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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 Executive Director of Next Step in February 2013 after serving as the Interim Executive Director since September 2012. Ms. Sherrill joined Next Step in November 2011 as the agency’s Marketing Manager. Prior to that, Ms. Sherrill was an award-winning investigative 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, 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 us in August 2013.


Elizabeth Wiggins, CASE MANAGER For Supportive Housing

 Elizabeth Wiggins is a Case Manager for our Supportive Housing units (Buddy Smith Home, Esther Home and Gabriel House). She graduated in May 2014 from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith with a bachelor's degree in psychology, and joined Next Step shortly thereafter. Ms. Wiggins comes to Next Step with a decade of experience at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. 



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 us 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 us in October 2011.


Overseeing the operation of The Next Step Homeless Services is a proactive Board of Directors:



Kim Wohlford, 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 President of the Board. She was the Board Vice-President last year and 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.



Paula Glidewell is the Co-owner and Vice President of Glidewell Distributing. Ms. Glidewell is the past President of The Next Step Homeless Services 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. 

Susan Tucker, Secretary


Susan Tucker is the owner of River City Deli and has served on our Board of Directors since July 2012. She became the Board Secretary in July 2013. 


Tom Caldarera, Jr., Treasurer


Tom Caldarera Jr. is the co-owner of Taliano’s Italian Restaurant. He is the longest serving member of our Board of Directors. He became Board Treasurer in July 2014



Rev. Phil Blackburn is the co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith.  A native of Oklahoma City, Phil moved to Fort Smith in the summer of 2012 with his wife, Tasha, who joined him in ministry at First Presbyterian.  They have two children, Calum and Alena. Rev. Blackburn graduated from the University of Kansas in 1997 and then attended seminary at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He followed his time there with one year at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Rev. Blackburn has a deep passion for caring for people in need and is thrilled to be involved with Next Step. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Crisis Intervention Center. 

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 our Board of Directors.




Sharon Chapman, an active volunteer throughout the Fort Smith community, joined the Board of Directors of the Next Step Homeless Services in July 2014. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Service League for the past 20 years and is currently the organization’s board president. She also serves on the boards of Western Arkansas Ballet and NICCE Foundation (North India Christian Children’s Education Foundation). Ms. Chapman has a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Oklahoma and previously worked as a case manager and supervisor at Area Agencies on Aging in Oklahoma and in Missouri. 



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 our Board of Directors in 2012. She served as the Board Treasurer last year.

Neil Pennington, BOARD MEMBER


Neil Pennington is the President of Strategic Healthcare Management and the Chief Financial Officer for the Little Rock Eye Clinic. Mr. Pennington joined Next Step's Board of Directors in the Fall of 2014. He holds a bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  

Tim Smith, Board Member


Tim Smith has served on our Board of Directors since February 2012 and is a member of the Property Committee. Mr. Smith has owned and operated Ross Explorations in Fort Smith for more than 30 years.


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