (deceased)
Owner/Operator, Reporter/Producer of Tele Vision for Arkansas
Education: BA, University of Arkansas; MA, University of Missouri- Columbia School of Journalism
Family: Married to Anne Powers of Jackson, Miss.
Favorite School Memory: Winning the state basketball championship in 1957 and being a letterman on that team.
Favorite Teachers: Would have to be the Reagan sisters, Betty Lynn and Mary Sue, and also Mrs. Worthington. Vastly different classroom styles but terrific teachers, difference makers.
Honors: Winner of the DuPoint-Columbia Award, the Pulitzer Prize of Broadcasting.
Achievements: Produced nearly 60 documentaries on stateside television, the most by any Arkansas broadcaster.
Notable Experiences: Reporting assignments have included Guatemala and trips to Russia. Infantry lieutenant, two years active duty in Germany.
Other Thoughts: There’s a “Watch for Joggers” sign on the road around Lake Atalanta. I was the first [jogger] in the summer of 1962 while getting in shape for Army duty and still return whenever I’m home to continue that routine of long ago.
Kathryn M. Lowell ‘82
Founder, Image Matters, Inc.
Education: BA- Yale University; MBA- UCLA
Family: Married to Michael Spivey (‘82).Children- Olivia and Isabella.
Favorite School Memory: Bob Ross’s Advanced Biology Class – the most interesting and competitive class at RHS.
Favorite Teacher: Ed Prentice for pushing me to think beyond the standard curriculum and question why things are the way they are. Mr. Prentice took a genuine interest in his students that extended beyond graduation and it has been an honor to count him a personal friend after all these years.
Special Influence: Miss Betty Lynn Reagan for having high and exacting standards for all her students – and everyone rose to the occasion.
Achievements: Co-Author, Executive Image Power (2009) and Yes, You Can! (2010)
Notable Experiences: I’ve had more blessings than I can count – including the opportunity to live and work on both coasts and in Eastern Europe, working on Wall Street, and running my own business.
Other Thoughts: It’s easy to wax nostalgic about high school years, but I’m a realist. High school is tough for most people, and I’d never want to do it again. I’m grateful to those teachers and administrators that cared enough to give me a little personal encouragement – a few well-placed words can mean the world to a student.
Teresa (Shope) Mills '92
Deputy Director of Peace at Home Family Shelter
Education: University of Central Arkansas, BS in sociology 1996, summa cum laude graduate.
Family: married to my high school sweetheart Bill Mills (‘88).
Special Influence: I am forever grateful for my time in the Rogers School District. I received a solid educational foundation and collegiate prep that has served me well since graduation. I above all appreciated the opportunities granted through the REACH program including model United Nations. I learned well how to communicate, achieve shared goals, and work with others; all have been invaluable skills in my professional life.
Achievements: As a nonprofit professional, I am privileged to work every day on making Northwest Arkansas a better place to live for its residents. I am most proud, however, of the work I did at the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center. Thanks to the generosity of several donors, we built a free job training and resource support center for early childhood professionals. In 2009, 30,000 Arkansas children under age five were positively impacted by the Early Childhood Initiatives Center.
Hunter Mack ‘97
Research Scientist / Engineer
Banyan Energy - a solar power start-up
Education: PhD - University of California at Berkeley (Mechanical Engineering); MS - University of California at Berkeley (Mechanical Engineering); BS - Washington University in St. Louis (Mechanical Engineering); BA - Hendrix College (Physics)
Family: Married to Nyree, one child.
Favorite Teacher: There are lots that have an influence on me, but to name a few: Rhonda Weeks (English, Elmwood Junior High), Grimsley Graham (English, RHS), Ms. (King) Payne, Math, RHS), Steve Long (Chemistry, RHS). They all instilled a sense of curiosity in terms of knowledge and helped cultivate a learning atmosphere that was both rigorous and creative.
