The Board of Directors

Leadership Texarkana's success is due to the generous service of Leadership Texarkana grads who share their time and talents in support of LT's work in the community.  

2022-2023 Board of Directors

  • Jaimie Alexander, President
  • Fred R. Norton, Jr., President-Elect
  • Queenie Miller, Secretary
  • Denis Washington, Treasurer
  • David Reavis, Past-President
  • Ruth Ellen Whitt, Executive Director


Jaimie Alexander (LT Class of 2019)

Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church, AR

Jaimie is a graduate of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. He has been Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Texarkana Arkansas for six years and has been an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church under appointment of the Bishop of the Arkansas Conference of the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church for 32 years. He relocated to Texarkana in 2017 from Rogers, Arkansas and has fallen in love with the community. He also serves locally on several non-profit boards and is an active volunteer in many more. Jaimie is past president of each Ministerial Alliance where he has lived, he formally served on the Arkansas Conference Council of Ministries, Advisory Board of Aldersgate Ministries, C.I. Solutions Board, as a docent for the Texarkana Museum System, and former columnist of White River Journal for 21 years. 


Fred R. Norton, Jr. (LT Class of 1985)

President-Elect / Chair of the LIfT Initiative
Norton and Wood, LLP

Fred is a member of the Texarkana law firm Norton & Wood where his practice is limited to matters of federal and state taxation, estate planning, probate and the administration of estates, and the formation and operation of business, professional, and nonprofit entities. He is Board Certified in Tax Law and in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been named a “Super Lawyer” in the field of tax law. He also serves as an Assistant Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. A 1985 graduate of Leadership Texarkana, Fred currently chairs the Community Leadership Initiatives committee and bears primary responsibility for “LIfT”–the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana. He serves as a trustee of the Texarkana Independent School District and is a director of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce. Beyond Texarkana, Fred is a trustee of the Baptist Foundation of Texas and Vice-Chair of the National Membership Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.


Denis Washington (LT Class of 1988) – Treasurer
Chairman / CEO 
Texarkana Regional Chamber of Commerce

Denis is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi and a Texarkana resident since 1986.  He was a member of the LT Class of 1988 and has served various community organizations in the decades since. Several years ago, he retired from Regions Bank and a commercial banking career that began with The Texarkana National Bank.   In retirement, he remained active with the boards of TexAmericas Center, The Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, The Texarkana Public Facilities Corporation, and ARTEX Regional Development Corporation.  In 2022, Denis accepted a new call to community leadership in his current role at the Chamber of Commerce. He  is the 2011 recipient of both the Idalee Hawkins Leadership Award and The C. E. Palmer Award for Civic Service.  Denis and his wife, Mary, have three sons; Roderick, Brandon and Jared, along with four grandchildren; Myles, Amaya, Sydney and Olivia.

  Queenie Miller (LT Class of 2021) - Secretary

Development & Operations Engineer
Day and Zimmerman

Queenie Miller moved to Texarkana when she joined Cooper Tire & Rubber Company of Texarkana, in 2017 as an Industrial Engineer. In that role, she worked closely with Production Managers to ensure the facility was able to meet its tire production goals through comprehensive logistical planning. She is a 2016 graduate of Mississippi State University, where she earned a degree in Industrial Engineering.  Queenie was selected by Tire Review magazine as one of its Club 3633 honorees; she has also been featured in STEM Workforce Diversity magazine for her contributions to Cooper. Queenie is a lead member of the Cooper Tire Dream Team, a group of young leaders throughout the company nationwide who work in their communities to educate young people on careers in manufacturing among other outreach efforts.


Dr. David Reavis (LT Class of 2008) - Past President
Professor of MIS and Management
College of Business, Engineering & Technology
Texas A&M University - Texarkana

Dr. David Reavis is an Associate Professor of MIS and Management at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. He earned his MBA from Texas A&M-University-Texarkana and his Doctorate in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University. He is married to Karen Reavis and has two children, Tim Reavis and Julie Larsen. He is a member and community group leader at Fellowship Bible Church.


