ARS Leadership (click here)
Governor Mike Beebe
Mike Beebe was elected 45th governor of the state of Arkansas Nov. 7, 2006, following more than two decades of dedication to Arkansas public service. As a state senator and attorney general, Mike Beebe worked for more than 20 years to represent the people of Arkansas. As governor, he will implement the positive vision he laid out for Arkansas, to move our state forward.
Beebe was born in Amagon, Arkansas (Jackson County), in 1946. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Arkansas State University in 1968 and a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1972, all the while serving his country in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1982, Beebe worked for 20 years to achieve fiscal conservatism, to reach across party lines and to solve problems.
As governor, Beebe is committed to continuing his service and leadership to our state and its people.
Beebe and his wife, Ginger, have three adult children. Beebe is an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Searcy, where he has served as senior warden and member of the vestry.
Confirmed by Gov. Mike Beebe, William L. "Bill" Walker, Jr., was sworn in as the 10th director of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education (now the Department of Career Education) on March 16, 2007.
Upon becoming director, Mr. Walker set forth a mission for the Department of Workforce Education and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services to work collaboratively for the mutual benefit of the agency and its customers. On July 1, 2009, the Department of Workforce Education became the Department of Career Education, a name change designed to better reflect the agency’s focus on careers and on preparing Arkansans to become productive members of the workforce.
Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, the agency has developed many innovative initiatives designed to provide youth and adults with the technical and academic skills they will need to meet the demands of the modern workplace. He has led efforts to ensure that national skills standards and certification exams are incorporated into technical education programs wherever such standards and exams exist. Meeting the needs of persons living with disabilities has been a focus of his leadership as well, with Mr. Walker leading the effort to upgrade programs and facilities at the Arkansas Career Training Institute (formerly the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center).
An Arkansas native, Mr. Walker has a rich background in business and public service. In addition to majoring in business at Philander Smith and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, he has started and managed two successful businesses. He holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Mr. Walker began his public service when he was elected as a justice of the peace on the Pulaski County Quorum Court. He then served eight years in the Arkansas House of Representatives and eight years in the state Senate. He most recently served on the Arkansas Parole Board.
Deputy Director for Adult Education
James H. Smith, Jr., an Arkansas native, graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelors degree in Industrial Arts and a minor in Special Education 1970, and a Masters Vocational Education in 1975. He also earned an Educational Specialist Degree in 1990 from the University of Arkansas. He received the Model-Netics Certification and Instructor Certification in 1985.
From 1970 – 1983, Mr. Smith taught Industrial Arts and Vocational Auto Mechanics at Oak Grove High School. In 1983 he joined the Arkansas Department of Career Education as a Public School Advisor for Trade and Industrial Education and Director of Vocational Industrial Clubs of America. From 1993 – 1999, he was Public School Advisor for Adult Education and from 1997 – 1999, he was the Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE) Director. From 1999 – 2007, he was manager of Arkansas Department of Workforce Education Federal Surplus Property Program. From 2007- 2009, he has served as Deputy Director of Adult Education Department of Workforce Education, Oversight for Adult Education, GED, Federal Surplus Property Program, LESO 1030, GSA 1122, and the Arkansas Adult Education Resource Center. Currently, he is Deputy Director of the Department of Career Education Adult Education Division.
Mr. Smith and his wife Carolyn, have two children, Steve (1973-1990) and Randall.
Deputy Director for Career and Technical Education
Dr. Robert E. Gunter
was appointed as the deputy director for the Career and
Technical Education Division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education (ACE) in April. Gunter has extensive and award-winning experience in career and technical program management as both an academician and as a practitioner.
Prior to joining the ACE management staff, Dr. Gunter served as Associate Dean for Workforce Development at South Louisiana Community College. Previously he served as Executive Director of Louisiana’s WorkReady U Adult Education and GED Testing. Prior to that, he was Vice President for Workforce Technology at Mid-South Community College, West Memphis, Arkansas; Associate Professor and Director of Career and Technology Teacher Certification at the University of Texas at El Paso; Director of Career and Technology Education, Florence City Schools, Florence, Alabama; and, Industrial Arts/Technology Instructor at Thompson & Pelham High Schools, Alabama.
Gunter has served as Principal Investigator on various research and grant projects and has presented at international and national conferences. He has written several peer-reviewed articles/book chapters and has developed and delivered numerous training programs and seminars related to instructional design, product development, and measurement and assessment.
Commissioner for Arkansas Rehabilitation Services
Randy Laverty began his career of public service in 1975 as the Newton County director for the Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services. As county director, he was responsible for economic and medical programs, as well as children and family services.
In 1982, Mr. Laverty was named assistant director of field operations for the Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services, and was responsible for all social services programs in 17 counties. In 1985, he assumed the position of assistant director for the Department of Human Services, Division of County Operations, and served in that position for eight years. During that time he was the secretary of the Jasper School Board, holding a position on the board from 1982 to 1987.
Mr. Laverty served as executive director of the Developmental Disabilities Provider Association from 2001 to 2009 and later served as the association’s resource development director, a position he held until he was named Commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. He served 16 years in the Arkansas Legislature, in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001 and in the Senate from 2003 until January 14, 2013.
Among his many leadership roles, Mr. Laverty served as chair of the Joint Audit Committee; as chair of House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee; and as vice-chair of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. He also served on the Joint Budget Committee, where he chaired several subcommittees, including the Personnel, Classification and Compensation Subcommittee.
Mr. Laverty holds a bachelor of science degree from Arkansas Tech University. He and his wife, Virginia, have three children and four grandchildren.