Notable Experiences: During summers in college I took advantage of some interesting opportunities. In 2001, I conducted research at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) program. Also, in 2002, I studied language and photography in Madrid, Spain through New York University (NYU). While in graduate school, I’ve been able to present my research at international conferences in Brazil, Germany, and Canada. Another somewhat unique hobby is my record label, Gold Robot Records. It’s a small independent label that focuses on vinyl releases spanning a variety of genres. I also am a practicing visual artist, having shown works in both Arkansas and California over the years.
Barney Hayes ‘70
(Retired) Director of Facilities
Rogers Public Schools
Education: BSE – University of Arkansas
Family: Married to Lisa Hayes. Daughters – Haylee Pierce and Taylor Hayes. Stepsons – Ken Schrantz and Douglas Schrantz.
Favorite School Memory: Playing football for the Rogers Mountaineers.
Favorite Teacher: Bill Grimes (Agriculture Teacher). Mr. Grimes was respected by all who had the privilege of being in his classes. He had a way of motivating students to excel and do their best by simply suggesting a plan of action. He was very successful and highly regarded throughout the State of Arkansas in his field.
Honors: RHS Athletic Hall of Fame member; Rogers City Council member - 6 terms; Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission member; First United Methodist Church trustee; Former President - Rogers Youth Center Board of Directors; Rogers teacher, coach and administrator – 36 years service
Notable Experiences: Working with the design and construction of 13 new school buildings and 2 major athletic facilities, including facilities at Rogers High School and Heritage High School. As a graduate of Rogers High School, it gave me great pride to help construct these fine school facilities where our young people can achieve a high quality education.
Kenny Shaw ‘68
Director, Office of Emergency Management
City of Dallas, Texas
Education: BA- Business Administration, University of Arkansas; Master’s in Public Administration at UALR
Family: Married, Daughter Mindy, stepdaughter Lillie, and one grandson.
Favorite School Memory: Playing in the band at lots of events
Favorite Teacher: I liked them all.
Impact of Rogers Education: I made a living playing drums for years, including serving in an Army band during the Viet Nam era…still play now and then.
Honors: 3-year All-State drummer, and Boy’s State attendee
Achievements: I’ve had a great career in public safety in Northwest Arkansas, Little Rock, and now Dallas.
Notable Experiences: Many great experiences working with the Fire, EMS, and Police in my career and working the Hurricane Katrina shelter system here in Dallas.
Other Thoughts: I still talk to lots of Rogers folks and miss them all.
Shawn Lee ‘80
Education: B.S- University of Arkansas; DDS-University of Kansas City, Mo.
Family: Married to Jalane Riggs (‘81). Children -Palmer, Maris; and Grayson.
Favorite School Memories: Bob Ross taught a great biology class. Many of the things he taught were later expanded on, both in college and dental school. Benny Bridwell was our basketball coach. He was a very tough man and demanding of us. We weren’t very talented, but learned to play hard. He was fair and made us do things we didn’t think we could accomplish.
Special Influence: The late Larry Melson was also a role model for many of us. He died way too young. The world could use more Larry Melsons.
Other Thoughts: Rogers is a different town today. Much of the change is good. I know my kids are getting a better education today than we got.
I don’t think that is because the teachers are different today, but that the school system demands more from the students. An example of this is that my oldest daughter, in her junior year, has already completed college algebra and will graduate with several college courses completed.
Jim Lingle ‘65
Lingle Law Firm
Education: BA, JD- University of Arkansas.
Favorite Teacher: So many. My father, Greer Lingle was one of my favorites.
Special Influence: Again, so many. One that comes to mind was Howard Sutton telling me how good I was and to trust myself. He really cared and meant it. It moved me.
Achievements: Growing up in spite of it all. Associate Editor, Arkansas Law Review. Selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America and as one of the Mid-South Super Lawyers by Super Lawyers magazine. 1996 Outstanding Trial Lawyer of The Year by the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association
Notable Experiences: Being Vice President of the National Organization for Women in Benton County in 1978, Peace Corps 1970-1972.