Keith Beason (LT Class of 2014)
goTXK Team
Community Engagement/ Parks
City of Texarkana, TX

Keith was raised in Texarkana and attended K-12 from Redwater ISD.  Keith received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Arkansas University, and Master of Adult and Higher Education degree from Texas A&M University-Texarkana.  Additionally, Keith serves as a Board Member for To Reach Every Youth, a local nonprofit to raise money for young adults diagnosed with Sarcoma.  Keith is the     Community Engagement/ Parks Director for the City of Texarkana, TX. 


Kristie Dempsey (LT Class of 2001)
Awards/Public Info

Kristie Dempsey is a native of Texarkana and serves as our LT Awards Chair. Kristie is a 2002 graduate of LT and has served numerous community organizations in various roles, such as Jr. League, Teen Court and Red Lick Education Foundation. Kristie has worked as a Trust & Wealth Officer with Bank OZK and holds the Certified Financial Planner™ professional designation, as well as Certified Trust & Financial Advisor. She is married to Jason and they have three boys: Jonah, Micah and Eli. They enjoy weekends on the lake hiking, fishing and boating.



Silfida Gomez (LT Class of 2011)
Author DC Gomez and 
Executive Officer for Red River Army Depot

D. C. Gomez is an award winner, USA Today Best-selling Author, public speaker, mentor and podcaster. She writes in multiple genres from Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Lit, YA, Children’s Books, and even Devotionals. She has a quirky and at times dark sense of humor that can be seen across her different books.  When she is not creating new stories, D. C. is working on her podcast, Inside the Minds of Authors. The podcast features upcoming and popular authors with new episodes each Friday. These fun and inspiring conversations provide the listeners with an inside look at the creation process of books as well as the charisma of the authors. D.C. has an undergraduate degree in Film and Television from NYU.  After college, she joined the US Army, where she proudly served for four years. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New England, she now calls Texas her new adoptive home.  More About D. C. Gomez at


Jennifer Harland (2011)
LIfT Strategic Doing Core Team  
External Affairs Manager

Jennifer is the External Affairs Manager for Southwestern Electric Power Company’s (SWEPCO) Texarkana District.  Her strategic focus is on community relations, economic development and public policy matters, particularly as they affect AEP SWEPCO’s business in the changing electricity utility industry.  Jennifer recently celebrated 30-year anniversary with AEP!  Jennifer currently serves on the Texarkana USA Chamber Board of Directors as past-chair, AR-TX Regional Economic Development, Inc. Board of Directors and is past-chair of the Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas Board of Directors and continues to serve on this Board.  Jennifer also serves on Greater United Way of Texarkana Board of Directors and Miller-Bowie Literacy Council.  Jennifer is a graduate of the Community Development Institute at University of Central Arkansas and is a certified Professional Community and Economic Developer.  Harland is also a graduate of Leadership Texarkana and Leadership Mt. Pleasant.  Jennifer graduated in September 2020, from The Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute.  Harland has also completed both Texas and Arkansas Basic Economic Development Courses and is a graduate of the Red River Leadership Institute. Harland received a BS degree in biology and a MS in aquatic ecology (Limnology) and statistics from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.  Jennifer and husband Craig just moved to the Arkansas side close to family ranch and share 3 kids and 8 grandkids. 


Stacye Magness (LT Class of 2017)
Public Information
Magness Marketing

Stacye is a Marketing Account Manager for True North Custom, a Healthcare Digital and Content Marketing Agency. In her role, Stacye manages marketing campaigns for various healthcare organizations all over the United States. Prior to her role at True North, Stacye worked for CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System for nine years, coordinating marketing efforts for key hospital services including oncology, women and children, cardiology, imaging, emergency, inpatient and outpatient rehab, and community outreach services. In addition to her full-time role, Stacye provides freelance marketing through her business, Magness Marketing. Stacye provides marketing strategy consulting, traditional and digital advertising placement, graphic design, web design, social media management, and more, for multiple clients. Stacye graduated from Texas A&M University-Texarkana with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications in 2010 followed by a Master of Business Administration in 2013.  Stacye currently resides in Texarkana, AR, with husband Chad and two sons Dalton and Fletcher. She and her family are members of Beech Street First Baptist Church. She is a Leadership Texarkana graduate of 2017 and a volunteer with Angel Fund, Inc. and Women of A&M-Texarkana. Stacye enjoys running and spending time with family and friends. 


