Shanna Parker has been named the director of a new program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that is helping to connect parents with the child care resources they need to be successful in school.
As director of UA Little Rock’s Child Care Connections program, Parker is responsible for enrolling eligible students in a program that provides federal child care funding for low-income students, assisting students with finding resources to meet their child care needs, and making student referrals for resources across campus.
Parker is also responsible for implementing the requirements of a Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) four-year grant of $581,128 from the U.S. Department of Education that is providing funding to help eligible UA Little Rock students with child care expenses.
“Ms. Parker is a stellar addition to the Student Retention Initiatives Team and brings years of expertise in early childhood care and development,” said Heather Reed, director of Student Retention Initiatives at UA Little Rock. “Her experience working within other UA system schools made her the perfect candidate to build the Child Care Connections program and administer the CCAMPIS grant. She will provide consultation services to any enrolled student regarding child care services in the state, she will administer the grant program, and connect students to campus and community services to ensure their success both as a student and a parent. We are grateful to have her energy and passion for quality child care on our team.”
A native of Pine Bluff, Parker brings a wide variety of experience in early childhood education and higher education. She is a trainer, mentor, coach, advocate, and administrator for students, parents, and staff in early childhood education.
“As the new Child Care Connections director, I hope to make a difference in the educational experience of UA Little Rock students,” Parker said. “I want our students to have the support needed to be successful in achieving their educational goals.”
Prior to UA Little Rock, she worked for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for six years, where she served in various capacities, including interim Early Head Start director. In addition, Parker has worked for the University of Arkansas for Medical Science’s Head Start/Early Head Start, serving as site director and as family service advocate.
Parker’s passion and drive for student success come from being a first-generation graduate who has overcome many obstacles and is grateful for the people who helped her graduate.
“I am who I am because someone cared,” she said.
Parker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family sciences from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Master of Science in business with a focus on human resources from Purdue University. She is also pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration from Walden University and is expected to graduate in 2023.