Before taking the helm of City Year in 2008, Shannon Butler was deputy executive director of the William J. Clinton Foundation from 2001-06. In 2007-08, Butler earned her master's in social work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
"I'm particularly proud to have been a part of changing the image of City Year here in central Arkansas," Butler says.
"People really are beginning to understand we're an education-focused group, working in the schools to reduce the high school dropout rate. ... For the first time ever, we have almost 50 percent of our Corps applying to return for a second year."
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service named an award in Butler's honor, the Shannon Butler Bridge Builder Award, and she served on the Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commission.
One of the highlights of Butler's career was when a City Year Corps member recounted the difficulties faced by a student he was mentoring. The first-grader kept saying, "I can't do this." The mentor realized "the problem was nobody ever told him he could," Butler says. "As soon as he told him he could, [the student] completely changed" and has caught up with his classmates. "That was really inspiring to me."