Brian Matthews (LT Class of 2021)
Tenured Assoc Professor of Mgt
Texas A&M University-Texarkana
College of Business, Engineering & Technology

Dr. Brian L. Matthews is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business, Engineering, & Technology at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. A graduate of Ashdown High School, he attended Harding University and he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing in 2001 and graduated with a Master of Business Administration in Management in 2002. In 2012, he successfully defended his dissertation and received a Doctor of Business Administration in Marketing from Argosy University. Dr. Matthews has proven himself to be a dedicated servant for over 15 years. As a former city councilmember and graduate of Leadership Texarkana, Dr. Matthews serves on numerous boards and committees at A&M-Texarkana and the community. He has published research articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals and contributes to the Texarkana Gazette as a guest business columnist.


Caleb Mudford (2017)
goTXK Team
Project Manager
AL Franks Engineering

Caleb Mudford was born and raised in the Texarkana area and graduated high school from Genoa Central.  After high school he attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  He worked as a transportation engineer in Tulsa for two years and Little Rock for one year before returning home to Texarkana.  After moving back home from college and work, Caleb decided that he wanted to become more involved in the community and was fortunate enough to be a part of Leadership Texarkana in 2017 where he made many new connections and learned a great deal about Texarkana.   After LT, Caleb served on the Economic Development Council and as Vice Chairman and Chairman of Greater Texarkana Young Professionals.  Currently Caleb is a Project Manager for A.L. Franks Engineering downtown and is active in GTYP.  Caleb believes that you have to be the change you want to see.


Patti O’Bannon (LT Class of 2013)
Leadership Frameworks
Principal, Texas High, TISD

Patti O’Bannon holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Southern Arkansas University, a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology and Principal Certification from Texas A&M University-Texarkana and a Superintendent Certification from the Bill Ratliff Executive Academy at Texas A&M University-Commerce. O’Bannon began her career in education 30 years ago serving in varied positions with several local districts.  She currently serves in the Texarkana Independent School District as principal of Texas High School.  O’Bannon has led enrollment growth and district leadership within the Leader in Me program. In 2016, she helped lead Nash Elementary to their designation as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by Franklin Covey Co. During that same year, the campus was also named a Texas Honor Roll School. 2018 brought more recognition to the Nash Elementary campus as it was recognized as a Lighthouse School of Academic Distinction.  In 2020, Mrs. O’Bannon was chosen as the Region 8 TEPSA Principal of the Year.


Haley Roeser (LT Class of 2021)
Partner Development/ Special Events
Community Volunteer

As a Texarkana-native, Haley is grateful for the path that led her back to her hometown. After graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Organization Leadership, Haley spent five years at a school district in DFW teaching Science, coaching year-round, and running the Adaptive PE program for special needs kids. It was a tough decision to leave the profession and pursue her passion for serving others through nonprofit work, but Haley is thrilled to be back and serving the Texarkana community. From 2020-2022, Haley served as the Development Specialist at CASA for Children and worked alongside the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center to bring hope, healing, and justice to children in our area who have been abused and neglected. Haley is committed to supporting her community through volunteer work. Alongside her role on the Board of Directors for Leadership Texarkana, Haley is on the Board of Directors for Alzheimer’s Alliance Tri-State Area, an active member of the Texarkana Panhellenic Council, a volunteer for Clay’s Golf and Guitars, and a member of Williams Memorial United Methodist Church. Haley is married to Randy Roeser, a local attorney, and they have one son, Jack, who was born in August 2021. 


Jason Ross (LT Class of 2020)
Partner Development
Texarkana Pres
Simmons Bank

Jason B. Ross was a 2020 Graduate of Leadership Texarkana, and has served as a board member ever since. Mr. Ross was born and raised in Lewisville, AR. He graduated from Southern Arkansas University in 2005 with a degree in Business Administration. While in college Mr. Ross was a pitcher for the Mulerider baseball team. Mr. Ross absolutely loves being a banker.  Previously serving as Sr. Vice President for State Bank, Mr. Ross has over 15 years of banking and leadership experience. As a banker, Mr. Ross works daily within his network of local businesses and consumers to provide a diverse amount of financial solutions to meet their unique and specific needs. Mr. Ross believes that there is a need for a personal approach when it comes to banking because people bank with people. Mr. Ross is married to his best friend, Lauren, together raising two daughters, Emerie (12), and Nora (4). Mr. Ross is an active member of Williams Memorial United Methodist Church, Greater Texarkana Young Professionals board member, and volunteers with other various local community outreach organizations.