Kevin Peak '89
Vice President of Sales
Education: B.S. Foreign Service, Georgetown University; MBA, Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University
Family: Married to Mary Clancy, two children -Caroline and John Paul (Jack).
Favorite School Memory: It is hard to pick a favorite memory because I really enjoyed my time in the Rogers Public Schools system. One funny memory is when a group of friends and I toilet papered Jennifer Matlock's yard one night and my class ring flew off in her yard as I was throwing a roll of toilet paper. I can't believe I found it the next day and I'm not sure the Matlocks knew who the culprits were (if not, sorry Bob and Darlene!).
Special Influence: The two teachers who most impacted me are Brenda Patton and Lana Eckard. Mrs. Patton was one of the few teachers who forced me to think critically and that really helped me when I went to college. Mrs. Eckard is special because she encouraged me to think big in life, just as she thought big about what she expected from her students.
Achievements: Running a marathon, which seems like a greater achievement the older I get.
Notable Experiences: I have been very fortunate in my career to have been able to visit some amazing places. I worked in Zurich for several months and spent weekends in Cairo, Athens, Stockholm, Prague and Barcelona, and I've been to almost every state in the US. I've also been fortunate enough to be able to spend a week every summer for the past 10 years as a cabin counselor at a camp for children with cancer.
Megan Schrader '05
Executive Director, Northwest Region
Education: Bachelor of Arts in International Political Economy, The University of Puget Sound; School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Family: Single, no children
Favorite School Memory: The many trips around the state with the RHS debate & mock trial teams.
Favorite Teacher: Grimsley Graham and John Raybourn
Achievements: Ranked among nation’s top ten best college debate teams
Notable Experiences: Started small export management business; lived in London
Steve Solberg '86
Assistant Scout Executive (Chief Operating Officer, translated into common language)
Nevada Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
Education: Bachelor of Arts, St. Olaf College
Family: Married, two children
Favorite Teacher: Reagan sisters!
Impact of a Rogers Education: Learning to think and write critically. If I had it to do over again I would have taken Grimsley Graham's writing class.
Mindy (Wishon) Brown '89
Teacher for 20+ years
Rogers High School
Education: Bachelor of Science in Education
Favorite School Memory: Every moment spent participating in RHS volleyball, basketball, track, and cross country.
Most influencial teacher: Coach Brenda Alexander who coached me in everything except volleyball. She taught me the skill needed in life beyond the textbook. Ed Prentice who was a great example and mentor to me as a young teacher even though I never took his classes when at RHS. Faye Jeffery who taught me all the sociology I needed to know in order to teach it for 17 years.
Drew Avery '06
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Education: BS in Biochemistry/minors in Classical Studies and Spanish, University of Arkansas. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Ho Din Award and Iatros Award winner
Family: I am presently unmarried (though I hope to be someday) with no children (though I hope to have a handful).
Notable Experiences: At the University of Arkansas, I was awarded a Bodenhamer Fellowship, one of the University’s prestigious four-year undergraduate fellowships, which paid for my schooling and funded undergraduate biochemistry research and two study abroad trips, one to Greece and one to India. I’ve also been heavily invested in University Baptist Church and the college ministry that they have in place. I have been involved in and led on campus Bible studies and made some excellent friends along the way in addition to maturing in my walk with Christ, and I have also found great satisfaction in volunteering for the youth group at the church teaching middle school boys on Wednesday nights.
Impact of a Rogers Education: As I’ve been growing up, I’ve treasured my schooling in Rogers more and more, though I’m sure we can chalk some of that up to nostalgia. In high school, particularly, I had several wonderful teachers which greatly influenced my critical thinking skills, work ethic, and worldview. Paul Knutson, John Raybourn, Grimsley Graham, Leonard Zechiedrich, Mike Harper, Marsha Hudson, and last, but certainly not least, Linda Payne were among the best teachers I had. I’m sure the list would be a page long if I recalled all of the teachers from Rogers to whom I am indebted, but this, at least, is a reasonable list. I would be wrong not to mention Susan Huntington and Judy Smith from my earlier days of schooling, as well. I developed relationships with some of these teachers which yielded outstanding advice while others as educators challenged and broadened me. Each had substantial influences.
