Loreena Hegenbart is a parent mentor serving 10 counties in Northern Arkansas. Loreena holds an Associate of Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. Throughout her career, Loreena served as a long-term substitute teacher, as well as Junior Varsity Volleyball coach and assistant gymnastics coach for the public school system.
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, Loreena’s 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.
When Loreena is not improving the lives of individuals affected by disabilities, she’s spending her extra time with her grandchildren. Loreena is also an avid traveler and has traveled across the United States to experience different cultures and explore. Loreena developed this passion while she was married to her husband for 38 years, which much of that time was spent in their early days traveling abroad while he served in the Army.
Loreena 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. Loreena is also a committee member of Project Sparkle, a workshop project of CAYSI.
Phone: (870) 897-4175
Tracy Risley is a parent mentor who serves 10 counties in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Oklahoma Christian University and obtained an additional certificate in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Central Arkansas. Tracy received her Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia where she specialized in individuals on the Autism spectrum.
Tracy has more than 20 years of experience as a public school teacher. She has worked as an elementary resource and self-contained special education teacher. Tracy worked as an early childhood instruction specialist for Fort Smith Public Schools. During those years, Tracy facilitated the transition of children from birth-3 years, services into preschool as well as the transition of hundreds of children from early childhood services into the public school system for kindergarten.
Tracy has extensive knowledge and experience working with children with a wide range of disabilities and their families but has a passion for individuals on the autism spectrum. She has worked with speech-language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists and has an insight into the special characteristics of this population, including sensory processing issues.
When not impacting the lives of children with special needs and their families, Tracy spends time with her husband and children. She volunteers at Chaffin Junior High with the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) and Choir programs. Tracy is also part of the special needs ministry at her church and hopes to expand that ministry with other churches through her work with TCFEF. She is a policy committee member of the Invest Early Coalition. Tracy is also the TCFEF lead on the State Personnel Development Grant, (SPDG) working with the Arkansas Department of Education to provide parents with an understanding of the RTI process. She and her husband live in Fort Smith and have two children. When not with her family, Tracy sings with the Fort Smith Chorale and has recorded several CDs with Keith Lancaster and Acapella Praise & Harmony Ministries.
Phone: (870) 897-4174
Karen Lutrick is a parent mentor who serves 14 counties in the Southwest area of Arkansas. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Karen 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. Karen lives in the Little Rock area. In her free time she enjoys reading and spending time outdoors.
Phone: (501) 398-1667
Katy Cravens is a parent mentor serving eight counties in the Arkansas Delta. Katy has a Bachelors Degree from University of Arkansas, Monticello. She has lived and worked in the Delta for more than a decade. Most recently she has served as the Delta Region Liaison for the Arkansas Autism Resource and Outreach Center. In this role, she has been able to attend various workshops and conferences by nationally renowned speakers on such topics as Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder, Special Education IEP Process, Aggressive and Disruptive Problem Solving, Toilet Training, Sleep Disruptions, and Inclusion. Katy is also a committee member of the Autism Delta Project and has been involved with outreach efforts and parent support groups. Through personal experience with her own loved ones being affected by disabilities and chronic health conditions, Katy has learned a great deal about available services and how to assist others in their journey.
She and her husband have two sons who enjoy many activities including working on their family farm in Phillips County, Arkansas and traveling as much as possible. She is a big believer in the power of faith and her family continues to be blessed with opportunities to learn and grow.
Rhonda is the parent mentor for the Central Arkansas counties of Perry, Prairie, Lonoke, Pulaski and Saline. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Little Rock with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science. She received her Developmental Therapist Certificate and a Master of Science Degree in Developmental Therapy from Henderson State University. Rhonda also worked as a developmental therapist for more than 10 years serving children through the early intervention program. Rhonda has worked with children with various disabilities through her career and has tried hard to empower families with knowledge to progress the skills of their children.
Rhonda is an adjunct instructor at Henderson State University for students enrolled in practicum to receive their developmental therapist certification and/or Masters in development therapy. She and her husband have two sons. In her spare time Rhonda loves to travel, spend time with family and meet new people.
Teresa is the parent mentor for the Northeast region of counties including Clay, Randolph, Lawrence, Greene, Craighead, Mississipi, Poinsett and Jackson. She 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 is a graduate of Arkansas State University, obtaining her BSE in special education and a Masters in Educational Leadership. She 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 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. Some of those were in the special education classroom as well as providing homebound instruction for students. Teresa loved her students and enjoyed developing lasting relationships with families. She is married with two grown daughters and two grandchildren. Teresa and her family make their home in the Trumann area.