Summer Seminar Highlights

More than 160 educators from across (and even outside of) Arkansas gathered at the L.E. "Gene" Durand Center at Northark College in Harrison to better understand how to encourage students in using technology to solve community problems. These facilitators attended Tech Camp and Summer Seminar and heard from EAST Initiative staff, industry professionals, each other and even students as they tackled new tech, talked classroom best practices and even met new potential partners to work with as their students engage in service outreach.

This year’s event saw the return of the scheduling matrix, a complex system of staggering and repeating different breakout sessions to give attendees better flexibility in making their schedules. The event also saw the return of the popular Playground, at which participants could engage in a quick lesson about some of the coolest technologies out there. The idea, of course, is to offer the best professional development to be found anywhere, and educators said 2016 was a success on that front.

Of course, this being summer, the plan was also to have a little fun by way of evening activities, which included a reception hosted by the 1929 Hotel Seville on the first night of Summer Seminar and a murder mystery dinner hosted by Twelve Oaks Events on the final night.

We here at EAST wish to offer our sincere thanks to the city and people of Harrison for their great hospitality and to our facilitators for spending part of their summer by the Buffalo with us.


It’s alway fun to say "job well done," especially when everybody around knows just how much work went into that job. We offer our kudos (along with pins and certificates) to those facilitators who have served in EAST classrooms for 5, 10 and 15 years. We’re getting close to seeing some hit the 20-year mark, too, and we can’t wait!

15 Year Recipients

  • Tyra Hobson, Mena High School (not pictured)
  • Janice Taylor, Cedarville High School (not pictured)
  • Carole Anderson, DeWitt High School
  • Fran Bailey, Malvern High School
  • Cindy Freer, Fordyce High School

10 Year Recipients

  • Jonathan Watson, Stuttgart High School
  • Lance Fritchman, McClellan Magnet High School
  • Debbie Lamb, Springdale School of Innovation

5 Year Recipients

  • Lisa Byrd, Cutter Morning Star High School (not pictured)
  • Tony Freeman, Genoa Central High School
  • Sharla Hartzell, Dover High School
  • Catherine Holland, Mt. Vernon-Enola High School (not pictured)
  • Amy Johnson, Fouke Schools
  • Carrie Kirkes, Kiamichi Technology Centers - Talihina Campus (not pictured)
  • Paul Miller, Gardner Magnet Elementary School
  • Peggy Nakamoto, Martin Luther King Elementary School
  • Michael Nicolosi, Magnet Cove High School (not pictured)
  • Jeff Risner, Joe T. Robinson High School
  • Mason Pyper, Southside High School - Fort Smith
  • Annette Smith, Mansfield High School
  • Carole Smith, Mountain View High School
  • Josh Worthy, Sonora Elementary School

Evening Events

Chill at the Seville

The friendly folks at the 1929 Hotel Seville went all out to turn the stunning Spanish-Revival lobby into a warm and welcoming, island-themed reception for Summer Seminar guests. With live music, great food (those mushrooms!) and plenty of character, it was an event to remember!

Murder in Margaritaland

Who knew murder could be so much fun? The gorgeous Twelve Oaks Events served as a backdrop for a night of mystery, mayhem and munchies as guests had to figure out whodunnit when one among then was suddenly poisoned! It was all in good fun though -- and a great way to unwind after a long day of training!

A Big Thanks To...

Summer Seminar would not have been what it was without the help of some very dedicated folks. The EAST Initiative would like to offer thanks to the following:

Thank you to all of the amazing supporters from Harrison who welcomed us in, especially:

  • 1929 Hotel Seville
  • Twelve Oaks Events
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Hampton Inn & Quality Inn
  • Jamie’s Creative Catering
  • Larry Sexton and the Harrison Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • North Arkansas College Staff and President Dr. Randall "Randy" Esters
  • Mayor Dan Sherrell and the City of Harrison

Presenters, Playground Exhibitors, and Guests

EAST Presenters:

