Staff & Board of Directors



Neida Arrington

General & Operations Manager

Joining the staff in January 2015, Neida Arrington is the General & Operations Manager of Wylde Center. She also helps manage our annual Beer Garden fundraiser. Previously she managed an office for a landscape architect firm but was eager to join a nonprofit. A childhood rearing in Lyons, Georgia, amidst Vidalia sweet onions coupled with an educational background in environmental studies made Wylde Center the perfect team for Neida to join. Outside of the office, she enjoys baking cheese cakes and bikepacking.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Cucumbers
  • Favorite plant to grow: Marigolds
  • Favorite place to eat: Desi Spice
Good Lookin

Chris Aleman

Oakhurst & Edgewood Site Coordinator

Chris grew up in Rochester, MN and has lived all over the US: studying in Madison, WI, serving two years with AmeriCorps in Seattle, WA, and finishing up his Sustainable Community Development degree in Prescott, AZ. He returned to his hometown for a while to work as a garden manager for an alternative high school but decided to settle somewhere closer to the equator after skipping the Midwest winter/WWOOFing for several months in New Zealand. He then completed a farm apprenticeship in Mansfield, GA and joined the Wylde Center staff in late 2016 as an educator and site coordinator for Oakhurst Garden.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Lacinato kale
  • Favorite plant to grow: English Ivy (when it's not horribly invasive to local ecosystems)
  • Favorite place to eat: Ria's Bluebird
Kristy Bible

Kristy Bible


Favorite veggie to grow- peppers
Favorite plant- zinnias
Favorite veg to eat- tomatoes, duh!


Emily Brabeck

Plant Sale Coordinator,

Emily grew up in the city of Chicago, but spent a lot of time outdoors, playing sports and camping.  After majoring in psychology and sociology at Tulane University, she was drawn toward self-sufficiency and sustainability, which led her to pursue agriculture and permaculture design by work-trading and living on the farms she worked. She has since implemented farm food safety protocols for Kennesaw State University’s farm as the assistant manager, apprenticed as a carpenter, and created edible landscape and garden designs and installations.  Although she does not have an agriculture or horticulture related degree, she has continued to pursue education through certifications as a Master Gardener, Permaculture Designer, Certified Compost Operator, and in Produce Safety and HAACP training. She studies herbal medicine and apprentices with The Herbalista in Atlanta. Her favorite activity other than cultivating plants is hiking and foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants with her canine companion, Star.

Favorite vegetable to grow: tomatoes

Favorite plant(s) to grow: medicinal herbs, and “weeds”

Favorite place to eat: outside

sarah dasher

Sarah Dasher

Schools Program Manager

Sarah develops and implements the Wylde Center's education and community outreach program in Atlanta. An Atlanta native, she is a fiend for peaches and tomatoes but is still learning to love okra. In 2014 she was lucky enough to be part of the first cohort of FoodCorps service members in Georgia. During this time, she discovered that she loves teaching children about the magic of growing food, which she has gotten to continue doing since joining the Wylde Center in 2016. During the week, you will find her teaching in a school garden or leading after school clubs and tending the vegetable garden at the Edgewood Community Learning Garden. In her spare time, if she isn't hiking, camping, or practicing yoga, then she's probably curled up on the couch with a book and her sweet pup.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Black cherry tomatoes
  • Favorite plant to grow: My jade plant and all the little jade babies it makes.
  • Favorite place to eat: Taqueria del Sol
Jillian Eugene

Jillian Eugene


Jillian grew up in Atlanta attending the Waldorf School during her formative years and later attended Eckerd College and majored in Anthropology and Spanish. While in college, she studied abroad for a year in Spain, did medical anthropology research in Mexico, and gained initial experience teaching gardening lessons to elementary school students with the Edible Peace Patch Project. After graduating, she taught English in a small, beautiful town in Thailand to 2nd-6th grade for a year and a half. She later returned home to become a FoodCorps Service Member at Wylde Center, teaching gardening, nutrition and cooking classes at two Atlanta Public Schools. She is happy to continue as an educator with Wylde Center! When not working, she enjoys traveling, swimming reading, painting and spending time outdoors.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Tomatoes & radishes
  • Favorite plant to grow: Basil & chocolate mint
  • Favorite place to eat: Madras Mantra & Taqueria del Sol
Thom Flynn

Thomas Flynn


Thom joined the Wylde crew in April 2018! He grew up into Chicago (and loves their pizza), but has since been bouncing around the United States working seasonal jobs. Most of his time has been spent in the woods of New England teaching at a residential environmental education company. However, during the summers, Thom has worked on farms and lead conservation trail crews in Connecticut, Illinois, and Oregon. While new to Atlanta, he is stoked to be able to combine his love for education and farming at the Wylde center; running around with kids and vegetables is his passion! In his free time, he enjoys kayaking, running, woodcarving, journaling, traveling, and hanging out with chickens.