There are many cherished memories from high school, and quite a few of them had little to do with school. Being on the football and baseball teams in highs school were formative experiences, and I’d say that much of my personal growth occurred as a result of involvement in athletics. The most memorable event from my time in high school would be the basketball teams going to the state tournament during my senior year. Driving to Little Rock with a band of spirited students to cheer on the Mounties was quite the experience. Personally, I recall with fondness the friendships that I developed there. Jonathan Bray, Zach Caton, Kevin Jensen, Zach Jordan, and Taylor Mills were among the best friends for which one could hope. Computer games, home-movie production, and Dragon Crest remain some of my fondest memories with these dear friends.
Brian Jackson '91
Civil Engineer/ Principal
Hight Jackson Associates PA
Education: United States Air Force Academy, Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Family: Wife- Ruby- Attorney, RHS Class of 1991. 2 boys- Garrett and Carson
Favorite School Memory: Beating Corliss Williamson and Russellville Cyclones Junior Year.
Favorite Teacher: Ed Prentice, Grimsley Graham
Special Influence: Betty Lynn Reagan- No better preparation for my college experience. She taught me that attention to detail is paramount.
Honors/Awards: Northwest Arkansas 40 under 40 Business Professionals, Air Medal- Operation Joint Guard, Aerial Achievement Medal- Operation Southern Watch
Achievements: Major, United States Air Force, Professionally Licensed Civil Engineer
Terri Johnson '78
Retired Third Grade Teacher
Bonnie Grimes Elementary
Education: Bachelor's in education (grades 1-6) and reading specialist degree
Family: Married to Perry Johnson; son, Christopher and daughter-in-law Ashleigh; daughter, Natalie and her fiance, Brock McKeel
Favorite School Memory: My teaching experiences are unique for me because I began teaching with teachers I had myself. The community and schools of Rogers, have been so good to me. It has been a unique experience to give back to the same community and schools that did so much for me. It is important to me to create lasting positive memories for my students to have in the same way.
Honors: I have been blessed with honors and achievements during my teaching career. I have received three grants for materials in my classroom. But the most meaningful awards have been the Bonnie Grimes Scholarship Award and the Rogers District Elementary Teacher for 2010. This meant a lot. My family all surprised me along with my co-workers, the student body, and the Chamber. Having my third grade teacher, Charles Mary Phillipy, attend, was a special treat. Dick Trammel presented me with the award. Dick is a longtime friend of mine and my family. Bon Jovi's song, 'It's My Life," really set the tone!!! I also realize how many other teachers deserve this recognition!
Achievements: My greatest achievements are the long lasting relationships I have made with my students. I keep in touch with many of them year after year. Each child is a unique individual who should realize how important they are to society. When my students are in third grade, I have them write a paper about their year in third grade. When they reach their senior year, I mail it back to them at graduation time. It is always fun to have many of them come back to visit. It is important for "my kids," to know how important they are to me.
Other Thoughts: Travel to other areas and realize what a great school system we have!!! Rogers is a special place to grow up in, and raise a family. The Chamber, school board, and community, stands behind the schools. I remember Mr. Lingle, Mr. Tillery, and Dr. Darr had and have a true love for our schools. We are very fortunate and need not take what we have for granted!!!!! Rogers Rocks!!!
Gerald Walsh '77
American History Teacher/Freshman Boys Basketball Coach
Rogers High School
Education: B.S. degree in Education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
I started out reluctantly as a Business Major, but always knew that my first love was coaching. I went back to school to get my teaching and coaching degree. I worked long, hard summers to pay my way through college.
Family: Married more than 20 years to my wife Pam (Bequette). She is a graduate of Fayetteville High School and the University of Arkansas with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. She works in the library at Bonnie Grimes Elementary. I have 1 daughter, Sydney, who played on the Lady Mountie Basketball team. Sydney has been sitting on my coaching bench since she was 3. She kept stats until she began playing for the Lady Mounties.
