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Soiree Magazine Names Eells to 2024 Class of Women to Watch

Dr. Rachel Eells
Photo of Dr. Rachel Eells by Brandon Eells.

Dr. Rachel Eells, director of the School of Education at UA Little Rock, is being celebrated as a member of Soiree Magazine’s 2024 Class of Women to Watch.

She is one of 39 local movers and shakers who are making a big impact in business, philanthropy, and in the community.

“This has been a tremendous honor,” Eells stated. “I attended the launch party in June, and I got to meet a bunch of other honorees and women from previous classes. It’s been so wonderful to connect with so many brilliant women who are excelling in their field and looking to make a difference in the community.”

Eells has been making an impact on education in central Arkansas for many years. After beginning her teaching career in Little Rock as a teacher of special education, art, and gifted and talented education at Christ Lutheran Church, she later moved to Chicago to earn a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Her career moved to higher education, when she worked at Concordia University Chicago and Concordia College New York.

After moving back to Arkansas, Eells returned to her alma mater in 2022, serving as a visiting assistant professor and then interim director of the School of Education at UA Little Rock. In her leadership role, she is overseeing the implementation of a new teacher residency program, funded by a grant from Forward Arkansas, with both Jacksonville North Pulaski School District and Little Rock School District. The goal of the program is to produce high-quality, highly trained teachers who are ready for their classrooms on day one.

“We just completed the pilot year of a noteworthy paid residency model sponsored by the Forward Arkansas Grant,” Eells said. “Now we are expanding the residency model and having conversations with other school districts about the benefits of having paid residencies programs in their schools. We are also welcoming four new faculty members this fall, so this is an exciting time of growth and development for the School of Education.”

Eells is also highly involved in the community and serves on the Christian Education Parish Council at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and is helping to revitalize The Public Theatre with her husband, Brandon Eells. They live in Little Rock and have a daughter Lucinda, who is a rising senior at Parkview Arts Science Magnet High School and is  attending Governor’s School this summer.

Eells is looking forward to helping transform education programs in Arkansas to better prepare future teachers to be day-one ready for their teaching careers.

“I had my first teaching job out of college right here in Little Rock,” Eells said. “I started my career as a teacher in Arkansas. It’s been delightful to come back, work at my alma mater, and see kids that I taught before who are now grown up and doing amazing things. I am proud of our work to improve education in Arkansas. It feels good to be able to give back and make some positive changes.”