The Team

Who We Are

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Monica Woods

Preschool Director

Monica is our Program Developer/Lead Educator and she has been with us since summer staff orientation back in late May 2017. She whole-heartedly believes that children should have the opportunity to connect to the outdoors and is astounded at how everything she has done up until this point has prepared her for this amazing opportunity.

Monica is a native Texan, but got here as fast as she could. She moved to Little Rock in 2008, after falling in love with it while visiting family here for many years. She loves to surprise outsiders with stories of some of the beautiful places here, but always stops short from telling all she knows because she would really like for Arkansas to remain a secret.

She has two children, Tristan and Lucia, whom she chooses to spend time with above just about anyone else, and never takes for granted the gift of being a parent.

After backcountry guiding for several years in Colorado and Wyoming, nine years in the classroom and ten years homeschooling her own kids, Monica then tutored dyslexic students at Catholic High School before serving in her current position at Lake Nixon. Monica is an avid rock climber and often enjoys climbing in Northwest Arkansas, as well as in other parts of the U.S.

After doing her own research into outdoor preschools for many years, Monica could not be more excited to have this chance to provide this nature immersion experience for young children right here in Little Rock. You can email Monica at mwoods@2bclr.com.

501-744-8897

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Marie Brakebill

Educator / Camp Director

Ms. Marie's ties to Lake Nixon and to Second Baptist Church are true and deep. In addition to her role as a full-time teacher at Lake Nixon Outdoor Preschool, Marie has served as Assistant Director for the Lake Nixon Summer Day Camp for the last 22 years.

Ms. Marie was born in Louisiana and has lived in Arkansas since 1986. She has been married to her husband, Charles, for 39 wonderful years and has three children and six grandchildren. She began her teaching career 24 years ago when her children first entered preschool, and it wasn't long before she realized she had found her calling in teaching. Marie went on to earn an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and continues to be as enthusiastic about education today as she was when she began.

In addition to her love of reading, Ms. Marie enjoys walking and has finished the Little Rock Half Marathon. The Lake Nixon Outdoor Center is proud to have such a dedicated and hard working individual as part of our team!

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John Hooker

Preschool Teacher

John is coming up on his third anniversary with Lake Nixon Outdoor Preschool and we could not be happier spending our days with him! 
He comes by early childcare naturally, as his mom’s entire career was spent with little people. To recount even a small list of memories he has made with the children here would take up many posts, but suffice it to say he is loved by all of our students. 


He is also loved by our parents, as he takes the time each day to connect with them and fill them in on all the details of their baby’s days. He inherently knows how important that is and strives to recount it all just as he strives to really SEE his students. To say that he is dependable almost feels like saying the bare minimum, but it is important to mention because it is a whole other level of Dependable. He is a strong and kind presence in these kids’ lives and is a wonderful example of a male role model (which boys AND girls need), and proof that male teachers have just as much to offer students, schools and teams as female teachers. He’s not trying to prove anything, though. He shows up with intention and demonstrates evenness and humor when sometimes others wonder how he as any left.


He also makes sure “a lot of other stuff” gets done.. he often is one admin’s IT department, the beaver dam buster, the HEAVY water cooler filler, AED tester, outdoor potty trash collector, and on and on. He creatively handles emotional upsets, teaches daily breathing exercises (to the kids! Not that adults can’t learn, too.). He appreciates the value of play, is fun and (very) funny, and doesn’t leave anything on the field (a.k.a. goes home exhausted). Then he does it all over again the next day. He’s a gem and another big part of what makes LNOP the best.

Arlo Stebbing

Preschool Teacher

Mr. Arlo has been with us for a few years now, in many different capacities. He has been an extended day teacher, teacher’s assistant, full-time teacher and our resident Jack-of-all-trades. This willingness to embrace change has been at the core of what he brings to LNOP. Being eager for “and other duties” means that he is a central piece of our support system. He gives teacher breaks, attacks all the little tasks that keep things running, writes grants, helps with administrative have-to’s and is always ready for more. He loves LNOP and it shows.


It is how he operates with our children, however, that makes him such a special person and team member. He is even-keeled and demonstrates a remarkable degree of poise under pressure. He models kindness, patience and emotional equanimity. These, and making himself available to our students are things he is innately aware children need. He takes seriously the enormous responsibility it is to work with kids, but also truly enjoys them and has SO MUCH FUN with them (they don’t know he’s serious). He KNOWS these kids, is not ruffled by kid energy and kid impulses. He is hard-wired to be an educator and has just as much fun playing as he does thinking how to make something better. We could not have the program we do without Arlo!

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Andy Black

LAKE NIXON OUTDOOR CENTER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Andy came to the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center in May of 2019. Andy is married to Jennifer, who is currently an online instructor for the Baylor University School of Social Work. They have enjoyed settling in at Lake Nixon with their three young children, Jonathan, Micah, and Hannah.

Andy has a diverse background, both in terms of previous roles and in terms of geography. He has been the program director of a community development organization, a history and religious studies professor, and a hospice chaplain. Most recently, he worked to coordinate efforts to reduce food insecurity as the Lubbock Regional Director for the Texas Hunger Initiative. He has degrees from Baylor University (History and Church-State Studies), Truett Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Dayton (Ph.D. in Theology).

Andy spent about a decade growing up in Wyoming, where he developed a deep and lasting love for the outdoors. He has family roots in Oklahoma and Mississippi, and so it seemed fitting for him to split the difference and settle in the Natural State.

 

Andy enjoys hiking and biking, reading and writing, playing and listening to music, and cheering for the Baylor Bears. When he was younger, he enjoyed regular games of pickup basketball and ultimate frisbee. These days, most of his exercise takes the form of chasing kids or simply exploring all the nooks and crannies of Lake Nixon's 230 acres.

As Executive Director at Lake Nixon Andy works to support existing programs (especially the Outdoor Preschool and Summer Day Camp) and to grow partnerships so that Lake Nixon can provide year-round opportunities for recreation, education, and sanctuary for all kinds of people. At a fundamental level, Andy sees Lake Nixon as a tremendous gift allowing 2BC to extend and deepen its ministry by welcoming neighbors, from near and far, into a space where God’s “beloved community” can be glimpsed and even grown.

Mike Simmons

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR/DAY CAMP DIRECTOR

Mike has 25 years’ experience in the camping and outdoor education field and has a passion for helping people realize the best in themselves. He is involved in a number of professional organizations related to outdoor education. He is certified as a challenge (ropes) course facilitator and lifeguard as well as an experienced Wilderness First Aid, and Leave No Trace instructor.

Mike has lived and worked in a wide variety of locations. Mike obtained a degree in Recreation Management from the University of Montana. He has worked at camps in North Carolina, New England, Canada and Arkansas. He taught at a boarding school in Vicksburg MS for 6 years.

Mike has lived in Little Rock since 2006. He is married to Rene, who works in healthcare. They have 4 teenage children, 2 boys and 2 girls. The eldest two are in college and the younger two are still in high school. Mike enjoys staying active, spending time with his energetic family and being outside.

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