LITTLE ROCK — Tracy Steele, a former state lawmaker who also previously served as executive director of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, has been named director of the state Division of Youth Services, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services said Monday.
Steele replaces Ron Angel, who retired at the end of June.
DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said Steel, who starts his new job Aug. 5, will have an annual salary of $100,077.
The agency said Steele is familiar with the DYS mission as well as the challenges and successes the division has had over the years.
“Tracy’s familiarity with DYS and his passion for working with Arkansas youth make him a great fit for the director position,” DHS Director John Selig said in a news release. “He also has the support of the provider community and the ability to work with legislators from both sides of the aisle, which will be needed as we continue to work to improve our juvenile justice system.”
DYS oversees a system of community and facility-based programs designed to address the needs of youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. The division is responsible for eight facilities and contracts with a number of community programs across the state.
Steele, of North Little Rock, served the last of three terms in the state House last year. He also served two terms in the state Senate.
Steele, chief executive officer of the STAND Foundation — or Strive Toward A New Direction — ran unsuccessfully for mayor of North Little Rock in 2012.
He started his career with the state in 1987, coordinating then-Gov. Bill Clinton’s rural development program. He worked for Clinton and later Gov. Jim Guy Tucker until 1994.
Steele said in a news release he “will bring an unwavering degree of dedication to support our young people and the families this division serves.”