The North Arkansas College Board of Trustees will meet by Zoom only at 3 p.m. Thursday and three new trustees will be welcomed on the board.
Pam Henry, Debbie Johnson and Linda Pledger have filled positions formerly occupied by Bill Lovell, Sarah Jo Fendley and David Evans. All three ran unopposed in the 2020 General Election.
Henry is a Harrison native who graduated from Bergman and attended ATU in Russellville. Her path to the board was an unexpected realization.
“I really didn’t think serving on the board of trustees would interest me until visiting with one current and two retiring Northark board members,” she said. “Their passion for the college, the students and the community were intense, and contagious. I realized I had gotten ‘used to’ Northark being here and took it for granted. I would like to see the entire board and the community be reminded of, and passionate about, the college and the difference Northark has made in the lives of the students and their families, area businesses and the entire community.”
Henry is particularly fascinated by the plans for the new Robotics and Manufacturing facility on campus and encouraged by existing and new technical certificate programs.
She attends church at Crossroads Community Church and has been a Red Kettle “bell ringer” for the Salvation Army for the past 10 years. Henry regularly volunteers during Ozark Share & Care Christmas grocery campaigns and has been on numerous mission trips to both New Orleans and Lake Charles after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as other disaster relief efforts.
Her hobbies include traveling and spending time outdoors doing yard work, gardening, hiking, kayaking and picnicking.
She is married to retired Northark counselor Dick Henry. They have two daughters, Heather and Jolene, and two grandsons, Jeremiah and Josiah.
A native of Melbourne and a long-time Harrison resident, Johnson knows the value of education to this community. She graduated from Melbourne High School and went on to get her degree from ASU Jonesboro.
“I have worked with Northark in different capacities as the Arkansas Department of Health Local Heath Unit Administrator for 35 years,” Johnson says. “Especially with the nursing program who helped us conduct mass immunization clinics. I have also worked with the college by being on the board of the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education. I have always found the North Arkansas College staff and students to be very community oriented, professional, and easy to work with.”
Johnson retired from the Health Department and looks forward to giving back to Northark by serving on the Board of Trustees.
She is a member of the Bellefonte Church of Christ and serves as current president of the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education Board. She also serves on the Area Agency on Aging Board.
Johnson is interested in the Health Professions programs. “As an RN I am very interested in the nursing programs as well as all of the Health Profession programs. My niece played on the Lady Pioneer’s basketball team, so I have always enjoyed Pioneer athletics.”
Johnson’s hobbies include spending time with family, attending basketball games and spending time with her grandchildren.
Johnson has been an integral part of Harrison for 43 years. She married Jerry F. Johnson from Harrison and they have one daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Matt Bodson, and two grandsons, Beck and Brooks Bodson.
A native of Harrison, Pledger graduated from Bergman High School and received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from College of the Ozarks. She earned a master’s degree from the UA, going on to complete 24 graduate hours above the master’s degree at UA to complete an Elementary Principal Certification.
“I serve on the Northark Board of Trustees because I value education and I want to do my part to help promote that in my community,” Pledger said. “We are so fortunate to have a community college in our community.”
Her father, Billie Joe Blevins, taught Heavy Equipment at North Arkansas College for many years. Linda taught and served as a principal in elementary education for 36 years noting, “I'm passionate about that level of education, but value education at every level.”
Linda is an active member of Crossroads Community Church where she sings on the Praise Team and helps serve at The Sharing Kitchen.
In her spare time, she likes to read, garden and hike in the beautiful area where we live.
She is married to Jerry Pledger. Their daughter’s name is Cara Marino and her son-in-law is Martin Marino. They live in Kansas City, Missouri. Martin attended North Arkansas College when he first moved to the United States from Ecuador and earned his associate degree in Business.
“We are thankful for the education that he received at Northark,” Pledger said. “I’ve had two nieces and a nephew attend Northark and am thankful for the education that they received there.”