top of page

Board of Directors

Preparing and Planning for a Brighter Future!

Pyeth "Vernel" Cottman


Apostle Pyeth Vernel Cottman serves as the President of the Board of Directors for It Takes a Village to Help Our Children, Inc.  He was born June 16, 1934 in Crisfield, MD where he has been a life-long resident.  Vernel, as he is known by friends and family, grew up with a meager existence, but persevered to carry-on his family barbering business where he served the Crisfield Community since 1950.


Vernel was educated in the Somerset County School Systems and graduated from Carter G. Woodson High School at the age of 18. At the age of 15, he joined the family business and became a barber. Little did he know that he would become the hinge that the future of the 100 year old family barber shop business would swing upon. The thought of failure never entered his mind because he had a special earthly father along with his heavenly father that guided him.


The work experience in the barber shop has been his greatest teacher.  He had to be a dynamic team player who listens, interacts, and negotiates well with people. It taught him administrative and management skills that he demonstrated as he became involved in the community with coalition building, with Shore Up, TEFAP, the Community Relief Program of Crisfield, Men of Progress, It Takes a Village, and the Somerset County Health Department.


Vernel continues to be a positive African American role model for our youth. He provides guidance and direction to our youth through his church, our organization and daily interaction.  Vernel is currently the Co-founder and Co-Pastor of the Blancia Rose Faith & Healing Chapel, along with his wife Lynette.


Elder Charles Albert Bell, Jr.

Vice President

 Elder Charles Albert Bell, Jr. is a Vietnam Infantry Veteran, a minister and retired from A&P/Superfresh Food Market.


“Albert” is the oldest of eight children and understands that life can be challenging at times. He knows that God gives us gifts to share with all men, as every man has need.


Albert is a graduate of the formal Carter G. Woodson High School in Crisfield, MD and a graduate of the Christian World College of Theology in Salisbury, MD. 


“Albert” lives in Fruitland, MD with his wife, Catherine as they continuously witness “The Beauty In God’s Plan” as parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

board-of-director-Elder Charles Albert B

Annette Huddleston


Pearl McCready


I am a graduate of Morgan State University. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Science Education and a Master of Science Degree in Education. I was certified to teach science from 7th through 12 grade.  I taught in Baltimore City for 35 years. I taught Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry and Physics. I supervised a teaching program (CPTP) in my high school for young people interested in teaching. I also was the teacher in charge of Student Government (SGA). I saw young people in each of these organizations receive many awards on the national and state level. I retired from Baltimore City and came home to Crisfield, Md. I taught in Crisfield for five more years. Working with young people is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. I contribute my years of success at it to a quote that I kept in my classroom, ”Students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.    

Pearl McCready Photo.jpg

Elmer Barkley

U.S. Air Force, Ret.

    I was raised in Crisfield and attended school in Somerset County and graduated from Carter G. Woodson High School. I attended Morgan State College in Baltimore Maryland. After Attending Morgan State University, I joined the United States Air Force and retired after 27 years obtaining the rank of SMSgt. My field was in Computer Graphics.  I completed my studies and graduated from the University of Maryland, European Division. After my retirement from the United States Air Force I worked for The Department of the Army in Germany as a graphics Illustrator.


    I am interested in providing opportunities and a safe place for our youth. It Takes a village is the venue in which I can help.


    In addition I try to serve our community by being a member of the Crisfield -Woodson Alumni Association, the American Legion Post 16. Member of the Crisfield Board of Appeals and the Somerset County Ethics Commission.


Marie Billie


Marie Harmon Billie is an attorney and human resources consultant residing in Princess Anne, Maryland. She is the proud mother of three adult sons and one grandson, Mason. She is deeply committed to working in her community. She is a member of Friendship United Methodist Church in Allen and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

mhb headshot 071620.jpg

Tracey Cottman

Supervisor of Student Services, SCPS 

Dr. Donna Long

Director Child and Family Development Center, UMES

Violet Lee

U.S. Army, Ret.

I am a retired United States Army Master Sergeant from Crisfield, MD currently residing in Salisbury, MD.  I have been retired since May 2005.   I am the mother two daughters, Tonja Adams and Kristen Blue and three beautiful grandchildren.  


I am currently a member of First Baptist Church of Salisbury and I am a volunteer in our Soup Kitchen Ministry as the assistant director, member of the Finance Ministry Committee, member of the church choir (Secretary) and church decoration committee.  Also help with voter’s registration


I am May 1981 graduate from the University of Eastern Shore with a BA degree in Sociology and June 1987 graduate of Defense Equal Opportunity Manage Institute with a diploma in EO Management.


  While serving in the military for thirty-one years as a Senior Human Resource Manager I supervised six soldiers and managed over 2,000 personnel records.  After retiring from the military, I worked as a Personnel Data Analysis for Federal Government in Northern Virginia for six years until I completely retired March 2011.


I am a member of the following civic organizations; American Legion, Light of Crisfield Temple #86, The Retired Enlisted Association, Crisfield-Woodson Alumni Association, Inc. (Vice President), Sassafras Homeowners Association (Board Member) and It Takes a Village to Our Children (Board Member).

Dr. Richard Warren

Maryland Teacher of the Year 2018-2019

McCoy Curtis

EFNEP Educator, UMES Extension

Kutresa Lankford-Purnell

Undergraduate Clinical Coord., Rehabilitation Services, UMES

Pastor Elsie Collier

Founder Help Our Children Foundation

bottom of page