Conway County

Excel by Eight in Conway County

Conway County kicked off their E8 initiative with Healthy Smiles, a Delta Dental-funded effort to get more children to the dentist before kindergarten by raising awareness about oral health for caregivers of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Healthy Smiles wraps up by fall 2022. Learn more about the project. 

The Conway County steering committee has identified strategies in other priority areas, such as child care quality and availability, child food security, and literacy. In order to successfully address these priority areas, the next effort will be to engage parents in the Excel by Eight initiative, as advocates and their child’s first teacher. By focusing on parent engagement, the steering committee believes that other E8 projects will have deeper and wider impact in the long run.

School districts in Conway County – Nemo Vista, South Conway County, and Wonderview – participated in a second round of the Early Development Instrument assessment during spring 2022. The EDI is a population measure of how young children are developing based on the five domains of early childhood development: physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity; language and cognitive skills; and communication skills and general knowledge.


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


John Gibson, Conway County Community Foundation

Committee Members

Robbie Belew, Curricula Concepts

Kathy Gipson, Community Service, Inc.

Shandee Gordon, Wonderview School District

Shawn Halbrook, South Conway County School District

Lora Hendrix, South Conway County School District

Amber Holland, Community Service, Inc.

Princess Johnson, parent

Aida Kuettle, South Conway County School District

Stephanie Lipsmeyer, Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce

Michelle Mallett, Conway County Juvenile Probation and Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Dr. Susan Okroglic, Community Service, Inc.

Kaila Parker, Parent

Bijoux Pighee, Choosing to Excel / Healthy Families America

Jamie Stacks, Wonderview School District

Karey Tapley, South Conway County School District

Logan Williams, Nemo Vista School District

Read more about E8 Communities

Increasing Quality Child Care in Conway County

When American Rescue Plan Funds arrived, Debbie Mize, director of Child Care Aware of Northcentral Arkansas, knew the best way to invest it in Conway County would be to increase the number of quality child care options. The Conway County E8 Community spearheaded a...

Tackling Food Insecurity, Improving Outcomes

Tackling Food Insecurity, Improving Outcomes

Patty Barker, Arkansas No Kid Hungry Campaign Director Access to healthy food isn’t a luxury for Arkansas families. It’s a necessity for children’s long-term success. Studies show students who struggle with persistent hunger report lower math scores as well as higher...