Sydney was born the same week that the Arkansas Razorback Basketball Team won the National Championship. Life does not get much better than that for a basketball coach!
My mother and father are RHS alumni. I grew up going to Mountie games and listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio.
Honors/Awards: Awards were not given out as much when I was in school. I was awarded the Mr. Mountie Award my Senior year.
Achievements: Taught at Elmwood Junior High School for 21 years and now Rogers High School.
14 years football, 22 years track, 342 basketball wins, 15 regular season tournament championships, 17 post season appearances, 2 conference championships, 2 regional championships
Notable Experiences: Being in basketball colors day my senior year. Hitting game winning shot my first game as a starter.
Favorite teachers: Mrs. Joye Kelley, 5th grade at Westside. I learned from her that you can learn and have fun at the same time. Coaches Bob Brown, Albert Diehm, and Benny Bridwell inspired me to become a coach.
Favorite school memories: Going to Pizza Hut after games and the whole school being there. Cruising McDonald’s. Listening to the Bee Gees.
Interests: I love the Razorbacks, the Mounties and the St. Louis Cardinals. I love westerns and old TV. shows. I really should have grown up in the 50’s. I am very active in church and love to be with my family.
I can’t imagine anything better than being at RHS in the late 1970’s. The school and the era made it a special time.
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Edsel Ford '48
"Ford attended public school in Rogers (Benton County), and he served as editor of the school paper, The Mountaineer, before graduating in 1948. Ford enrolled as a journalism major at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in the fall of that same year. While in college, Ford won a Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas award; founded and edited a literary magazine, Avalaff; co-wrote a book of poetry, Two Poets, with his friend Carl Selph in 1951; and published his own book of poetry, The Stallion’s Nest, the next year.
Immediately after graduating from college in 1952, Ford was drafted into the army. Due to poor eyesight, he was stationed in Hanau, Germany, rather than in Korea. Several poems he wrote during his military service appeared in Stars and Stripes; he re-published these as This Was My War in 1955.
After being discharged in November 1954, Ford was employed in the offices of Phillips Petroleum in New Mexico. In 1956, his manuscript, “The Manchild from Sunday Creek,” won the Kaleidograph Book Competition. This success prompted him to quit his job and devote himself to poetry, but he soon found earning a living as a poet to be difficult. Ford returned to his parents’ farm in February 1958 and began editing a poetry column, “The Golden Country,” for The Ozarks Mountaineer. In 1959, he published One Leg Short from Climbing Hills, a collection of light verse and tall tales.
Ford enjoyed several literary successes during the 1960s. He and his friend Hank Spruce formed Homestead Publishing in 1961 and published Ford’s A Thicket of Sky. In 1962, Ford’s poem “Return to Pea Ridge” was read at the dedication of the Pea Ridge battleground. In 1965, he published Love Is the House It Lives In and was paid $750 by Boy’s Life for “St. Nicholas Rides Again.” In 1965, Ford was invited by the Library of Congress to record some of his poems. A year later, the University of Arkansas inducted Ford as a Distinguished Alumni, and he received the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award ($3,500) from the Poetry Society of America. Perhaps the most significant of Ford’s achievements during this decade was that his manuscript “Looking for Shiloh” was awarded the Devins Memorial Award in the 1968 Kansas City Poetry contest and was published by the University of Missouri Press."
More from Encyclopedia of Arkansas
Krista Khone '89
VP Special Projects and Leadership
Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce
Education: University of Central Arkansas, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. BSE (Elementary Education); M.Ed (Adult Education)
Family: Single (it’s all I can do just to take care of me!) Parents: Ben and Irvelene Khone
Favorite Teacher: There are four that stand out in my mind: Carole Denney, Betty Melson, Bob Ross and Dale Marlow.
