Our New Executive Director

Our New Executive Director

Published Thursday, May 18, 2017

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Mr. Jeffrey T. Howell as SEEDS’ new executive director.

Howell will join SEEDS in June after four years at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability and E.K. Powe Elementary School in Durham where he worked as an exceptional children’s teacher and case manager. He earned an undergraduate degree in 2011 in environmental science from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, and a master’s degree in public health in 2013 from the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied behavioral and community health science.

“We’re excited for Jeff to bring his educational experience as an exceptional children’s teacher to bear on the work of SEEDS and its young people,” said Wil Weldon, board chair of SEEDS and independent documentary producer at Storied Legacy, LLC. “His sensitivity and experience as a teacher and his vision will help SEEDS grow as an urban garden and kitchen classroom. We can’t wait to see to how he will involve SEEDS in new ways to support the community.”

Margaret Goodhand, principal of E.K. Powe Elementary, praised Howell’s work as an educator, and said that she and the school’s teachers and students will miss him.

“But we are excited for him to begin his new adventures at SEEDS, as he has many skills to offer the organization,” Goodhand said. “Jeff is one of those educators that you come across once in a great while. The students he works with and all the students in the school love his caring and upbeat personality. We also appreciate his great commitment to working for social justice, and his positive nature in every aspect of his job, such as working with students, communicating with families, and collaborating with colleagues.”

“Hands-on learning is becoming a necessary tool for all students to remain engaged and understand new concepts,” Jeff said. “As a lover of traveling, my fondest memories always center around meeting new people, locals or other travelers, and sharing a meal with them – allowing you to witness the world from their perspective.  The amazing concept behind SEEDS is that the organization combines both of these loves into a program that has the potential to make a lasting impact in our community.”

SEEDS will continue under the leadership of Interim Executive Director Sarah J. Shapard until Jeff officially joins the organization on June 19.

“Sarah’s leadership since this past March has been critical in enabling SEEDS to maintain programming, and establish a stronger foundation for growth as an urban garden and kitchen classroom,” said Kim Blair, Vice Chair of SEEDS. “We are so thankful for her insights, fun spirit and commitment to the team during this transition.” Blair, who works as Director of Community Relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, will take over as Board Chair for SEEDS on July 1, 2017.