Conway County

Excel by Eight in Conway County

Through the American Rescue Plan, child care facilities across the state were able to access federal funds to help stabilize their operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and improve quality and availability of child care slots.

Child Care Aware of Northcentral Arkansas actively supported Conway County’s facilities to take advantage of this opportunity to elevate and expand care in their community. Successes include five facilities increasing their Arkansas Better Beginnings quality rating from Level 1 to Level 2, which allows them to continue accepting vouchers from families in 2023 and receive a higher reimbursement rate. One facility moved from Better Beginnings Level 2 to Level 3, the highest quality rating available at that time.

Additionally, one provider was awarded funding to open a new center, which will bring 89 new child care slots, including infant and toddler care, to Morrilton and the surrounding area.

In 2023, the Conway County steering committee will focus on increasing parent access to early development resources as well as engaging families directly in local community planning efforts about young children.


Located in the Arkansas River Valley

Major industries are manufacturing and transportation

Home to Petit Jean State Park, the first Arkansas State Park

Steering Committee

E8 Core Team

John Gibson, Chair, Conway County Community Foundation

Amber Holland, Community Service, Inc. 

Princess Johnson, Parent

Kara Jones, Conway County Center for Exceptional Children

Dr. Susan Okroglic, Community Service, Inc.

Committee Members

Robbie Belew, Curricula Concepts
Shandee Gordon, Wonderview School District
Shawn Halbrook, South Conway County School District
Lora Hendrix, South Conway County School District
Sarah Hoffman, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)
Aida Kuettle, South Conway County School District
Christy Lemmer, Turquoise Squirrel Learning Center
Stephanie Lipsmeyer, Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce
Kaila Parker, Parent
Bijoux Pighee, Choosing to Excel
Jenifer Riley, Community Service, Inc.
Jamie Stacks, Wonderview School District
Karey Tapley, South Conway County School District
Tammy Westerman, HIPPY
Candace Williams, Rural Community Alliance
Logan Williams, Nemo Vista School District
Sharon Wilson, South Conway County School District

Read more about E8 Communities

Excel by Eight hosts Spring 2024 Learning Community

Excel by Eight hosts Spring 2024 Learning Community

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Jefferson County hosts Fall 2023 Learning Community

Jefferson County hosts Fall 2023 Learning Community

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How an emphasis on early childhood helped usher in a $25 million investment for the city of Batesville

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During an August 2023 special election, residents of Batesville voted overwhelmingly in favor of four ballot issues that marked a turning point for the city. These issues secured a $25 million investment for the expansion and improvement of the city’s parks and recreation facilities as well as an additional $110 million to go toward the construction of a new water treatment system. Opportunities to reshape a city’s infrastructure and enrich its social and recreational offerings without a tax increase seldom arise. But when they do, seizing these moments requires more than a stroke of luck; it demands collaboration, a willingness to learn, and data-informed planning.