Mason White (LT Class of 2021)
LIfT Community Leadership Initiatives
Vice-President, Operations
White Properties 

Mason works as VP of Operations at his family business, White Properties. He manages a growing portfolio of apartments, duplexes, and townhomes in the Greater Texarkana area. A proud graduate of Texas A&M University, Mason also received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Arkansas. After living in Annapolis, MD and Denver, CO for several years following grad school, Mason returned home to help with new and exciting build-to-rent projects currently being developed in Texarkana and Nash. Mason spends his time reinvesting in the Texarkana community, and is a 2021 graduate of Leadership Texarkana. He has served as a founding member of the Pitch It Texarkana entrepreneurial idea competition, board member of Eagle Impact for Texas A&M-Texarkana, Friends of Scouting Pacesetter Committee, and Perot Theatre Community Committee. He also enjoys supporting and volunteering with the Clay Eichler Memorial Fund’s annual event, Clay’s Golf & Guitars.


 Mary Ellen Young  (LT Class of 1995)
Special Events/ Hospitality
Dean of Liberal and Performing Arts 
Texarkana College

Mary Ellen Young is the Dean of Liberal and Performing Arts and the Honors College at Texarkana College.  She is a graduate of Texas A & M University - Texarkana (1984 - B.S.;1994- M.Ed.) and is currently a doctoral student at the American College of Education in Indianapolis, Indiana studying Higher Education Leadership.  She is also an English professor and the advisor for Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society where she has been named an international Distinguished Advisor.  She is the president-elect of the Texas Community College Teachers Association in Austin, Texas. She is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Texas and a recipient of the Texarkana College Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) Teaching and Leadership Excellence Award.  She served as Community Vice President and Sustainer President of the Junior League of Texarkana and formerly served on the Angel Guild for Opportunities, Inc. and the Friends of the Foundation for CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.  She is the daughter of Donna Young and the late Dr. Mitchell Young.    


One-Year Appointment representing the LT Class of 2022:
Jennifer Cunningham
Public Info/ Fall Party
Director of Student Relations
Univ of AR-Hope/Txk

Jennifer (Wright) Cunningham was raised in southwest Arkansas and is now proud to call her husband, Bryant’s hometown of Texarkana “home.”  With over a decade of experience in college admissions and enrollment, Jennifer serves as the Director of Student Relations at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana where she sustains the planning and execution of recruitment activities, strategic communication, and New Student Orientation.  She’s also putting her Master of Science in Sports Administration and passion for health to good use as the Personal & Community Health Instructor for UAHT’s Collegiate Academy.   (You might find her behind the scenes of UAHT’s official TikTok page too.)  As a member of Leadership Texarkana (2022), the Greater Texarkana Young Professionals, and the most recent host of KLFI’s “Down the Line,” Jennifer is enthusiastic to experience and promote the enriching qualities of the Texarkana community.  She once won the ‘Congeniality’ award at an international pageant, so if you see her around, make sure to say “Hi."


One-Year Appointment representing the LT Class of 2022:
Vashil Fernandez 
goTXK / Fall Party
Director of Planning & Community Development
City of Texarkana,Texas

Vashil Fernandez servant of God and Family man born and raised in Jamaica, serves as the Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Texarkana, Texas. Vashil graduated Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana with a bachelor’s in International Business and 2 Master’s in International Economics and Finance and International Commerce and Policies. He is a former professional athlete that retired in 2019 and started working with the City that year. Vashil is Married to Bridget (Teacher at PGISD) and they have 3 girls, Maia, Olivia and Kadence. Vashil Has a passion for development and loves to serve everyone in the community, from the homeless to the small businesses and the neighborhoods and the large-scale businesses. Vashil always finds time for reading my Bible, Prayer, Family-time, going to Church and cooking. Sometimes playing or coaching basketball; he is committed to supporting the work of his church, Texarkana Homeless Coalition, Farmer’s Market and GTYP.