  • John Stokes - Hot Springs Middle School
  • Josh Worthy - Sonora Elementary School
  • Julie Reardon - Southside Junior High School-Batesville
  • Julie Roach - Eagle Mountain Magnet Elementary School
  • Karla Garrison - Harrisburg Middle School
  • Mary Beth Hatch - Harrison Junior High School
  • Melody Gilleran - Fountain Lake High School
  • Michelle Bonds - Bald Knob Schools
  • Monica Mackey - Southwest Junior High School
  • Patrick Lanford - Gentry High School
  • Sharla Hartzell - Dover High School
  • Andrea Edmondson - Lakeside Junior High School-Springdale
  • Brittany Berry - Helen Tyson Middle School
  • Derek Ratchford - Springdale Public Schools
  • EAST at Harrison Jr. High School
  • EAST at Mountain Home School District
  • EAST at West Side High School
  • Jackie Meissner - Mountain Home High School
  • Jason Weaver - Southside High School-Batesville
  • Jeanne Roepcke - Batesville High School
  • Jessica Barnes Watts - UALR EAST
  • Jill Sanders - Buffalo Island Central High School

Guest Presenters:

  • Malcolm Williamson - CAST
  • Michele McWilliams - MLM Leadership Services, LLC
  • Paul Wolf - Hass Hall Academy
  • Philip Osborne - Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
  • Reuben Canada - EAST Alumni/Inuvo
  • Robyn Lane - CAST
  • Robert Sanders, P.E. - Electrical Engineering Department - University of Arkansas Fayetteville
  • Sandon Williams - Department of Career Education
  • Susan Gilley - Harrison School District
  • Taylor Wynn - Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation - Berryville
  • Terri Argyle - Arkansas Master Naturalist
  • Alan Watson - Museum of Discovery
  • Becky Roark - Illinois River Watershed Partnership
  • Brandon Kemp - Arkansas State University
  • Brent Coney - EAST Alumni/Inuvo
  • Brice Smith - EAST Alumni/Acxiom/Arkansas Fellow
  • Bruce Lewis - Bedford Camera
  • David Martin - MLM Leadership Services, LLC
  • Drew Wallis - NWA 3D
  • Jane Jones-Schulz - Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission
  • Joshua Van Vleet - NWA 3D
  • Kim Bayliss - Department of Career Education
  • Kirsch Mackey - Electrical Engineering Department - University of Arkansas - Fayetteville
  • Kristin Koenigsfest - Arkansas Out of School Network
  • Liz Philpott - Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission

Prize and Swag Bag Donors

Thanks to generous donations from the companies listed below, EAST was able to give away more than $8,000 worth of gifts and merchandise including gift baskets, gift cards, hotel stays and getaways and so much more. EAST would like to offer a special thanks to all these folks for their kind donations.


  • Branson Lakes Chamber of Commerce
  • Larry’s Pizza
  • Visit Hot Springs
  • University of Monticello
  • GHA Technology, John Manley
  • CompTIA
  • The Track Family Fun Parks in Branson
  • Applebee’s (NLR)
  • Starbucks (JFK)
  • Staples (LR)
  • Museum of Discovery
  • Crowne Plaza Little Rock
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Hot Springs
  • Walmart (Shackleford)
  • Little Rock Marathon
  • The Innovation Hub
  • Frenzy & Kids Frenzy
  • Harness Boots
  • Nature’s Wonder
  • UCA Bookstore
  • Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission
  • Six Sisters Boutique
  • Buffalo Outdoor Center
  • BCC at the Gilbert General Store
  • Shelby’s Gifts
  • Buffalo National River Park
  • Travis Arnold, Weichert Realtors
  • Community First Bank
  • National Park Radio
  • Branson Landing
  • Harrison Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • B & B Solutions
  • Newks (Little Rock)
  • Painting with a Twist (Little Rock)
  • Painting with a Twist (NLR)
  • Tami Baker, Just a Little Arm Candy
  • Walmart (Cantrell)
  • Yoakum, Lovell & Company, PLC
  • Branch Out
  • Malco Theatre
  • Arkansas Razorback Athletics
  • TGIFridays (NLR)
  • Izzy’s
  • Northwest Arkansas Naturals
  • Grand Country Music Hall
  • The Arlington Hotel & Spa
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Dave’s Guide Service
  • Whatever It Takes-Team National
  • Panera
  • Holiday Inn West Little Rock
  • Winthrop Rockefeller Institute
  • Massage Envy
  • Arkansas Travelers
  • I-40 Liquor
  • Otterbox
  • EAST Initiative
  • Wyndham Riverfront
  • S-C Seasonings
  • Ace Hardware
  • 4Imprint
  • Silver Dollar City
  • Logan Hall, DLT Events
  • Starbucks (Rodney Parham)
  • Best Western Inn of the Ozarks