Local Leads

In spring 2023, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the Arkansas LEARNS Act into law. The LEARNS Act is comprehensive, creating a suite of changes that affect the state’s education system. One of the requirements within the LEARNS Act is to improve the experience of families and providers by establishing local early childhood lead organizations. LEARNS calls for local early childhood leads for each locality in Arkansas who is funded to make and execute the plan for their area on how to use available resources to best prepare Arkansas children for Kindergarten. These organizations are charged to: 

  • Support access to early childhood programs
  • Identify gaps in services
  • Foster local partnerships
  • Create alignment among public and private providers and agencies within the community
  • Establish a comprehensive, locally supported plan for providing early childhood programs and services. 

The second cohort of local early childhood leads has been selected! The Office of Early Childhood in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Education selected 13 organizations to represent an additional 36 counties across the state. Alongside cohort 1, local leads now cover 65 of the 75 counties in Arkansas. These organizations will be responsible for establishing a comprehensive, localized plan to ensure children and families can access high-quality early childhood education in their communities. Please see below for which organization covers your county! If you do not fall within a county selected for Cohort 1 or 2, a final cohort will be selected by the fall. That means every county will have a local lead by October 2024.

The 21organizations will cover the following catchment areas:


Resources for local leads:


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Douglas, Assistant Director - Local Leads 
Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office of Early Childhood
700 Main Street, Slot 140
Little Rock, AR 72203
Phone: 501-712-6398
Email: Jennifer.Douglas@ade.arkansas.gov