Meet our staff
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families employs a staff of skilled professionals. We have extensive experience in data analysis, policy research and community network building. Feel free to contact us for more information.
Executive Director - Rich Huddleston
Rich Huddleston became the Executive Director of AACF in July 2004. Previously, Rich served as the Research & Fiscal Policy Director for AACF for nine years and was the lead program staff for our State Fiscal Analysis Initiative project. Rich has an extensive background in research and public policy and has worked on a variety of public policy issues affecting children. Rich has a Masters of Public Administration from West Virginia University and a BA in Political Science from Carroll College. Rich and his wife Janie live in Little Rock with three pugs and have a grown daughter, Lauren.
Deputy Director – Jennifer Keith Ferguson
Jennifer Ferguson rejoined AACF in June 2005. From 1996 to 1998, Jennifer served as Financial and Legal Director for AACF and served on the Board from 2001 to 2005. Previously, she served as Chief Financial and Operating Officer for the Arkansas Community Foundation. Jennifer is a native of Hope, Ark., and has a BA in Business and Economics from Hendrix College and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas Law School at Little Rock.
Development Director - Shannon Butler
Shannon Butler joined AACF in April 2011 with more than 11 years of experience in public service, organizational management and development. Previously, she was the Executive Director of City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock, an AmeriCorps program that engages 17- to 24-year-olds to commit a year of full time service. Shannon has also served for more than six years as the Deputy Executive Director of the William J. Clinton Foundation and before that was the Assistant Director of Presidential Scheduling during the Clinton Administration. Shannon has a master's in social work degree with a management and community focus from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.A. in Psychology/French. A proud graduate of Little Rock Central High School, Shannon lives in Little Rock with her dog, Willie Mae.
Director of Education Policy and Finance - Jerri Derlikowski
Jerri Derlikowski joined AACF in August 2012. Most recently, she served for seven years as Administrator of the Policy Analysis and Research Section of the Bureau of Legislative Research, where she coordinated the state's biennial educational adequacy study. Prior to that, she served for six years as a Fiscal Analyst for the Bureau. Jerri has a B.A. in Social Welfare and a M.Ed. from the University of Arkansas, and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Administrative Assistant - Jan Fortney
Jan Fortney joined ACFF in April 2013. Jan was an administrative assistant and conference planner for the University of Central Arkansas for 10 years. She is a native Arkansan and now lives with her husband, Alan, in Maumelle. She has two daughters, Kim and Brandi.
Northwest Arkansas Director - Laura Kellams
Laura Kellams joined AACF as its first Northwest Arkansas director in August 2008. Before that, she was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more than 11 years, covering politics, government and regional affairs in a 12-county region. Laura has a journalism degree from the University of Arkansas and has lived in the northwest corner of the state for 20 years. She and her husband Kyle live in Fayetteville.
Senior Policy Analyst - Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly has been with AACF since 1995 and currently serves as the Senior Policy Analyst. Paul provides technical expertise, research and policy analysis on a variety of children's issues including early care and education, juvenile justice, child welfare and family self-sufficiency. He is currently working on a project to develop an out-of-school network to prevent juvenile crime. Paul has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Arkansas and a BA in Sociology from Benedictine College. Paul has two sons, Matthew & Paul and four grandchildren.
Outreach Director - Brett Kincaid
Brett Kincaid joined the AACF staff in June 2010 after spending the past five years working in politics and public affairs. Brett has worked with some of Arkansas's top elected officials in addition to AACF co-founder Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He has an extensive background in coalition building, message development, and strategic planning. Brett grew up in Magnolia, Arkansas, and has a B.A. in Communication from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Brett and his wife Brittany live in North Little Rock and are the proud parents of their daughter, Vivian.
Administrative and Special Events Director - Nancy Leonhardt
Nancy Leonhardt joined AACF in November 2006 as the Development Director. Nancy's previous nonprofit and association work includes the Arkansas Flower & Garden Show, Women's Foundation of Arkansas, Tree Streets, and the Inland California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Nancy has a BS in Urban Planning from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She lives in Roland with her husband Darrell and they have two children, Jason and Christy.
Communications Director - Gerard Matthews
Gerard joined AACF in 2012. Before that, Gerard was an associate editor at the Arkansas Times and served as development director for Independent Living Services in Conway. He grew up in Texarkana (the Arkansas side) and got a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Central Arkansas. He has a master's degree in media and public affairs from The George Washington University.
Outreach Coordinator - Susana O'Daniel
Susana O'Daniel joined AACF in June of 2010. Susana previously served as the Project Coordinator the Community Clinic at St. Francis House in Springdale. She is a native of Mena and received her bachelor's degree in History and American Studies from the University of Arkansas as well as a master's degree in Communication from the University of Arkansas. She lives in Little Rock.
Senior Policy Analyst – Kim Reeve
Kim Reeve joined AACF as Senior Policy Analyst in November 2009. Her previous experience includes serving as Senior Policy Analyst for Southern Good Faith Fund and Service Corps Fellow for the City of Bloomington, Indiana in their Latino Outreach project. Kim received her bachelor's degree from Alma College in Michigan and her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Kim lives in Little Rock with her husband Oscar and their dogs Suzie and Daisy.
Health Policy Director – Anna Strong
Anna Strong joined AACF in December 2011 as the Health Policy Director. A graduate of the dual master's degree program at the Clinton School of Public Service and the UAMS College of Public Health, her previous experience includes serving as a Senior Policy Analyst at the UAMS Center for Rural Health and a Decision Support Analyst at Acxiom Corporation. A native of Searcy, Anna received her B.A. in Mathematics from Hendrix College. She and her husband Aaron live in Little Rock with their dog Tucker and cat Sophie.