Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology | Board of Directors
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Board of Directors

board_03Board Meetings

Samantha Edison-Howell – Board President
Samantha is the Sales Advisor for the Sales & Marketing Division of Amway Corporation. She has expertise in developing materials that effectively promote marketing campaigns and extensively analyzes business performance data for trends in support Sales & Marketing Planning. She has extensive experience presenting ideas around vision and mission to external organizations, as well as process and continuous improvement. Samantha has conducted market research and analysis through interviews and surveys. She has designed customized performance interventions and training. An additional strength is her background in training and facilitation of corporate training programs. Samantha has her Bachelor of Science, Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI and a MBA from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Evette Pittman – Treasurer
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
St. Catherine of Siena
Evette Pittman is the Director of Development Events and Community Engagement for the Grand Rapids Symphony. Previously, she was the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for 91.3, WCSG Radio at Cornerstone University. At the Symphony, Evette conceives and plans fund-raising events, develops event marketing strategies and engages Symphony donors as well as the greater West Michigan community. In her role with Community Engagement, Evette strives to broaden the reach of the Symphony to be seen as an inclusive and diverse arts organization. Evette serves on the board of Autism Support of Kent County, the Downtown Development Authority Taskforce for Experience, the Grand Rapids Symphony Strategic Planning Committee, GREAAT Schools Inc. Events Committee and is a member of Multiracial Association of Professionals and Women in Development. Evette has been married to James Pittman Jr. (JR) for 21 years and has two sons, Joshua and Noah. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications and Mass Media from Cedarville University as well as an Associate of Biblical Studies degree from Moody Bible Institute. Evette can be reached at

Tishanna Ferguson – Board Secretary
Tishanna Ferguson is a Critical Care Nurse Technician for The Meijer Heart Center. Previously, she served as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Spectrum Health Hospital and Whitehills Health Care Center. Tishanna obtained a Bachelor of Science, in Health Studies and a minor in Sociology from Michigan State University, and is Certified as a Nursing Assistant and Basic Life Support Responder. Tishanna is also a Sunday School Instructor at Light House Full Life Center. Tishanna has committed herself to the education of children and believes firmly that children should posses the skills necessary to attend college, excel in college courses, internships and career choice. Tishanna has volunteered for numerous organization such as Student Parents on a Mission at Michigan State University, The Mother Teresa House, and Jackson High School.

Chaste Heggenstaller – Board Trustee
Chaste is a Behavior Health Therapist for children at Easter Seals of Michigan. She provides therapy and support children and their families on the Kent county area. Previously, she worked providing services to adults with developmental disabilities with Thresholds. She is a limited licensed Master Social Worker and a GVSU alumni. Chaste has a passion for working with children and supporting them to achieve educational excellence.

Huemartin Robinson II Board Trustee
He enjoys being able to work with the future leaders and decision makers of this world, the youth of Grand Rapids.  Huemartin developed an affinity for athletics, participating in all sports but excelling in baseball, track, and football.  He also excelled academically, often getting top scores in scholastic endeavors.  He earned a Bachelor Degree in Science/Political Science.  Robinson coached football and track for 14 years.  He has worked as a juvenile probation officer for the past 14 years.  Prior to becoming a probation officer he was a surveillance officer as well as a youth specialist.  He was also a supervisor for the Grand Rapids Job Corps for three years.  He is currently the Census Control – Probation Officer for the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center.  He has been married for 14 years and is the father of three daughters ages 27, 19, and 14.  He also has three grandchildren.

Robert Hurd – Board Trustee

Michael Remo – Board Trustee