The State Board of Career Education is composed of seven members appointed by the Governor subject to confirmation by the Senate. Act 803 of 1997 requires the appointment of one member from each congressional district and three members from the state at large. The members are to be selected from among parents, business, industry, labor, persons with disabilities, minorities, and other groups representative of the many career opportunities available in the state.
The directors of the Department of General Education and the Department of Higher Education serve as ex-officio members, and the director of the Department of Career Education serves as ex-officio secretary.
Members of the State Board of Career Education
Mr. Phil Taylor
Mr. Phil Taylor is Executive Director of Abilities Unlimited of Jonesboro, Inc., where he has worked for nearly 30 years. Mr. Taylor holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Specialist in Education Degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. He is also certified as a licensed professional counselor, a rehabilitation counselor, and a vocational evaluation specialist. Mr. Taylor is active in many professional associations including the Arkansas Association of Community Rehabilitation Programs, the United Way Directors Association, and the Vocational Evaluation/Work Adjustment Association of Arkansas.
Mr. John Riggs IV
John Riggs, IV is president of J. A. Riggs Tractor Company, an industrial and construction equipment distribution company serving customers in and around Arkansas. He is the fourth generation of the Riggs family to be a leader in this business. Prior to being named President in 1995, Mr. Riggs held various positions within the company in sales, rental, marketing, and used equipment. Mr. Riggs is active in civic and community affairs in Arkansas and the greater Little Rock area. In January 1999 and December 2002, he served terms as a State Senator, representing District 16. He served on the Education Committee, as well as several other committees. In addition to his elected post, he has served on the boards of Volunteers in Public Schools, the Pulaski County United Way, Arkansas Business and Education Alliance, and the Philander Smith College. Mr. Riggs was elected to and served on the Little Rock School District Board of Education from 1992-1999. He is a past member of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Mr. Richard Smith
Mr. Richard C. Smith has served a long and distinguished career in Arkansas education, beginning in 1949 as a high school teacher and coach in the Parkdale School District and ending in June 1990 after three years as a junior high principal in the McGehee School District. Before McGehee, he worked as an elementary and high school principal for nearly 25 years in the Desha Central and Delta school districts. Mr. Smith holds a bachelor's degree in History from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a master's degree in Educational Administration from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. He is a former member and chairman of the State Board of Education and served as a board member of the National Association of State Boards of Education from 1992-1994. He also currently serves as Vice President of the Housing Board for the Southeast Arkansas Area Agency on Aging.
Margarita Solórzano is a native of Mexico who came to the United States in 1990. Since then she has worked full-time to support her family, has learned English and has become a U.S. citizen. Solórzano came to Arkansas in 1996 and in 1999 became a founding member of the non-profit organization, Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas. She is now the executive director, a position she’s held since 2005. In 2003, Solórzano earned an associate’s degree in social work from the Northwest Arkansas Community College. She is a founding member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) council 754 and serves on the boards and councils of several other organizations.
Mrs. Martha Dixon
Mrs. Martha Dixon graduated from Peake High School in Arkadelphia, attended Henderson State University and received a degree in fashion and design from Commercial Technical Institute in Little Falls, New Jersey. She’s a businesswoman who owns and operates three companies in Arkadelphia. Martha’s Fashion and Design produces tailor-made suits, gowns, and mother-of-the-bride dresses. Dixon Manufacturing, Inc. manufactures and markets uniforms used by health care institutions, nursing schools, and food processing industries. Martha’s Kids markets school uniforms all over the nation. Mrs. Dixon is also involved with several civic and charitable organizations including: the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Baptist Medical Center of Arkadelphia, the Arkadelphia Rotary Club, the Arkansas Leadership Forum, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Shadow Program, a program where business students follow a businessperson around for a day.
Mr. John R. Yates
John R. Yates is an attorney with Acxiom Corporation in Little Rock. Prior to joining Acxiom, he was in private law practice for six years. Before entering private practice, he held positions in government with Governor Jim Guy Tucker and Congressman Vic Snyder. He received a bachelor of arts degree in political science and Spanish from the University of Arkansas and earned his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. He studied international law in Madrid, Spain, with the William and Mary College of Law and is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.
Dr. Ann B. Bain
Dr. Ann Bain earned an EdD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and her master’s, baccalaureate, and associate degrees in nursing from the University of Central Arkansas. She has served as Chairperson of the Department of Nursing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 1997 and has been a faculty member at UALR since 1987. Dr. Bain currently serves as Secretary of the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) Board of Commissioners and as a board member on the Arkansas Long Term Care Foundation.
Dr. Bain has previously served as a NLNAC Board Member and as a member of the NLNAC Evaluation Review Panel. She has over 10 years of experience as an NLNAC program evaluator and has served as a consultant in the areas of policy development, curriculum design, accreditation, and program evaluation.
- Mr. William L. "Bill" Walker, Jr., Director, Department of Career Education
- Shane Broadway, Interim Director, Department of Higher Education
- Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Director, Department of Education