The CSA Board is a distinguished group of individuals who love their community, care deeply about young people, and believe in the power of the arts to change lives and shape the next generation of leaders.  Business executives, marketing designers, political representatives, educational advisers, and other influential community leaders have united to develop CSA into the premiere center for the visual and performing arts.

Their goal is for the school to serve as a role model for children and youth and provide opportunities for all young people to participate in the arts.

Philip H. Merry, Jr.
Chair

Philip was born in Tulsa, OK but has lived and worked in Fort Smith for over 40 years.  He graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, MO with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Economic Administration.  Philip has worked in insurance since 1976 in producer, officer, management, and ownership roles.  He presently serves as Broker/Risk Manager/Consultant with First Western Insurance and as Co-Broker with Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management.
Philip has given back to the Fort Smith community in tremendous ways throughout his life. He has served on the City of Fort Smith Board of Directors from 2011-2014 and served two Sebastian County elected 6-year appointments on the UAFS Board of Trustees where he also served as Vice-Chairman. He has served on the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and served as Chair of the Education and Quality of Place division. Merry serves as a mentor at UAFS and at Morrison Elementary.
Philip is the creator and chair of “Christmas Honors” that is celebrated every December at the Fort Smith U.S. National Cemetery. In addition, Philip has served as Founding Board Chair of the First Tee of Fort Smith, is a recent recipient of the Jack White Leadership Award from Leadership Fort Smith, served as Chair of the capital fund drive for the Children’s Emergency Shelter while serving on the Fort Smith Community Foundation. He chaired the 1996 United Way Campaign grossing over 1.9 million for charities in the River Valley. He has served on the alumni board of the Fort Smith Boys Club, and is the Founder and Chair of the “Noble Cause Awards.” Merry raised significant dollars for the downtown “Second Street Live” (SSL) music and art gallery venue that is now the “UAFS Blue Lion.”

Philip has a heart for young people and for those in need. He quotes: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” – Sir Winston Churchill. Philip and his wife Leigh of 42 years have four children and four grandchildren. They are members of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith where he is a Ruling Elder.

Dr. Rick Foti
Vice Chair

Rick has 40 years of experience in education. He has served in elementary and special education in Missouri, Mississippi, and Arkansas. In addition, he was Director of Special Education for four years, Principal at Parker elementary for four years, and Principal at Trusty elementary for 14 years. Rick holds a degree in music from Hendrix College and a Doctorate of Educational Administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He served as Executive Director at Community Services Clearinghouse for eight years and has served on numerous nonprofit boards. He is also the grandparent of a CSA student.

Selena Bartmier
Treasurer

Selena is a native Arkansan. She grew up in the River Valley and attended Greenwood Public Schools. Selena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Ouachita Baptist University and after a professional career is now retired. She and her husband Randy are active in the music ministry at Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Smith. Selena has traveled internationally with members of the International Mission Board to provide healthcare to remote villages around the world. One of her favorite things to do on mission trips is to find the local market because that is where local artisans are displaying their artwork. Musicians are always playing in the market as well. “The arts provide a common language that breaks down cultural barriers.”

The arts were emphasized in Selena’s home because it’s something you can take with you throughout life. “It is important to me to give children the same opportunities I enjoyed. While helping to establish CSA it will be a priority for me to ensure children from all economic backgrounds have access to quality arts education that supplements what they receive in their schools or at home.”

Lea Taylor
Secretary

Lea is a native of Fort Smith. She is a graduate of SMU in Dallas and has enjoyed a wonderful career in marketing in such places as Chicago, Raleigh, NC, and Fayetteville, AR where she worked on multi-million dollar accounts in a variety of industries.
In 2007, Lea opened her own marketing agency in Fort Smith. She has served as the Fort Smith Regional Alliance Director as well as on boards of the American Advertising Federation Fort Smith, Noble Cause Awards, Girl’s Inc., Fort Smith Classic and Leadership Fort Smith Alumni Association.

Lea is currently on the Board of Directors of Evan’s Project, River Valley Futbol Club (formerly Express Soccer), Community School of the Arts and Christmas Honors, where she served as one of the founding team leaders for the event. She is also a graduate of Leadership Arkansas Class V of 2011 and Leadership Fort Smith Class of 2012.

Lea is married her high school sweetheart, Ryan Taylor. They have two children, Brenna and Andrew.

Kathy Babb

Kathy is from North Dakota and while she has lived many places throughout the United States, Fort Smith is where she calls home. Kathy has been in all types of wonderful community organizations and has a passion for young people, education and the arts. She has served as past President for the Euper Lane, Chaffin Junior High, and Southside High School PTAs. In addition, she has been past Chairman of the Fort Smith Public School Foundation, the United Way of Fort Smith, and the Fort Smith Symphony. She has also been active on the board for Western Arkansas Ballet. Kathy served as Co-Chair of ‘Fall into Bonneville’ and the Marshals Museum ‘Kickin’ Up the Dust’ Gala. She currently serves on the board of the Fort Smith Symphony, is an avid supporter of the Marshals Museum, and regularly volunteers for community events. Kathy is married to Doug Babb and has one daughter, Gabriella.

