Connections: spring 2020


James W. Carr was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is currently president and chairman of Highland Home Holdings, a Dallas-based investment fund. Before his retirement from Harding in 2019, he served as executive vice president and professor of business. In 2015, he was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board, where he now serves as chairman. He also has served on the board of directors of World Christian Broadcasting since 1993 and from 2006-11 he served on the National Security Education Board. He serves on the executive board of the Quapaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America, on the board of Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and on the business board of First Community Bank. He and his wife, Susan Housley (’80), have three children. 


Mark Sperry recently published God’s Secret of Happiness. It’s a short book encouraging the reader to redefine happiness through the use of Scripture. He and his wife, Nadara, live in Texarkana, Texas. 


Lanny Dauksch retired after 40 years in public education. For 35 years, he coached high school football taking teams to 13 state championship games. He was inducted into the Arkansas Coaches Hall of Fame in 2015 and the West Memphis Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019. He and his wife, Penny, have been married 34 years and have two children, Megan and Cody. They attend Pine Street Church of Christ in Heber Springs, Arkansas. 


Lori Deacon married Daniel Arnold on June 1, 2018. Lori retired from the Ohio Department of Health, and Daniel works for the Ohio Department of Medicaid. The couple reside in Columbus with their daughter, Charis. 

Mark Horsley was inducted into the West Union (Ohio) High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Jan. 17, 2020. He ran track for four years at WUHS and was the first cross-country state qualifier from Adams County and the first individual state qualifier at WUHS. He spent 32 years teaching history at Dickson County High School and has been a minister in the church of Christ for 20 years. He has had numerous articles published, sponsored the Junior Civitan Club, coached high school teams to four straight International Economic Summit first-place titles, and competed in marathons. He and his wife, Debbie, live in Dickson, Tennessee. 


Kyle Beaty retired as an equity shareholder in the Dallas law firm of Winstead PC, following a 32-year career specializing in commercial mortgage-backed securitizations. Prior to joining Winstead, he was a managing director at Nomura Securities, The Bank of New York and Washington Mutual Bank, and a partner at the law firm of Bryan Cave. 

John M. Brown received his Ed.D. from University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, West Virginia. He teaches at Greenup County High School and also is an adjunct instructor at Ashland Community and Technical College and Kentucky Christian University. He serves as minister for the Church of Christ in Olive Hill, Kentucky. He and his wife, Dana, live in Flatwoods, Kentucky. 

Vicki Cole Clayton is chief information officer of Generations Bank in Rogers, Arkansas. She has served as information technology officer at the bank since March 2018. She previously was information technology officer at Heartland Bank of Little Rock for 20 years and information systems manager for Lockheed Martin for nine years. 


Kevin Ward became a certified professional coder and certified professional medical auditor in 2019. He is employed at the University of Michigan as a revenue specialist, website administrator and medical coder for the Department of Neurology. 


Bryan Jackson has been named chief administrative officer of Jefferson Regional in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he has served as chief financial officer since 2011. He is a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He and his wife, Charlotte Baird, live in White Hall, Arkansas.

Karen DeWoody Roberts was honored with the 2019 Gayle Pettus Pontz award from the University of Arkansas School of Law Women’s Law Student Association. She received her J.D. in 1995. She is executive vice president and general counsel for Walmart Inc. where she oversees the legal department. She was previously executive vice president and president of Walmart Realty. She serves on the Mercy Northwest Arkansas Community Board and the Northwest Arkansas Council. She is a previous board member for Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas. She is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association. She and her husband, Richie, have two daughters. 


Steven McRoberts has been hired to lead the Missouri State volleyball program. He comes to Missouri State after a six-year tenure at the University of Mississippi, where he guided the Rebels to the 2017 National Invitational Volleyball Championship title. In 23 years as a collegiate head coach, including 15 at the Division I level, he owns a 587-245 (.706) overall record with 21 winning seasons and 19 years with 20 or more victories. A 10-time conference coach of the year, his teams have won a combined 13 conference regular season, tournament and national postseason tournament titles. He has mentored a total of 20 All-Americans, 64 all-conference players, 11 conference players of the year, 12 academic All-Americans, and 29 total specialty award winners at the conference level. He and his wife, Stacy, have three children: Jackson, Nathaniel, and Mollie.


Jason Carmichael is California State University East Bay athletic director. He completed his master’s degree in physical education, health and recreation from Emporia State University. 


Kyle Johnson has joined Nobis Rehabilitation Partners as director of information technology. With nearly two decades as an IT professional in health care, he oversees the architecture and implementation of all operational and business support systems. He previously was the director of IT at LifeCare Health Partners. 

Ben (’02) and Kristina Watkins Stephens announce the adoption of twin boys Nov. 26, 2019. Lucas Barrett and Carter Ellis were born Dec. 25, 2017. Kristina is a licensed professional counselor and play therapist. She is owner of Campbell Counseling Group. They also have a daughter, Finleigh Grace. 