Special Influence: All my life I have been in the middle of everything that was happening, especially if it was fun. I never wanted to miss a party or a road trip and my senior year only personified that. I had been accepted to the University of Central Arkansas early into my senior year and to me that meant I could coast through the next few months, enjoying the good times. I could not have been more incorrect. My parents had always encouraged me to participate in extra curricular activities and to enjoy the times spent with friends, but they also expected my best where academics were concerned. I had two advanced courses on my schedule, one of which was Bob Ross’ biology class. Mr. Ross was a long-time family friend and neighbor and I automatically thought he would let me slide in his class because I had already been accepted at UCA. About half way through the fall semester I was doing, shall we say, “very poorly.” Mr. Ross called my parents and asked if he could drop by the house for a visit. What followed was a conversation that would forever change me. Mr. Ross began by congratulating my parents and me on my acceptance to UCA. He then went on to say he knew that I was a much better student than I had shown in his class and although I had been accepted into college that was no reason to not give my best effort. In fact, this was the perfect time to apply a little extra effort. Mr. Ross challenged me to work hard and excel. Bob Ross left my living room that night with no idea the impact he made on me. From that simple conversation, I learned that anything but my best is unacceptable and that doing the right thing always counts, especially when you think it doesn’t matter. Bob Ross was an exceptional teacher and an even better person. There is no telling how many lives he touched and the differences he made. I will always be grateful for what he did for me.
Achievements: My job has provided opportunities that I never could have imagined. If you’d told me when I graduated from high school that I would spend 10+ years working for a chamber of commerce, I would have told you I didn’t even know what a chamber of commerce was. I’ve had the opportunity to travel nationally and internationally, to meet incredible people and be a part of so many wonderful events and activities. The two things I am most proud of are the coordination of the NWA Business Women’s Conference and my work with the NWA Women’s Shelter. The Women’s Conference is the largest conference of its kind in the state of Arkansas and is quickly becoming nationally known. Each year over 1,200 women attend the conference that has featured keynote speakers such as Pat Summitt, Gladys Knight, Erin Brockovich and many others. My work with the women’s shelter has been challenging, eye-opening and heart warming. It was an honor for me to serve as the board president and help grow the organization. One of the things I’m most proud of is the opportunity we had last summer to move into the Center for Nonprofits. That opportunity enabled us to more than double our capacity and grow our outreach programs. I have also had the opportunity to work with many wonderful non profit and educational organizations that serve those in need and those seeking to better themselves. I am grateful to have been able to serve on the boards of NorthWest Arkansas Community College, YMCA of NWA, Red Cross of NWA, Rogers Public Library Foundation, NWACC SIFE and John Brown University SIFE. My passion will always remain with education and community service.
Notable Experiences: One of the highlights of my career has been the opportunity to have dinner with and visit one on one with Tennessee Women’s Basketball coach Pat Summitt. Coach Summitt does very few speaking engagements and we were so fortunate to be able to bring her to northwest Arkansas. I had to the opportunity to share dinner with her and my mom and visit with her for a while. She is without a doubt one of the most engaging, intriguing people I have ever met and I was completely honored and humbled.
Other thoughts or comments: I did my student teaching in Rogers with Brenda Brannan at Tillery Elementary and my mother taught for 25 years in the district. Rogers Public Schools hold a very special place in my heart and I will always be proud to be a Mountie. I’m thankful for the top quality education I received and the dedication of all the teachers I had along the way.
Jeff Soderquist '88
Head Women's Basketball Coach and Assistant Director of Athletics
John Brown University
Siloam Springs, Ark.
Education: John Brown University - B.S.E. Secondary Education - Business
Family: Married to Amy and have two children: our daughter Kacey and our son Breck.
Favorite School Memory: I had a number of fun and wonderful memories; I just can't pick one.
Favorite Teacher: My 6th grade teacher Mrs. Voelkel, Tom Woodruff, Ed Prentice, the Reagan sisters, Coach Niven, Coach Williams, and Coach Walsh
Honors/Awards: 2004 Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, The winningest women's basketball coach in John Brown history
Notable Experiences: Have been able to do basketball camps and clinics in Belgium, Brazil, and Costa Rica. Have been able to travel to Russia and Czech Republic when they were under communism. Have traveled to India, Nepal, Italy, Poland, Austria, and Nigeria.
