Board of Directors

Susan KishBoard Chair
I was the executive director for an urban Juvenile Court in Lake County,
Ohio for 16 years and prior to that for 18 years, the supervisor of the
Court’s counseling department. My educational background includes a BA
with majors in English, Sociology and minor in Psychology. My masters is
in Sociology. I am certified by Hazelton Addiction Center as a drug/alcohol
assessment counselor and served as an assessment counselor and
developed recovery family sessions for the Lake County Juvenile Court.
Under the auspices of the Governor of Ohio, I also participated in the Lake
County Family and Children First Council serving as member of Council
and as chair of the Children’s Committee which was tasked with resolving
therapeutic and placement issues for multi-need children.
My husband, Doug, and I moved full time to Brevard 15 years ago.
Both my husband and I owned horses during high school
I decided to start riding again 12 years ago and bought my horse, Copper.
Now I own 3 horses.
I am familiar with therapeutic riding as a friend of mine owned her own
therapeutic riding center and I would send employees and referrals to that
center throughout my career. I have been impressed since moving to
Transylvania County with Free Rein’s dedication to helping clients be the
best they can be through working with horses. As a Board member, I am
committed to Free Rein’s motto of “Making the Impossible Possible”.
Andy BullwinkelVice Chair
While attending Baylor high school, Andy took horseback riding lessons and worked at the barn. There, he participated in several horse events including dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country jumping. He also became involved with the Chattanooga polo club. At first simply by exercising and cooling off the polo horses and eventually participating in several of the weekend practice games.

After graduating from Florida State University, he taught 9 th grade physical science for 4 years at McClay high school in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1988 he was recruited to be the program director at Camp Carolina for boys in Brevard. After that first summer, Andy, his wife, and newborn daughter chose to make Brevard their home. Their son was born the next year in Brevard. Four years later, Andy became the assistant director at Camp Illahee for girls.

After seven years in the summer camp business, Andy took the Resource Coordinator position with the statewide therapeutic foster care placement agency, Omni Visions, Inc., based out of Raleigh. Andy trained, licensed, and placed long term foster children in foster homes located in Western North Carolina.

In 2005, Andy took the science teacher position at Davidson River High School, the local alternative high school in Brevard. While working at DRS, Andy first learned about Free Rein. The middle school students there took lessons at Free Rein and since Andy had his bus driver’s license, he often drove them out to the barn for their lessons. After reading a newspaper article describing Free Rein and the upcoming volunteer orientation and training, Andy became involved. For many years while still teaching school, Andy volunteered as the horse leader for a single student every Wednesday afternoon during the spring and fall sessions. This experience helped Andy realize just how beneficial the Free Rein horses & lessons were to not only each student, but also for giving the family a quiet one-hour break during the lesson time. Andy retired from teaching after eleven years and found he had some free time. Being a morning person, Andy has volunteered to feed the horses Monday thru Friday mornings for several years now. During this time, Brittany, caught him fixing small things around the barn; hose holders, door hinges or latches, motion flood lights. Now Andy enjoys working with Brittany as a handy man for many of the special projects she comes up with. Andy continues to be a substitute horse leader when needed, continues to feed horses and do morning barn chores, and always love hearing Brittany’s chuckle when she says she has another project in mind.

Jim GarrettTreasurer
Jim, a native of Brevard, joined Free Rein 3 years ago as a volunteer. He was amazed at the positive life changing events the students experienced while participating in our programs. After graduating from Wofford College, he spent 30 years with IBM as director of Sales and Marketing and 8 years with The Princeton Review of New York as VP of sales. His wife Toni is also a volunteer and is a PATH certified instructor. They both feel very blessed to be a part of Free Rein, where they see dreams come true.
Porsha SmithProgram Chair
Porsha Smith is a Board Member as well as the Chair of our Programs Committee. A Brevard native, she started with Free Rein as a volunteer in 2004. She is a retired Speech Pathologist who spent the majority of her career working with children who have significant cognitive delays. Currently, Porsha is working on her Active Animal and Therapy certification.
porsha head shot
Carter Heyward Director Emeritus
Carter is a retired seminary professor, Episcopal priest, and feminist liberation theologian and author. She founded Free Rein in 2000 to draw together her love of animals, especially horses, and the work of caring for vulnerable human beings. At one time or another, Carter has worked at Free Rein as volunteer, instructor, horse-trainer, stall-mucker, fund-raiser, Board Chair and Executive Director. She is the author of several books and speaks frequently to groups.
Leslie Cooperman
Leslie is a Family Nurse Practitioner and native of Cleveland, Ohio who discovered her love of horses at summer camp at the age of 8. Since graduating with a Bachelor’s in nursing in 2012, and later a Master’s in nursing in 2022, she has worked with people of all ages in hospitals, in clinics, and in their homes to overcome medical challenges.

