Special Interest Team
Naccaman Williams is director of the Foundation’s Special Interest team, which includes grants directed by individual members of the Walton family. A former junior and senior high school mathematics teacher, Naccaman has served in several higher education roles, including director of the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida, and assistant dean and director of minority education services in the College of Education at the University of Arkansas. He served seven years on the Arkansas State Board of Education, including two years as chairman. He also served a four-year term on the Southern Regional Education Board. Naccaman holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University and a doctorate in education administration from the University of Arkansas.
Cara is a program support associate for the Special Interest team. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked as a Strategic Planning Graduate Consultant in Seattle, Washington and as a Project Coordinator for The Municipality of Tetovo and a volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps in Tetovo, Macedonia. Cara has her M.P.A. from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Philosophy from the University of Utah.
Jared Faciszewski is a program officer on the Special Interest team. He works with family members on specific individually directed programs and grants. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jared worked in merchandising for Wal-Mart’s bakery division. He has an economics degree from The Colorado College and an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Damon Gardenhire is a senior program officer on the Special Interest team, focusing on grant making in Oklahoma. With two decades of experience in communications and public policy, his reporting has been widely published and earned him several awards for journalism. Before joining the Foundation, Gardenhire served as communications and policy director at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Damon holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, where he was a McMahon Scholar.
Becca is a program officer on the Special Interest team, focusing on individually directed grant making by members of the Walton family. Prior to joining the Foundation, Becca was a project specialist for the National Children’s Study. She is a graduate of Hendrix College with a B.A. in Spanish and a Master of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
Amy is the administrative coordinator for the Special Interest team. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications with a minor in English from the University of St. Thomas. Prior to joining the Foundation, Amy spent five years at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as an executive assistant and, most recently, was the executive assistant to the Senior Vice President, People Division, at Sam’s Club.
Cathy Nehf Lund is a senior program officer on the Special Interest team. Prior to re-joining the Foundation in 2013, Cathy was vice president at Project Lead the Way, the leading provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education curricular programs used in middle and high schools across the U.S. Between 1997 and 2011, Cathy was senior program officer on the Foundation’s K-12 education team. She has also worked at the Challenge Foundation and the Hudson Institute, and in the insurance and risk management industry.
Magdalena is a Special Interest program consultant for Ben and LucyAna Walton and is located in Chile. She has over 13 years of experience leading research, evaluations and providing public policy advice in the areas of education, poverty, local development and strategic planning. Magdalena has a degree in psychology with a specialization in education from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
Sandy Nickerson serves as a senior program officer for the Foundation’s Special Interest team. Prior to moving to the Special Interest team, she was a program officer for the Home Region Program with responsibility for the Northwest Arkansas and Delta region initiatives. Before joining the Foundation, Sandy worked for the Walton Arts Center. Sandy holds a B.S. from John Brown University.