Jennifer Goodwin '06
Education: Drury University, Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Spanish, expected May 2010
University of Maryland, Master of Arts in Criminology & Criminal Justice, expected May 2012
Achievements: Trustee Scholar at Drury University; recently awarded a graduate assistantship at University of Maryland
Notable Experiences: I studied abroad at Regent's College in London, England for a semester, and it changed my life!
Favorite Teacher: It is quite difficult to pick just one teacher or staff member! However, Debra Wingert, John Raybourn, and Bill Stringer immediately come to mind when I am asked this question. Ms. Wingert was an amazing mentor to me, both in class and in my time in student council. Mr. Raybourn had a very profound effect on my education, teaching me to think differently while putting up with my constant challenges in class. Finally, Mr. Stringer has always been very supportive of me in all of my endeavors--he even hired me for a summer when I was desperately in need of employment!
Jennifer Little '87
Grace Hill Elementary
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education; Master of Science in School Counseling; Program of study in school administration
Family: Married to Jeff; 1 daughter, Chandler, and 1 son, Cameron.
Favorite School Memory: My favorite memory of public school is attending RHS. The campus (which required us to go outside between classes), the teachers, and friends made those years so much fun! I hope my daughter (who will go to RHS next year) will have as much fun and learn as much as I did.
Special Influence: The most valuable class I took while I attended RPS was Grimsley Graham's writing class. I had very little confidence in my ability to write. Mr. Graham took the time to really teach me some very important skills. Those are skills that I use every single day!
Other Thoughts: I tried very hard to choose a favorite teacher from my school career in Rogers. Just as I decided on one, I would remember another special person that I just couldn't leave out. When I finished, I had a list of about 15 wonderful teachers, principals, coaches, and school secretaries that made my years in Rogers Public Schools so amazing. I couldn't possibly name only one fabulous teacher in Rogers.....but I can give you a list!
Jamie (Clark) Ragan '90
Solon (Cleveland), Ohio
Education: University of Arkansas--BS Economics 1994, Samuel M. Walton College of Business--MBA 1996
Family: Married, 2 boys
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Graham & Mr. Prentice--I liked them ALL!!
Special Influence: Mr. Graham made me have a better appreciation for English, and Mr. Prentice made me have a better appreciation for history--neither of which, I would say, were or are my strengths.
Honors/Awards: Received Buyer of the Year at Walmart in 2001 & 2005
Other Thoughts: I have lived in NWA since 1987--and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else!!
Jay Miles '84
Teacher / Coach
Rogers Heritage High School
Education: BS - Biology; MS - Agronomy
Family: 1 child
Favorite School Memory: Each and every teacher I had at RHS has had an impact on my life and my career. The sum total of all those experiences has helped to prepare me for my future, both then and now.
Honors: 2008 Arkansas Track Coach of the Year
Achievements: 2008 7A State Champions - Outdoor Track
2008 7A West Conference Champions - Outdoor Track
2008 5,6,7A State Champions - Indoor Track
2007 7A State Champions - Outdoor Track
**multiple collegiate track athletes
Sean Keith '86
Keith Miller Butler Schneider & Pawlik, PLLC
Education: Westminster College - BA
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville - JD
Family: Married to Amy; 2 children - Patrick and Mallory
Favorite School Memory: Hands Across America Teacher Skits
Favorite Teachers: Mr. Ross and Mr. Graham
Impact of a Rogers Education: Small enough to be personal but big enough to provide opportunities. I later appreciated Mr. Prentice's passion and love of history which I eventually shared.
Honors: Chairman of Board of Governors for the Arkansas Bar Association which is a group of 5,000 attorneys in the State of Arkansas.
Achievements: Able to start my own law firm in my hometown and because of my friends and family here, I have been able to grow it to 11 attorneys.