4 from Arkansas selected as Presidential Leadership Fellows; the program starts this week in DC

Four Arkansans are among 60 people chosen this year to be Presidential Leadership Scholars, according to the Clinton Foundation.

The program kicks off Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of several months, they will learn about leadership through the experiences of four former presidents – Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and George W. Bush – and visit the libraries of these presidents.

The 2019 Arkansas Fellows are Kim Davis, senior program officer at the Walton Family Foundation in Fayetteville; Jill Floyd, project manager and director of community outreach at CDI Contractors of Little Rock; Willie Montgomery III, director and data scientist at Walmart Inc. in Bentonville; and Sherry Skaggs, assistant professor of criminology at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway.

Montgomery said the candidates submitted proposed initiatives. His initiative involved building a food manufacturing plant and distribution centers in various parts of Arkansas.

“Mine is about creating jobs,” Montgomery said. “I’m going to work with a local business here in Arkansas. I’m going to help them improve their systems and work on increasing their demand, increasing their production, so they can hire more people.”

Montgomery said he hopes he can help people in lower socioeconomic areas of the state so they can get gainful employment.

Montgomery said he grew up in Little Rock and was concerned about poverty in the Delta.

Skaggs wants to evaluate and expand the Share-A-Bear program she has been working on at UCA for four years.

The program includes a donation drive where new and gently used teddy bears are collected, as well as toys, school supplies and winter coats. Items are distributed to children primarily at a holiday event held each December in Conway. Skaggs said about 3,000 bears were given out each year during the program’s existence.

The program also provides teddy bears to select law enforcement officers from Conway, UCA, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police. When the police respond to a call where a child might be present, they take a teddy bear to give to the child.

“It’s a good way to calm the kid down and get a good reaction from the kid if you give him a bear,” Skaggs said. “We know that many opinions of law enforcement officers are formed during their youth. We know that there are many barriers, cultural barriers, socio-economic barriers. It’s a way to break these barriers.

This is the fifth class of Presidential Leadership Scholars.

They were selected after a rigorous application and review process, according to a Clinton Foundation press release.

“Scholars were selected based on their potential for leadership growth and their personal leadership projects aimed at enhancing civic engagement or social good by addressing an issue or need in their community, country or country. world,” the statement said.

Scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key former administration officials, business and civic leaders and leading academics, according to the statement. Former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush have spoken to scholars at past programs.

Fellows will visit the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock and three centers in Texas: the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, the George HW Bush Presidential Library in College Station, and the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

“They will study and practice various approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in their communities,” the statement said.

“The latest class joins an active network of 240 fellows who are applying lessons learned through the program to make a difference in the United States and around the world,” the statement said.

“Examples of these scholarly-led efforts include providing jobs and mentoring to veterans, helping developing countries access safe anesthesia services for effective surgical care, empowering women with economic opportunities through clean energy in Africa and the deployment of much needed resources in the wake of natural disasters,” the statement read.

Metro on 02/03/2019

Kevin E. Boling