In 2022, Leslie, her husband John, her dog Rosie, and her horse Lyric decided to make Brevard their permanent home where they enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and lots of visits with family and friends. She is excited to become part of Free Rein and share her love of horses and healing.”

Connie EdmandsBoard Secretary
As a retired nurse and current business owner, I understand the importance of service to others. I didn’t have to think twice about the opportunity to join Free Rein Board of Directors, knowing that the organization is dedicated to helping people of all ages who have a wide range of challenges. I am an animal advocate, having rescued many dogs over the years with my husband, and currently we have 5 dogs (or I should say they found a home with us and stayed!).
Linda FelderhoffBoard Member
Upon relocating to Brevard, Linda wanted to be a part of Free Rein and has been a volunteer since 2017. She is honored and appreciative of the opportunity to witness the “magical connection” that happens between a student and a horse.
Linda’s retired professional background consists of Compliance Analyst for an E-Rate Program, Office Manager of The Free Clinic of Transylvania County and Business Officer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Nephrology. Linda also enjoys woodworking with her husband, Kevin and hiking with their daughter, granddaughter and dogs.
Tamika Hunter
Tamika Hunter is a fervent advocate for youth and a committed community leader,
passionately dedicated to nurturing growth and fostering positive change. Her
dedication transcends individual programs, focusing on creating synergistic
relationships across various sectors. As the Executive Director of the Brevard
Transylvania Chamber of Commerce, Tamika leads the strategic planning and
implementation of initiatives aimed at bolstering economic development and enhancing the quality of life in the community. Her leadership is enriched by over two decades of experience in both the non-profit and corporate sectors, granting her a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities in community development and youth advocacy.
Tamika brings a unique perspective to her work, inspired by her role as the mother of two remarkable children. Her daughter, Gabrielle, a young African American equestrian, has been riding for the past three years, sparking Tamika’s interest in the transformative
power of inclusive, interactive horse-human experiences. Her son, Dillon, enjoys
engaging in various sports, adding another dimension to her understanding of youth activities and development. These personal experiences deeply inform Tamika’s approach to community engagement, underscoring her commitment to inclusive, enriching programs that cater to diverse interests and needs.
Melodi Horni
Melodi is a retired teacher, former Texas native, and recent empty nester, who moved to the area in June 2023. Melodi has a passion for helping others and has served on the boards of several non-profits. She has a background in education with advanced degrees in education and special education. Her 17 years of classroom experience working with children have proven to be an asset in working with children and adults who come to Free Rein for therapy and volunteer work.
Melodi started volunteering at Free Rein Center in August 2023 and has enjoyed multipleaspects of volunteer opportunities that are available. The first time Melodi worked with Free Rein students and witnessed the magic that happens when they are grooming and riding horses, she was very touched. She knew this was an organization she wanted to fully support.
Melodi has great enthusiasm for working with horses and helping others. Free Rein Center offers incredibly rewarding opportunities for both. Melodi has always had a love for horses. She currently enjoys training in dressage and Hunter/jumper. She also spends a couple of weeks each summer on a working cattle ranch in Montana and has started 4 ranch colts under saddle utilizing natural horsemanship techniques.
She says she is a bi-lingual equestrian-speaking both English and Western. Aside from riding, Melodi loves the company of horses and appreciates opportunities to provide therapy to individual horses at Free Rein Center so they stay in peak condition to do their job. Melodi looks forward to continuing to volunteer as a horse leader, working with the horses, doing barn chores, and serving on the Free Rein Board of Directors.
When she’s not at the barn, Melodi enjoys gardening, bird watching, hiking, reading, attending local music performances, doing yoga and Pilates, volunteering in other ways that serve her community, and spending time with her husband, son, and pets.
John Colflesh
I grew up on a small dairy farm near Delaware, Ohio. I graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Physics then spent eight years in the U.S. Navy as nuclear power trained submarine officer. Much of my time in the Navy was spent in Connecticut, where I lived for forty years.
After the Navy, I attained an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I worked in the nuclear power industry for 36 years at Westinghouse Electric Company in Windsor, CT and Pittsburgh, PA. I had many roles and responsibilities over the years including; project management, marketing, field services management and quality assurance. As part of this work, I traveled all over the U.S., western Europe and parts of Asia.
Also, while in Connecticut: I owned a bicycle shop; served on the board of the local chapter of A Better Chance, in Glastonbury, CT; owned a reining horse (did lots of trail riding); and was a member of the Granby, CT Horse Council.
In 2017, my wife and I both retired from Westinghouse and moved to Brevard. For the first two years here, I did some part time consulting work as an industrial incident investigator and analyst.
I first volunteered for Free Rein as a Horse Leader in 2017 weeks after moving here and have been doing so ever since.