Our Board

Jim Howard.jpg

Jim Howard

Executive Director

Jim became Seeds of Hope's new Executive Director in January, 2021.  He and wife, Alison, have lived and worked in Wilson for many years.  They have two grown children, Emily and Andrew, and are members of West Nash United Methodist Church.


Peggie Shultz


Peggie attends Winstead United Methodist Church.  She has served on the Hand in Hand ministry at Winstead for several years and coordinated the Adult Classroom Readers for the 2019-2020 school year in conjunction with the Teaching & Community Garden.


Heather Winstead


Heather is a member of West Nash United Methodist Church and the Rehab Director at a senior living facility in Cary. Heather and her wife, Christen, have been married for 2 years and they have a beautiful daughter. Both Heather and Christen were born and raised in Wilson and Heather is happy to be back in Wilson serving her community.


MaryEllen Bass



MaryEllen was one of the founders of the Hand in Hand ministry at Winstead Church and has consistently volunteered at Vick Elementary School for the past 14 years. She lives in Elm City with her husband, Gary, and is a member of Winstead United Methodist Church.


Rhyan Breen

​Board Member


Rhyan Breen is a local attorney and current Wilson County School Board Member. He is the husband to a woman he doesn't deserve and the father of two precocious children.

Vicenta Cariño

​Board Member


Vicenta is Teacher Assistant at Vick Elementary School and a member of St. Therese Catholic Church.  She is the Hispanic Ministry Coordinator for SOHW and works tirelessly on behalf of the Wilson Hispanic Community.



Gary Farmer

​Board Member


Recently retired from the Wilson County School Board, Gary serves the Wilson community in many ways including using his farming equipment to periodically plow and mulch the  Seeds of Hope Teaching and Community Garden.



Mandy Jenkins

​Board Member


Mandy is a member of Winstead United Methodist Church and the Media Specialist for Vick Elementary School and is Teacher of the Year at Vick for the 2020-21 school year.  She lives in Wilson with her husband and two sons.


Maria Resendiz Ledezma

​Board Member


Maria is mother to three sons, two of which are students at Vick Elementary School.  Maria is also a member of the ELL Class that meets at SOHH and is a member of the Wilson AMEXCAN Promotoras Committee which helps to coordinate events for the Wilson Hispanic Community.



Julia Newton

​Board Member


Julia is the Garden Coordinator for the Seeds of Hope Teaching & Community Garden.  She is a Master Gardener and has guided the progress of the gardening program.  She and her husband, Will, live in Wilson.



Bishop M.K. Smith

​Board Member


Bishop Smith is Pastor of Christ Temple of Praise Church and is the newest board member of Seeds of Hope Wilson.  Welcome, Bishop Smith.



Rev. Heather Wong

Pastor, West Nash United Methodist Church

​Board Member

Heather recently moved to Wilson and serves as the pastor of West Nash UMC. Married to Phil, they have two children, Samantha and Matthew. 


Eva Smithwick

Eva is a credit risk officer with a 25+ year career in banking.  She volunteers in the SOHW Teaching and Community Garden, and is an active member of the community.  She and her husband Aaron live in Stantonsburg. 


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Rev. Rachel Price

​Pastor, Winstead United Methodist Church

Ex-Officio Board Member


Rachel moved from Durham, where she completed her Masters of Divinity degree, to Wilson with her dog in July of 2021.



Martha Levey

Librarian, Vick Elementary School

Ex-Officio Board Member


Martha S. Levey is originally from Wilson and has moved back after living in Emerald Isle for many years.  She is married and has two children.