Steve Straessle is a 1988 graduate of Catholic High School and has been a teacher there since 1992. In 2005, he took the helm as principal and continues to teach two classes in addition to his administrative and fundraising duties. His numerous accolades include being named DAR Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 1995, ASPA Administrator of the Year in 2016, and he was a member of the inaugural class of AMP Influencers of the Year in 2020. 

Straessle is a member of the Arkansas Activities Association board of directors and served on the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation Commission. In 2018, he began writing a bi-weekly human interest column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette highlighting the mountains and valleys of life. His work has appeared in other publications as well.

 YSEALI : Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative

YSEALI/PFP is a U.S. Department of State initiative. This too is a month-long homestay within the community in a family home.  This individual works with businesses or other mentors for one month. It is, in effect, an immersion in entrepreneurship.  It is focused on business, agriculture, and more.  There is a reciprocal exchange with the mentor if the project developed is chosen.

Several of our Fellowship hosts have been chosen as a reciprocal programming recipient.  This means they were able to travel to their Fellow’s country to help set up a special project developed while in Arkansas.

  • Little Rock Workforce Investment Board Executive Director, W J Monagle was hosted in Azerbaijan where he participated in a two-week reverse exchange. Mr. Monagle mentored the completion of a program which he and his Azerbaijani counterpart,



Seymur Valiyev, devised in Little Rock. The project was one of 40 selected out of 250 participants.

  • Little Rock Urban Farms Owner, Chris Hiryak, traveled to Malaysia to speak and train with his counterpart Alisha NG Koh Chang.

  • Chris Jones of Arkansas Innovation Hub traveled to Brunei to work with Fisha Rashid in the Spring of 2019.

  • Mi Mi San Pedro from the Venture Center traveled to Vietnam in the Fall of 2019 to work with Xuan Thanh.

  • Terri Thomas of City Year  traveled to Myanmar to work with Kyu Kyu Mar

  • Kennard Williams of USDA will travel to the Philippines to work with Vina Orolfo.


Open World: Ukraine Visits Little Rock

01/24/20 - 02/01/20