Home Region Staff

Rob Brothers
As director of the Home Region Focus Area, Rob Brothers is responsible for work with grantees focused on quality of life initiatives in Northwest Arkansas and the Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Rob previously spent 37 years as a commercial banker in Arkansas and Missouri, including a term as the chairman of the Arkansas Bankers Association. He holds a B.S.B.A. in economics and finance from Missouri Southern State University and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers.

 

Ryan Hale
Ryan Hale is a program officer for the Home Region Focus Area and is responsible for the Northwest Arkansas and Delta region initiatives. He previously served as director of business development for the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics at John Brown University and as a vice president of commercial lending at Arvest Bank in Rogers, Arkansas. Ryan was drafted by the NFL’s New York Giants and spent two seasons with the team, including their 2000 NFC championship season and Super Bowl XXXV appearance. He holds a B.S. in education from the University of Arkansas where he was a captain of the Razorback football team.

 

Karis Butler
Karis is the focus area coordinator/grants manager for the foundation’s home region. She has a B.S. in Journalism and a M.B.A. with an emphasis in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University. Concurrent with her master’s program, Karis also served as a project coordinator at The Soderquist Center as a graduate fellowship recipient.

 

Angela Shirey
Angela is a Home Region program consultant focusing on the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a policy advisor consultant for the Delta Regional Authority and held several director roles at Teach For America. Angela holds a B.A. in business administration from Tennessee State University and an MBA from Arkansas State University.

 

Kathy Smith
As senior program officer for the Home Region Focus Area, Kathy is responsible for the Arkansas K-12 education reform initiative that promotes systemic reform, using the principles of accountability, transparency, choice and incentives. She has spent more than 30 years in public education in Oklahoma and Arkansas, first as a high school English teacher and eventually moving to district secondary curriculum director. Kathy holds a bachelor’s in education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a master’s in educational administration from the University of Arkansas.