Leadership

Gary Arnold, Ed.D - President/Head of School

Dr. Gary Arnold Little Rock Christian AcademyGary Arnold has been President and Head of School at Little Rock Christian Academy since 2007.

For over twenty five years, Dr. Arnold served as head of school for independent Christian schools in Cape Cod, MA and the suburbs of Chicago, IL. Before joining LRCA, Dr. Arnold served as Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council for Religious and Independent Schools (WCRIS) and the Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Non-Public School (ICNS), as a registered advocate for private education. In addition, he served as an adjunct Professor at Concordia University and Trinity International University in IL.

Dr. Arnold contributed to Building a Better School (PAIDEIA PRESS). He earned his B.A. and M.A. from Wheaton College, and his Ed.D from National-Louis University (IL). He currently serves numerous professional organizations including:

  • Council on American Private Education (CAPE), Board Member
  • Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA), Board Chair
  • Christian Education Charitable Trust (CECT), RFP Core Team
  • AR Non-Public School Accreditation Association (ANSAA), Board Vice President

Leadership Team

Heidi Brandt

Heidi Brandt joined the Little Rock Christian team in 2012, and now serves as the Director of Admissions. Mrs. Brandt enjoys building relationships with prospective families, and carefully arranging shadow experience days for prospective students.


She earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and Advertising/Public Relations from Texas Christian University. She cherishes her roles of wife and mother of three busy teenage children.


Email: Heidi.Brandt@LittleRockChristian.com

Phillip Bridges


Phillip currently serves as the Director of Digital Learning. Prior to this position Phillip worked in the Business Office from 2011-2015. Phillip manages the Ed-Tech team as well as the Registrar and Library. Phillip is also over Little Rock Christian’s FACTS Grant and Aid, LRCA’s tuition assistance program.


Phillip graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a B.A. in Business Administration – Finance and Marketing. He received his M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas Little Rock.

Ann Chami

Ann Chami has been an established educator at Little Rock Christian Academy for twenty-five years.


For eighteen years she taught first, second and third grades. She has served in administration for the past seven years, initially as Early Childhood Principal and presently as Lower School Principal. Mrs. Chami provides leadership to over 80 lower school faculty and staff.


She excels in her position because of the love God has given her for people and her experience in Christian Education. She earned her B.S.E. in Early Childhood Education from Ouachita Baptist University.


Email: Ann.Chami@littlerockchristian.com

Jim Fink

Jim Fink joined Little Rock Christian Academy in 2010 as the interim Chief Financial Officer and quickly knew that God was calling him to LRCA for his next career home. His responsibilities now include financial accounting and control, plant facilities, human resources, and safeguarding the schools operations and assets.


For almost thirty years, he served as executive vice president, president and/or CFO at distinguished companies such as Ernst and Young, TCBY, Americana Foods Inc., and Yarnell’s Premium Ice Cream. He earned his B.A. from Rhodes College (TN) where he played college baseball and football.


Mr. Fink is currently involved in numerous organizations including the following:

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants (ASCPA)
  • Board of Directors (previous chairman), Central Baptist College
  • Sherwood Optimist Club (youth sports)
  • Central Arkansas Zone Commissioner for the American Legion Baseball
  • Deacon at North View Missionary Baptist Church

Email: Jim.Fink@littlerockchristian.com

Cindy McLeod

Cindy McLeod has served in the Advancement office since 2013. Prior to joining the staff of LRCA in 2009, Mrs. McLeod served on the school’s Board of Trust for six years. She has a background in Business Administration-Finance, with a B.S. from Auburn University.


Cindy currently serves as the Director of Development. Funding the mission and vision of Little Rock Christian Academy is dear to her heart, as we prepare and send out graduates to impact the state, our country and the world.


Email: Cindy.McLeod@LittleRockChristian.com

Justin Smith

Dr. Smith brings a tremendous array of spiritual, educational, professional and personal experience to LRCA. A graduate of the University of San Diego, Dr. Smith earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State. He has led well in administration, teaching and coaching. With a number of published articles and peer-reviewed presentations on record, he also received such honors as the Excellence in Superintendency Program Award from Sam Houston State University and recognition as The Woodlands Preparatory School's Most Inspirational Educator.


Dr. Smith currently serves as the Upper School Principal.


Email: Justin.Smith@LittleRockChristian.com

Johnny Watson

Johnny Watson has been LRCA’S Athletic Director since 2008 after serving the school as Head Football Coach and Track Coach. He is responsible for recruiting and leading coaches and athletic staff. Coach Watson brings an outstanding reputation as coach and as Athletic Director for over 40 years in Arkansas high schools.


He earned a B.A. from Southern Arkansas University and completed his Master of Education at the University of Central Arkansas. Coach Watson’s honors include:

  • Arkansas High School Coaches Hall of Fame 2010
  • 5A Athletic Director of the Year 2011
  • 5A Southwest Athletic Director of the Year 2011
  • 5A Central Athletic Director of the Year 2012, 2011

Email: Johnny.Watson@littlerockchristian.com

Administrative Team

High School (9th-12th):

Principal - Dr.Justin Smith
Assistant Principal - Andy Baxley
Dean of Academics - Matt Foster
Dean of Students - Justin Kirkes
Director of College Guidance - Carla Kenyon
Director of Student Life - Patrick Salman

Junior High (7th-8th):

Assistant Principal - Michele Glover
Dean of Students - Eric Allen

Middle School (5th-6th):

Assistant Principal - LeAnn Murry
Dean of Students - Mike Risher

ELEMENTARY (3 yrs - 4th):

Principal - Ann Chami
Assistant Principal - Susan Pendleton

CAMPUS WIDE:

Director of Admissions - Heidi Brandt

Director of Athletics - Johnny Watson

Director of Communications - Debbie Davis

Director of Development - Cindy McLeod

Director of Facilities - Eric Schmidt

Director of Fine Arts - Lynn Beardsley

Director of Learner Services - Andrea Trieschmann

Director of Technology - Randy Robertson

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