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One of our employees said, "This is not a job.  It is a mission."
We are proud of our committed staff. 

Amy Sherrill, Executive Director

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Amy Sherrill became The Next Step’s Executive Director in February 2013 after serving as the Interim Executive Director since September 2012. Ms. Sherrill joined The Next Step in November 2011 as the agency’s Marketing Manager. Prior to that, Ms. Sherrill was an award-winning journalist at the Southwest Times Record. Ms. Sherrill has a bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts from Henderson State University and attended graduate school at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. 

John P. Foster, Director of Case Management

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John P. Foster, The Next Step’s Director of Case Management, is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. He holds a Master's Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and a Bachelor's Degree in Geography from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  Prior to joining the Next Step, Mr. Foster worked at Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center for 26 years where he held several positions including the Program Director for the NEW Center, a Community Support Program, at WACGC. The NEW Center provided comprehensive services in a Day treatment setting which inlcuded educational and vocational support, work adjustment, personal assistance, social assistance, transportation, networks, housing, psychiatric help and medical support. Mr. Foster joined The Next Step in August 2013.


Cheryl Matlock, Case Manager

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Cheryl Matlock is a Case Manager and also oversees the operation of the kitchen that provides daily hot lunches at The Next Step. Her other duties include billing and filing statistical reports each month. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising from Oklahoma State University. Ms. Matlock is the veteran employee on staff as she joined The Next Step in September 2009.

Robert Petty, Case Manager

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Robert Petty is a Case Manager and our database specialist at The Next Step. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith in 2010. Upon graduation, Mr. Petty worked at Vista Health as a Mental Health Paraprofessional. Mr. Petty joined The Next Step in October 2011.




Becky Hamer (Young) is our Case Manager for our three supportive homes: the Buddy Smith Home, the Esther Home and the Gabriel House. Prior to her work at The Next Step, Ms. Hamer worked as a case manager at Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center for more than six years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Ms. Hamer joined The Next Step in November 2011.

Overseeing the operation of the Next Step Day Room is a proactive Board of Directors:

Gary Udouj, Jr., President


 Gary Udouj, Jr., is the President of The Next Step Board which he joined in 2011. He also serves as chair of the Community Affairs Committee of the Board. Mr. Udouj is the Director of Adult Education for the Fort Smith Public Schools, and he currently serves as Chair of the Arkansas Adult Education Advisory Board.  He is a member of the Arkansas Adult Learning Resource Center Advisory Board, the Arkansas Association of Continuing and Adult Education, and is president of the Arkansas Association of Administrators of Adult Education. He also serves on the board of Developmental Wings, Inc., a nonprofit that provides customized educational, developmental, and advocacy programs for people with autism in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas.


Kim Wohlford, Vice-President


Kim Wohlford is the co-owner of Wolf Exploration Inc., a private oil and gas exploration company, along with her husband, Charles. Ms. Wohlford is the Vice-President of The Next Step Board. She was the Board Treasurer for three years prior to that and also served as the Board Secretary. Ms. Wohlford has been on the board for eight years. Ms. Wohlford serves as President of Children’s Service League, a non-profit established in 1933 to clothe needy Fort Smith Public School students. In the past, Ms. Wohlford has served as President and Secretary of the Salvation Army Board, President of United Methodist Women, Administrative Board member of First United Methodist Church, has been a CASA volunteer and a PEO President and Secretary; and a member of the Junior League of Fort Smith.

Susan Tucker, Secretary


Susan Tucker is the owner of River City Deli and has served on The Next Step Board of Directors since July 2012. She became the Board Secretary on July 1, 2013.

Ila M. Debose, Treasurer


Ila M. DeBose is a mental health therapist at Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center where she is assigned to help students at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Ms. DeBose is also a clinical therapist and owner of Back to Basics Counseling Services, LLC, in Fort Smith. Ms. DeBose previously worked with the school-based services program at Perspectives Behavioral Health Management.  She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Xavier University. Ms. DeBose joined The Next Step Board of Directors in 2012. She became Board Treasurer on July 1, 2013.

Tom Caldarera, Jr., Board Member


Tom Caldarera Jr. is the co-owner of Taliano’s Italian Restaurant. He is the longest serving member of The Next Step Board of Directors.