  • Certifications: National EMT. CPR.
  • Favorite Vegetable to grow: Beets
  • Favorite plant to grow: Beef Steak Tomatoes
  • Favorite place to eat: Flying Biscuit (or anywhere with real Maple Syrup)

Sara Hempen

Manager of Public Programs

Sara grew up in the Atlanta-area and studied at the University of Georgia where she earned a dual degree in history and education. Since graduating from college, Sara has worked for non-profit organizations including Boy Scouts of America, CASA, Children's Museum of Atlanta, and Coastal Heritage Society where she has gained experience in many areas such as program development, special events coordination, education, and project management. In late 2019, Sara relocated back home to the Atlanta area from Savannah, GA with her husband and cat, Bubba. She is thrilled to be living in such a tight-knit community and working with the wonderful team at Wylde Center.


Tamara Jones

Hawk Hollow Site Coordinator

Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tamara Jones joined the Wylde Center as the new site coordinator for Hawk Hollow in June 2015. She brings her experience as site manager of the Decatur High School community garden and her work with the DHS culinary arts department. She completed the Dekalb County Master Gardener program in 2010 and has put in many volunteer hours gardening. She is excited to be working at the Wylde Center because she loves working in gardens, especially when it involves working with people of all ages. She is also looking forward to learning about planting Georgia’s native plants at Hawk Hollow.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Basil, tomato, okra!
  • Favorite plant to grow: Fig
  • Favorite place to eat: My house using produce from my garden
blair keenan

Blair Keenan

Foundation Relations Director

A Georgia native, Blair grew up in Gwinnett County and later attended Florida State University, majoring in Communication and English. Prior to joining the Wylde Center staff in January of 2016, her most recent work was with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where she spent 8 years directing and developing national fundraising campaigns, raising millions of dollars to aid in the fight against blood cancer. Having lived in Los Angeles and Seattle, she is thrilled to call Oakhurst home and be part of the Wylde Center, an organization that speaks to her interests in urban greenspaces, gardening, conservation, and local movement. Blair is passionate about passionate people, and thrives on rallying communities and individuals around a common goal. When not at the Wylde Center, you can find Blair outside with her husband and three children, enjoying their backyard garden, hiking around in North Georgia, or just exploring the neighborhood.

nichole lupo

Nichole Lupo

Farm to School Manager

An educator and musician, Nichole Lupo grew up gardening with her dad in Lexington, South Carolina. She got her first job in a restaurant and her love of good food was born. Searching for a way to combine her love of growing and eating fresh food with her desire to continue teaching children, Nichole began working with metro Atlanta’s Farm to School movement in 2007. She has spent the years since writing and implementing garden-based whole foods nutrition curricula, leading Farm to School workshops for teachers, instructional coaches and principals, and teaching in classrooms and gardens connecting existing curricula to delicious, garden-fresh food. Nichole has been the farm to school manager at the Wylde Center since November 2012. She enjoys working with her committed colleagues, her talented teachers, and her excited, inquisitive students.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Sweet potatoes
  • Favorite plant to grow: Herbs
  • Favorite place to eat: My kitchen table—my husband is a handsome, gifted chef!

Stephanie Van Parys

Executive Director

Stephanie Van Parys spent 8 years of her youth living in Germany, where she spent many hours roaming the pastoral landscape and food gardens around her grandfather’s house. When it came time to choose a field of study, the gardening trait that runs throughout her family could not be denied and she studied horticulture at the University of Georgia. Joining the Wylde staff in 2005 as the executive director, Stephanie is just as committed as she was on her first day to creating spaces for the community to discover the wonders of nature and teaching everyone how to grow their own food. Never one to keep her nails dirt-free, you will find Stephanie in her own garden each weekend.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Eggplant
  • Favorite plant to grow: Pink Coneflower
  • Favorite place to eat: I have to choose?!

Cardoon the Cat

Director of Paw-perations


Allison Ericson

Education Director

Allison grew up in Kennesaw and attended Georgia Tech where she majored in biology. Upon graduating she taught high school science for three years before going on to work at the Chattahoochee Nature Center as the education manager. After spending 10 years in Connecticut, working at a nature center as the education manager, camp director, and waterfront canoeing director, Allison returned to Atlanta, joining the Wylde Center in 2015. She loves being a part of the Wylde Center because she gets to work with local community groups and schools. At home, she stays busy with her two children and loves camping and being on the water.

  • Favorite vegetable to grow: Tomatoes
  • Favorite plant to grow: Pitcher plant
  • Favorite place to eat: Mexican

Board of Directors

Nicole Fehrenbach, Chair, CDC

Adele Gipson, Treasurer, Consolidated Planning Corp.

Jenna Mobley, Secretary, Atlanta Public Schools

James Cobb, Caplan Cobb LLP

Caitlin Greene, Peach House Farm

Rick Kern, MixIt Marketing

Beth Krebs, Management Consultant

Brandon Tai, Honey Next Door

John Threadgill, RDO / Auburn University

Etosha Thurman, SAP America

Linda Sheffield, Retired

Tonya Toland,  Zuora