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My Town Hero: Mom's love leads to special needs calling | My Town Hero

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My Town Hero: Mom's love leads to special needs calling
My Town Hero: Mom's love leads to special needs calling

PANGBURN, Ark. (KTHV) – Carol Yarrington is a woman with ambition! She has spent the past seven years getting her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in special education all so she can be a voice for children with special needs.

Yarrington felt the calling to be someone that special needs children could rely on after she witnessed her own son, who has autism, go through school. As the years went by, she noticed that some special education teachers didn’t seem to care or did not have the appropriate training. Even if it was just in one child’s life, she was determined to make a difference.

As parents, we all have that desire to get our kids the best education possible. For parents of children with special needs, that desire can turn to frustration. Yarrington is making a difference in the lives of her students every day, but it's the journey that led her to them, that makes her extra special. She teaches students with special needs at Heber Springs Elementary.

"I think I have a better understanding, and you know, I think parents sense that," said Carol Yarrington, a mother to a son with autism. She admitted that she has grown disappointed in the school system over the years. "This is 7th grade high school. This is when we really started to have problems. I felt that he was falling through the cracks."

Carol said she felt her son wasn't getting the skills he needed to succeed in life. She said it wasn't until she left a meeting with her son's principal 7 years ago, that she realized she needed to do more.

"I was in tears, and I was driving, and I said ‘God there has got to be a better way. Why am I fighting? I thought things were better for people with special needs,’" she recalled. At that moment, she decided to embark on an incredible journey. Determined to make a difference, at age 37, Carol decided to go school to get a degree in special education. "What better way to find out the system than be in the system?"

But. her journey would be far from easy. The mother of two also looked after a friend battling cancer, who died her first semester of school. Soon after, she lost both her parents.

"It was heart wrenching,” Yarrington said. “There were so many days that I just wanted to quit."

Instead she fought through, and graduated at the top of her class. She then went on to receive her Master's degree. Now, after one year in the classroom, Carol's seven year journey has finally come to fruition. Today she's setting new goals for a new journey with her students.

"I'm proud of what I did and I hope that I can inspire others,” she concluded. “My focus is to have [my students] grow as much as they can academically and challenge them to go and do more."

She plans to go back for her Doctorate in law for disabled children.

“She wants to be their voice,” explained Tammy Carlisle, who nominated Yarrington for the My Town Hero honor. “And, trust me, she has the voice and the pitbull attitude for it.”


Do you know someone in your community who goes above and beyond? Maybe they’re always helping people, or greets everyone with a smile. Perhaps they’ve beat unthinkable odds or have accomplished something exceptional.

We want to highlight them. To have your My Town Hero featured, email the following information to mytown@thv11.com:

  • Their name,
  • Their hometown,
  • Their contact information,
  • A photo of them, and
  • What makes them extra special

Include “My Town Hero” in the email subject line and we’ll take care of publishing it for you. Their story might even be told on air by THV11's Denise Middleton.