Associate Director for Career and Technical Education
Sandra Porter, originally from Missouri, joined the Department of Career Education as Program Manager for Business/Marketing Technology in June 2004. She earned a B.S. Degree in General Business Education from Missouri Southern State University in 1979 and a Master of Education in Vocational Education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1991.
Mrs. Porter began her 25-year teaching career in 1979 as a business instructor in Carl Junction, Missouri. After moving to Arkansas in 1985, she served as Director of Students at the Draughon's School of Business in Little Rock for two years. In 1987, she was a business instructor at McClellan High School in Little Rock. From 1989 to 2004, she taught business at Bryant High School.
Mrs. Porter and her husband, Mike, have three daughters, Denise, Sheri and Cathie.
Associate Director for Workforce Training
Ray Henson holds a Master of Science in Business Education from the University of Central Arkansas, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Education from Harding University and an Associate of Arts degree from Arkansas State University in Beebe, Arkansas.
Before being named Associate Director for Workforce Training, Henson was a Program Coordinator and Global Career Development Facilitator Instructor at the Arkansas Department of Career Education. He is also the Executive Director of the Arkansas Career Guidance Association and Past President of Arkansas Career Development Association.
In 2011 Henson was named the Career Development Facilitator Champion of the Year by the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and in 2004 was named the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.
Associate Director for Arkansas Works
Sonja Wright-McMurray was born in Goldsboro, NC. She became an Arkansan after her father’s retirement from the United States Air Force in 1984. Mrs. Wright-McMurray joined the Department of Career Education as Associate Director for Arkansas Works in October 2009. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Mrs. Wright-McMurray also earned a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from Drake University.
Mrs. Wright-McMurray began her career as a Career Instructor with the Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) program at the University of Arkansas in 1996. After completing her Master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, she began working at the University of Central Arkansas as a Project Coordinator for Career Services and Cooperative Education in 2001.
In 2002, Mrs. Wright-McMurray moved to Des Moines, IA where she was employed by Simpson College as an Academic Advisor for Upward Bound. In 2004, she was promoted to Director of Simpson College Upward Bound. Mrs. Wright-McMurray returned to Arkansas in 2007 to accept a position at the University of Central Arkansas as Director of Minority Student Services.
Mrs. Wright-McMurray and her husband, Julian, have one son, Jace.
Associate Director for Adult Education
Dr. Trenia Miles is a Pine Bluff native with over 15 years of experience in higher education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in counseling at the University of Arkansas. She holds an Ed.D. in higher and adult education from the University of Memphis.
Dr. Miles was employed by the University of Arkansas for six years, working in the Career Services program where she held the positions of program coordinator, assistant director, and associate director.
She has worked for Southwest Tennessee Community College Workforce Development Center in Memphis, and later for Mid-South Community College (MSCC) in West Memphis. During her tenure at MSCC, she oversaw the offices of Student Activities, Academic Coaching, Career Services and Disability Services and implemented the Structured Learning Assistance program. While at MSCC, she received, among other honors, the 2008-2009 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award.
Chief Financial Officer
Maria "Lorna" Claudio was born in the Province of Laguna, Philippines. After earning her Accounting Degree from Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the Philippines, she moved with her family to the United States in 1989.
Ms. Claudio began her career at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as an accountant, then worked as a Tax Auditor for the Department of Finance and Administration. Following that, she served as the Finance Manager of Home Health at the Department of Health and also completed the Leadership in Public Administration course during her tenure there. Ms. Claudio accepted a promotion to become the Finance Manager of Health Services Permit Agency where she served as the CFO of the agency for 8 years, a position she held until joining the Department of Career Education in March 2012.
She and her husband Mario have two children, Paulo and Sophia.
Chief Information Officer
Lee Meadows is a native of Pine Bluff, but as the son of an Air Force father, has lived in and out of Arkansas. Meadows earned a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a master of arts in public administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato.
Meadows has been recognized by the Computing Technology Industry Association as an A+ Certified Computing Professional.
Prior to joining the Department of Career Education in 2011, Meadows held information technology positions in both the public and private sectors. He has worked in the areas of network/server administration, desktop support, database design and administration, mobile computing, systems administration and management.
Meadows worked in the private sector for Northwestern Mutual Corporate Information Technology Division, Southwest Research Institute and Cental Moloney Inc. His public sector background includes working for the state of Minnesota’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission, Minnesota Region Nine Development Commission, Ramsey County Minnesota Department of Human Services, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He has also served as an adjunct mathematics and computer applications instructor. He and his wife, Mia, have one son, Lee Josiah.
Human Resources Manager
DeCarlia Lewis-Dickens currently serves as the Interim Human Resources Administrator for the Arkansas Department of Career Services. She joined the agency in January of 2012, but has been a state employee for 15 years. Ms. Lewis-Dickens has two Masters Degrees; one in Human Resources Development, the other in Leadership and Management; both from Webster University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management/Business from John Brown University.
Ms. Lewis-Dickens has her Human Resources professional certification from the International Public Management Association (IPMA). In addition, she's is a member of both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the International Public Management Association (IPMA).
Deputy Director for Communications
Deborah H. Germany, an Arkansas native, joined the Department of Career Education in 1983. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in English in 1975 and a master of arts degree in American literature in 1977 from the University of Oklahoma. She also earned a master’s of applied psychology in 1999 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
During her tenure with the Department of Career Education, Ms. Germany has served twice as communications director, the position she now holds, and as organizational development manager. She has served as an adjunct English instructor in two-year colleges in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas and also worked in the financial aid office at the University of Oklahoma. Prior to moving home to Arkansas in 1983, she worked two years as a newspaper reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Ms. Germany has one son, Colin.