Jeanne Carroll, Board Member


Jeanne Carroll is the District homeless liaison for the Fort Smith Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management from John Brown University. Ms. Carroll has been an active member of the Old Fort Homeless Coalition (OFHC) for the past eight years. She currently sits on the OFHC Board of Directors. She was a member of the City of Fort Smith's Homeless Task Force, which was formed by the City of Fort Smith to address homelessness issues.

Jo Carson, Board Member


Jo Ellen Carson is an attorney ad litem for foster children in Sebastian County employed by the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Ms. Carson previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives as a member and committee chair. This is Ms. Carson's second time serving on The Next Step board of directors.

Paula Glidewell, Board Member


Paula Glidewell is the Co-owner and Vice President of Glidewell Distributing. Ms. Glidewell is the past President of The Next Step and currently sits on the Community Affairs Committee of the board. She also is the Vice President of the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors (SAWD), Board member and Governmental Affairs committee member of the American Wholesale Marketing Association, President of the Oklahoma Wholesale Marketing Association. She is a Board member of the Arkansas Convenience Store Association, an Arkansas Hospitality Association member, Fort Smith (Little Rock/ Greenwood) Chamber of Commerce member, and a member of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Ms. Glidewell is an Auxiliary member of the Salvation Army, Board member of Girls Inc., member of Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, Noon Exchange Club, and Zonta. Her previous volunteer service includes serving as Vice President of the Junior League and State Public Affairs Chairman for Arkansas’ Junior Leagues, Director of CASA for Sebastian and Crawford counties, and President of the Learning Academy School Board, and Soroptomists. 

Michael Lovell, board member

Michael Lovell joined The Next Step in July 2013. Mr. Lovell's strong desire to help others is reflected in his background. Formerly, a police officer/firefighter for the state of Arkansas, Mr. Lovell is a graduate of both the Arkansas Fire Academy at SAU Tech and the Fort Smith Training Academy (Police Academy). He is a third year student of the Education for Ministry program with Sewanee: The University of the South and a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Fort Smith. Mr. Lovell works in Account Development at USA Truck. 


Dan Maher, Board Member


Daniel Maher is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Arkansas where he has taught since 1997. He has served on The Next Step board since 2007. Mr. Maher served two stints as president of the board during the 2012-13 and 2010-2011 terms. Mr. Maher earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas, and holds an M.S. and B.S. in Sociology from Illinois State University. From 1998-2003 he served on the board and for time as Director of the Fort Smith Multicultural Center. He believes providing volunteer service in the community is a responsibility of all citizens and encourages everyone to do what they can where they can.

Father John Maxwell, Board Member


Father John Maxwell is the manager of pastoral services at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, formally known as St. Edward Mercy Medical Center.  He has worked there since June 1999. He is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains.  Father Maxwell completed his Clinical Pastoral Education at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa. Father Maxwell is an Ordained Priest with the Orthodox Church in America.  He holds a Master’s of Science in Religious Education at Marywood University in Scranton, Penn., a Master’s of Divinity at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Penn., and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Biola University, La Mirada, Calif.  He is currently completing a doctorate program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Hospital Chaplaincy. Father Maxwell has served on several community boards and committees. He currently is a board member of the Heart to Heart Pregnancy Support Center and has worked with Step Up! Speak Out!. He previously served on the Home Health and Hospice Advisory Board, the Community Rescue Mission Board, and the Blood Drive Committee.  He is former president of the Fort Smith Ministerial Alliance.  He is also a former member of Orthodox Theological Schools Association and Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion. Father Maxwell has pastored churches in California, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.  He was the founder of the Sts George and Alexandra Orthodox Church in Fort Smith and is currently the Church Planter at St. John of Chicago Mission in Rogers, Ark. Father Maxwell joined The Next Step Board of Directors in 2012.

Tim Smith, Board Member


Tim Smith has served on The Next Step Board of Directors since February 2012 and is an active part of the Property Committee. Mr. Smith has owned and operated Ross Explorations in Fort Smith for more than 30 years. Mr. Smith is currently serving as a Board Member and Officer of Tom Cox World Ministries. He previously served on the Board of the Good Samaritan Clinic and Board of the Institute of Biblical Studies, which provides college credit to students through John Brown University. Mr. Smith also has many overseas interests providing healthy food, clean water and a safe learning environment for thousands of children in Africa, India and South America. Mr. Smith is passionate about providing people of every race, creed and nation the means to better themselves, their families and their communities.

As a nonprofit 501(c)(3), donations to
The Next Step are tax deductible.
Tax ID # 71-0755680