Robin Clegg

Robin Westphal Clegg is a Fort Smith native. She is married to Elliot Clegg and has two children, Christianne, 20 and Robbie, 13. Robin works at Robert Westphal & Co. She is the managing partner of Westphal Leasing, LLC., President of Ozark Oil & Gas, Inc., and Secretary of Foundation Life Insurance Company of Arkansas.

Robin graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Administrative Management in 1980. She has served as President of the Clayton House Board and President of LWML in her church. She served on the United Way Board of Columbia County, Magnolia Junior Charity League, and as President of Magnolia New Comers Club. Robin is a member of the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation Board, and a member of Fort Smith Association of Petroleum Landmen.

Wayne King

Wayne was raised in Fort Smith, attended Fort Smith Public Schools and then attended Westark Community College which is now UAFS.  He is an Executive Broker for Weichert King Realty Group and has held a Real Estate license since 1971.  He is past President of the Fort Smith Board of Realtors, former board member of River Valley Habitat for Humanity and has been active in starting and operating several businesses in the Fort Smith area.  Wayne is an active member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Fort Smith.  He and his wife Charlotte recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  They have three sons; Chris, Kevin, and Russell and eight grandchildren.

Lance McReynolds

Lance holds a BA degree from the University of Oklahoma. Formerly the Director of Christian

Education for youth at First Christian Church of Fort Smith, Lance loves working with young people and loves the arts. Both of his sons were involved in band as teens. Lance has been involved in many area organizations including serving as Board Chair of Community Services Clearinghouse, Allocation Chair of United Way, Reflections Chair of Arkansas State PTA, Scout Master Troop 110, and Training Chair of Westark Area Council BSA. He is married to Judy and has two grown sons, Johnny 25 and Brett 23.

Belva Ross

Belva is an Executive Broker for Warnock Real Estate. She has lived in Fort Smith for over 35 years and graduated from Northside High School. Belva has been involved in the arts most of her life and has been singing since the age of five. While at Northside, she won several vocal competitions and performed in the school choir. She also performed in several church choir competitions and was premiered on one of the nation’s largest televised gospel competitions, BET Sunday’s Best. Belva is a mentor and teacher in the Five-Fold Ministries Outreach program and has worked in several organizations assisting young women and men in reaching their full potential. She has also led forums and round table discussions in Fort Smith and Little Rock on wellness, unity, and self-awareness. She and her husband Michael have an eleven-year old daughter.

Jim Rowland

Jim Rowland is a native of Arkansas and has spent his entire career working with young people. Jim received a college football scholarship to attend the then Arkansas State Teachers College and graduated with a BSE degree in 1963. He received his Master of Science in Education degree from the same institution and his Secondary Administrative Certification from the University of Arkansas. In 2003, he was certified as an Athletic Administrator.

Jim served as the president of the Arkansas High School Athletic Administrators from 1995-1997. He was awarded the AAA State Award of Merit in 1994 and was named Arkansas Athletic Director of the Year in both 1999 and 2001. He served on the National Federation of High Schools Advisory Board for four years, received a National Federation Citation in 2000, a Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and 2013, and a AAA Citation Award, District 4, in 2014. On October 7, 2009, the football stadium at Southside High School was named in his honor. Jim was inducted into the Southside and Northside Halls of Honor in 2014. In 2016, he was inducted into the Ring of Honor for the Southside High School band. Jim has been married to Norma for 53 years. They have two sons and seven grandchildren.

Robert Wight

Robert comes to CSA with a background in both music and finance. He holds a BA degree in Music with an emphasis in piano and a BS degree in Economics and Finance and a Masters degree in Business Administration. Robert has been playing the piano since a young age. During high school, he performed at DogPatch U.S.A. and then spent his summers during college performing at Magic Springs Park in Hot Springs as well as traveling throughout Arkansas with the music evangelism team of the Arkansas Baptist Student Union. During college, he also taught piano lessons. Robert is currently serving as pianist and music associate for the First Baptist Church of Alma where he has served for the past 25 years. He is the Chief Financial Officer for Cooper Clinic, providing support to the physicians to bring quality medicine to the River Valley. Robert enjoys watching young people explore and gain mastery in the arts. He is excited to be part of CSA and the mission to broaden the positive impact of the arts in the lives of the next generation. He grew up in Dardanelle. Robert has two grown sons, Ryan and Mason.

Mary Carleton Young

Mary has always had a special interest in working with kids in the areas of arts and education. She grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas and attended Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. Mary currently serves on the Community Advisory Board of UAMS West Central Center on Aging, and has served on numerous boards and councils in Fort Smith throughout the years. Among those include serving as Co-Chair of the Marshals Museum Kickin’ Up the Dust Gala, FSPS Foundation Board, and chairing multiple committees while active in the Junior League of Fort Smith, Inc. She co-chaired the Riverfront Market Art Show benefitting Habitat for Humanity, served on the Old Fort Museum Board, Girls Club and Fort Smith Heritage Foundation Boards, and was active with multiple PTA’s while her children were attending school. She is a member of First United Methodist. Married to Robert A. Young, III, they have raised four kids and have seven grandchildren. One of Mary’s favorite projects was restoring an ancestral home that was moved from Mt. Holly, Arkansas to property in Crawford County.