Amy Cooper has been inducted into the 2019-20 Women in Industry inaugural class. She is the public information officer for the North Little Rock, Arkansas, Police Department, where she assists with the reporting and communicating of major events in the community. She also is responsible for completing Freedom of Information Act requests among other duties.


Philip (’06) and Amy Eichman White announce the birth of a son, Ezra Ceola, Jan. 10, 2020. Philip is a manager at a plywood mill and sawmill, and Amy is a homemaker. They have two other sons. 


Harold and Mary Cunningham Steiner announce the birth of a son, Harold Lee Steiner IV, Jan. 28, 2020. The couple also have twin daughters, Kathryn and Clara. 


Brett (’08) and Amy Jones McGohan announce the birth of a son, Chance Carter, Nov. 26, 2019. They also have another son, Charlie Grayson. 


Kristie Miller Finley received an MSN-FNP from Bradley University in December 2019. She works for Southern Arizona Orthopedics. She and her husband, Sam, have two children and live in Tucson. 


Seth Woodason is director of sports and recreational facilities at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he oversees the operation, maintenance and scheduling of the Sports and Recreation Center and athletic facilities. A member of the SRC staff since 2015, he formerly worked at athletic facilities for University of Evansville and Gonzaga University. He earned a master’s degree in recreation and sports management from Indiana State. He and his wife, Jessica, have two children. 


Riley (’16) and Robin Gould Pate announce the birth of a daughter, Eden Rebecca, Nov. 30, 2019. They also have a son, Silas.

Joe Price III was named director of player personnel at University of Texas at San Antonio in March. He joined UTSA after spending the 2019 season as director of high school relations for the Illinois football program in Champaign. Prior to his time at Illinois, he was passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at perennial prep powerhouse North Shore High School from 2014-18. He helped the Mustangs to a pair of Class 6A-DI state championships and four district titles during his time with the program. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Stephen F. Austin in 2017. He is a member of the Texas High School Coaches Association, the American Football Coaches Association, and the Greater Houston Area Football Coaches Association, where he served as secretary on the executive board of directors. He and his wife, Joy, have two daughters, Ryan and Jordan. 


Calea Bakke married Blake Davis on March 31, 2018. They live in Nashville, Tennessee, where Calea is a real estate appraiser and agent and serves on the board of the Mary Parrish Center, and Blake is a film producer. 

Collin and Katherine Fittz Harwell announce the birth of a son, Andrew Oliver, Oct. 26, 2019. They also have a daughter, Ella Ruth. 

Caleb and Ashley Ward Mitchen announce the birth of a daughter, Rachel Jane, Oct. 4, 2019. Caleb is a national account executive for Keurig Dr. Pepper, and Ashley is a director of operations in finance at Walmart Inc. They also have a son, Luke. 


Nathan Baskett received the Rotary Club’s teacher recognition award for winter quarter 2019-20, along with a plaque and $1,000 to spend on classroom needs. He teaches sixth grade at McKinley Elementary School in the Santa Barbara (California) School District. He received his M.A. from the University of Southern California. 

Ben Caudill was named head football coach for Stewart Creek (Tennessee) High School where he previously served as defensive coordinator and taught math. Before working at Stewarts Creek, he served on the coaching staff at Brentwood High School. He and his wife, Alice, have two sons, George and Max.

Ashley Shelton received a master’s in public administration from George Mason University in December 2019. She is the legislative director for U.S. Representative Rick Crawford from Arkansas.


Josh Jackson has joined Rainwater Holt & Sexton as associate attorney where he works in the personal injury department. He holds an MBA from the Walton School of Business and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville.

Melissa Lea Nelson married Nathan Stanaland on March 9, 2019. Melissa is a special education teacher at Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Texas. 


Claire Summers is a history teacher at Conway Christian Upper School. She was one of the teachers honored at the 35th annual Golden Apple Awards by the Conway Noon Lions Club Feb. 25, 2020. She serves as the senior high sponsor for Quiz Bowl and coaches the women’s bowling team at CCS.


Sarah Hines started at News Channel 6 in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 2016 as a reporter and anchor of “News Channel 6 Weekend Morning” before being promoted to anchor of “News Channel 6 This Morning.” She serves on the board for the VITA program through the North Texas Area United Way and is a member of the Junior League of Wichita Falls. 

Heath Houtchens is a nurse practitioner and one of two faculty leaders at Baptist Health Urgent Care in Little Rock, Arkansas. He earned a Master of Science in Nursing from Harding in 2019. He and his wife, Anne Fitzgerald (’15), have a daughter. 


Mason Banger is the assistant men’s golf coach at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was a three-time All-Great American Conference selection and 2018 PING All-Central Region recipient at Harding.

Bronson Crabtree is a junior videographer at Sells Agency in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he interned. He is married to Sydney Warren

Robyn Terry is working as a global classroom language assistant in Madrid, Spain, for the 2019-20 school year. She teaches English and history and runs the Model United Nations program. 

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