Lila Walker (LT Class of 1997)
Leadership Frameworks/ Program Support

Dr. Lila Walker.  Work: Retired Professor of Adult Education, Texas A&M University-Texarkana.  Employed with TAMU-T (1985-2010)/ Adjunct professor teaching leadership, adult learning, and organizational change courses (2012-2021). Education: Doctor of Philosophy in Higher and Adult Education from University of North Texas (1995); Masters Counseling Psychology TAMU-T (1985); Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences TAMU-T (1982). Professional: Served as Coordinator for the Adult Education master program. Taught undergraduate classes in community leadership and psychology. Taught graduate classes in leadership, adult learning, program planning. Primary field of interest is leadership  Research: Evaluation of Leadership Texarkana: 25 Year Community Leadership Program, presented paper at the Community Leadership Association Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 2007  Volunteer: Graduate of Leadership Texarkana 1997, Curriculum Director 2002-03, Co-Chair 2005-2006, served as LT Board Chair (2 years), currently assist with Leadership Texarkana class. President of the Board for Girl Scouts of Conifer Council (6 years). Lifetime member of TAMU-T Alumni Association. Awards: Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences and Education 2004 (selected by Alumni Association); Outstanding Alumna BAAS degree program TAMU-T (2006); Ida Lee Hawkins Leadership Award (2008). Rotarian of the Year Wilbur Smith Downtown Rotary Club (2009). Thanks Badge Award Girl Scouts (2010). Outstanding Leadership and Service Award, TAMU-T Alumni Association (2010).


Hillary Cloud 
Executive Assistant


Born and raised here in Texarkana, TX. Hillary studied Kinesiology at Mississippi College where she played soccer for four years. After graduating, Hillary moved to Austin, TX where she started her coaching career, then moved back to Mississippi to serve as the Graduate Assistant Coach at Belhaven University to coach for three years. Hillary met husband Austin Cloud while both were college students, where he attended the University of Mississippi. Married for six years, they relocated to Texarkana in 2018, were they have started their beautiful family: Fowler Grace (3) and William Bourne (1), and beloved black lab Rebel. For fun as a family, they love to be outside playing soccer, golf, disc golf, swimming or cheering on the Rebels, with their favorite being watching their children grow.  As a Texarkana native, Hillary is honored to serve our community and work towards cultivating a culture that exudes strong leadership from within our city. With a background in Education and soccer, she is excited to utilize the leadership skills the sport has equipped her with in a new arena.

  Ruth Ellen Whitt (LT Class of 1989)

Executive Director
Leadership Texarkana

A resident of Texarkana since 1983, Ruth Ellen is a native of College Station, Texas.  As LT's Executive Director since 2010, Ruth Ellen has recommitted to work she began with LT leadership during the 1990s, in particular the concept of scaling community leadership from core groups to the community at large, through LIFT: the Leadership Initiative for Texarkana / a program of Leadership Texarkana.  A 1989 graduate of Leadership Texarkana herself, and a 2009 graduate of the state's Leadership Texas program, Ruth Ellen earned BS and MA degrees in Communications from UT-Austin, multi-level teacher certifications including special ed, and all coursework, less dissertation, for a doctorate from the UT-Dallas.  An educator by profession, Ruth Ellen is also a certified Strategic Doing practitioner.  Prior to her tenure as Executive Director of Leadership Texarkana, Ruth Ellen drew on her lifelong study of the performing arts, serving as Executive Director of the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council from 1999-2008, after holding numerous other leadership positions there for the twelve years prior to 1999. Ruth Ellen holds a Certificate of Non-Profit Management from the University of Texas at Austin and has served as President of numerous non-profits in Texarkana, as well as as founding director of others. Ruth Ellen has been honored with the Leadership Texarkana's Idalee Hawkins Leader of the Year award in 1997, and with the Chamber's C.E. Palmer Award for Civic Leadership in 2009. 


  • The Board of Directors annual term of service is from July 1-June 30; terms are for three years, with a maximum of two consecutive full terms. 
  • The LT membership elects one-third of the REGULAR Board members each year at the Annual Membership Meeting from a slate of nominees which has been recommended by the Governance Committee and affirmed by the Board of Directors. 
  • Any LT member who is recommended in writing by five percent (5%) of the membership will be included on the slate submitted at the Annual Meeting. 
  • Self-nominations and/or recommendations are welcomed and should be submitted by the third week of February annually.  
  • All eligible member names submitted by the membership shall be given due consideration by the Governance Committee.