Three New Members Join EAST Initiative Board of Directors


Three New Members Join EAST Initiative Board of Directors
9/16/2015 11:10:29 AM

EAST welcomes three new faces and bids farewell to a founding member of its board.

LITTLE ROCK – The board of directors for educational nonprofit Environmental and Spatial Technology, Inc., (the EAST Initiative) has elected three new members.

Joining the board are: Dean Kahler, Ph.D., vice chancellor for enrollment management at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Jim Rollins, Ed.D., superintendent of Springdale Public Schools; and Brent Staley, CEO of Staley Inc.

“Dr. Kahler, Dr. Rollins and Mr. Staley will be invaluable assets to the EAST Initiative. Their collective experiences in education and technology are an ideal fit for the mission of EAST, and each has a proven record of leadership and a willingness to serve,” said Jerry Damerow, board chairperson.

John Ahlen, Ph.D., a founding member of the board who served from 2001-2007 and again from 2012-2015, is leaving the board. He is a former president of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority.

“We are extremely grateful for all of Dr. Ahlen’s many contributions to EAST over the past 15 years,” said Damerow. “John has been a resource to us for a long time, and while we wish him the best, we will certainly miss him.”

Kahler holds both doctorate and master’s degrees in public administration from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. Throughout a career in higher education he has provided leadership for offices such as: admissions, registrar, financial aid, academic advising and retention, first year programs, international programs, transfer student services, veterans affairs, study abroad, student disability support services and TRIO Programs.

Rollins earned both a master’s and doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville. Since 1982 he has served as the superintendent of Springdale Public Schools, for which he previously served as director of secondary education. Rollins began his educational career teaching in the North Little Rock School District before becoming a principal in North Little Rock and then the Pulaski County Special School District. He is a member of numerous educational committees and civic organizations and in 2015 was honored with the Unity Award, presented by the Arkansas House of Representatives for service to the northwest Arkansas community.

Staley holds a degree in business management from the University of Arkansas. For nearly two decades he has worked in technology deployment, both as a project manager and eventually a vice president leading project management and sales. He currently serves as CEO of Staley Inc., which includes Staley Technologies and Staley Electric, a full service electrical contracting firm.

Kahler, Rollins and Staley join other board members: Damerow; David Moody, vice-chairperson; Melanie VanZandt Bradford, secretary; Prakash Jalihal, immediate past chair; John O’Connell, Ph.D., finance and audit committee chair; Joyce Craft, Michael Gealt, Ph.D.; Dale Johnson; Dominik Mjartan; David Rainey, Ed.D.; Tommy Tyler; and Barbara Warren.


About the EAST Initiative

The EAST Initiative is a nonprofit organization promoting a unique model in modern education. It is a project-based, service-learning oriented program that provides students with high-end technology available in the most progressive fields in the world. At its heart, EAST is a coordinated effort to provide today’s students with an educational atmosphere that allows them to gain insight into their own abilities to acquire and use information, solve problems and gain valuable experience. Since its inception in 1996, the EAST model has expanded to more than 220 schools in five states (Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania). For more information about the EAST Initiative, visit




Welcome, Guest