Staff Members

The Center for Exceptional Families provide services to the entire state of Arkansas with the help of our Regional Parent Mentors!

Loreena Hegenbart

Parent Mentor – North Central Region

Counties Served: Carroll, Boone, Marion, Baxter, Fulton, Sharp, Izard, Stone, Independence, Cleburne, Van Buren, Conway, Searcy, Faulkner, Newton, White

Loreena has extensive knowledge and first-hand experience working with a wide spectrum of physical and mental disabilities. Having been affected by disabilities through a sibling and one of her own children, her passion for obtaining the most inclusive education possible and improving her loved one’s quality of life quickly became a career for advocacy work with families and children with disabilities.

She is a board member of the Arkansas Empowering Families with DeafBlindness (AEFDB) and is a recipient of the “Starfish Award” from the Care Coordinating Council Members. She is also a committee member of Project Sparkle, a workshop project of CAYSI.

Loreena serves on the Arkansas Council for Military Children, appointed to the position by Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr.  She is well versed in military life and acts as TCFEF’s Military Liaison, connecting military families with children with disabilities to services locally and abroad.  She coordinates the outreach efforts to this population through active participation in the nationwide Military Family Support Online Discussion Group.  This group helps military families find Parent Training and Information Centers and provides other supports as the families’ transition from state to state.

She enjoys “RV-ing” to visit family, especially the grandchildren, friends, and touring beautiful places throughout America.

Parent Mentor Name

Parent Mentor – Northwest/River Valley

Counties Served: Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Pope, Sebastian, Logan, Yell, Scott, Polk, Montgomery


Karen Lutrick

Parent Mentor – Southwest and Central Region

Counties Served:  Garland, Hot Springs, Clark, Pike, Howard, Sevier, Little River, Hempstead, Nevada, Ouachita, Union, Columbia, Lafayette, Jefferson, Grant, Bradley, Cleveland, Dallas, Calhoun, Miller, Saline, Pulaski, Lonoke, Prairie, Perry
(501) 398.1667

Karen Lutrick has advocated for children and adults with disabilities for more than 20 years as an educational advocate and resource provider.  Karen enjoys sharing information and empowering individuals to achieve equality.  She is parent to three adult children, the youngest an individual with a disability.

Teresa Hendrix

Parent Mentor – Northeast and Delta Region

Counties ServedRandolph, Clay, Greene, Lawrence, Craighead, Mississippi, Poinsett, Jackson, Crittenden, Cross, Woodruff, St. Francis, Monroe, Lee, Phillips, Desha, Chicot, Ashley, Drew, Lincoln, Arkansas
(870) 897-4254

Teresa is a newly retired special educator. She spent the last 35 years in education as both a special education teacher and administrator. Teresa has a passion for special education that began as a small child visiting a Lions’ Club nursery school for the blind in Memphis, TN. Having a close family member with a visual disability has allowed Teresa to see the unique challenges facing families and students with disabilities.  

Teresa has worn many hats over her years in public school teaching general education, special education and acting as special education supervisor for the Trumann School District and Jonesboro Public Schools. Teresa is also well-versed in high school transition, having worked for Arkansas Transition Services for several years.

Her years in special education allowed her the opportunity to provide many different services. Teresa loved her students and enjoyed developing lasting relationships with families.

Michele Lappin

Technology & Media Coordinator

Serves all counties in Arkansas and supports TCFEF Staff Members. (870)-253-8777

A native of Louisiana, Michele Lappin comes to TCFEF with years of experience in advocating for persons with disabilities, including time spent advocating for children and adults in the Louisiana legislative session.  Michele is a wife and a mother of three children with varying disabilities including Autism and ADHD.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education.  Michele is an avid researcher and her focuses include behavioral and mental health, disability laws, neuroscience, LGBTQ+ issues, and psychology. Michele has recently been chosen to serve as a panel member on the Arkansas DHS Medicaid Client Voice Panel. She also volunteers for Arkansas Community Connections.

She and her family make their home in White County.

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