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Gary Newton, CCE

Department: Arkansas Learns, AERF
Title: President & CEO
Phone: 501.492.3418

Gary Newton, former executive vice president of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, was recruited by Luke Gordy, founding executive director of Arkansans for Education Reform Foundation (AERF), to create and become the first president and CEO of what has become Arkansas Learns. Upon Gordy’s retirement, he also assumed management responsibility for AERF.

Talent now drives economic development. And the biggest piece of the talent pipeline is K-12 public education.

Arkansas Learns is the Voice of Business for excellent education options - including industry-relevant career pathways - for all students, no matter their culture, economic status, or ZIP Code. The business member-supported 501(c)6 organization advances the core principals of student-focus, transparency, accountability, rewards and choice in public education.

The son of a public school superintendent and a guidance counselor, Newton’s public education advocacy began with his own children’s journey in the Little Rock School District. Faced with an absence of secondary school options in the only growing area of Little Rock, Newton was instrumental in the approval of an open-enrollment 6-12 public charter school which became the catalyst for creation of the Little Rock School District’s Pinnacle View Middle School.

An eighth generation native of the Arkansas Ozarks, Newton attended public schools in Mountain Home, Fayetteville and Lebanon, Missouri. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, from 1983 to 1988, he served as executive vice president of the then-Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. In his combined twelve years with the Chamber, he was instrumental in the creation and implementation of enduring Chamber initiatives, such as Leadership Greater Little Rock, Create Little Rock, and the Arkansas Production Alliance (arfilm).

He is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, University of Oklahoma Economic Develooment Institute, and is a Certified Chamber of Commerce Executive (CCE).

Newton spent 17 years in the entertainment industry in New York and Los Angeles. In 2013, he and his partners - Daniel Campbell and Graham Gordy - created Mortuus Pater Pictures, LLC, which just completed its first feature film, 'Antiquities.'

The beginnings of his advocacy are chronicled in 77 posts on his blog ( from February 2, 2011 to June 2, 2012. Since August 1, 2012, all of his posts are at,, and

To have Gary Newton speak at your meeting or event, email him the details at
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