Howard Named State NAACP Branch President of the Year
Last updated 10/16/2019 at 6:03pm
Lake Wales NAACP President Wanda Howard was recognized at a recent state NAACP conference as Branch President of the Year.
Howard became Branch 5109 president in January 2017, the first female to serve in that capacity.
She joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1986, right out of college, and is now a Life Member. She previously served as Youth Council Advisor with emphasis on the ACT-SO and Back-2-School/Stay-in-School programs.
"I was shocked and I was really thrilled because out of, I believe about 57 branches that are active, I was chosen president of the year for the Florida State Conference," Howard said. "I was just thrilled and honored and look forward to doing things with the state. I hope we can put Polk County on the map."
At the state conference Howard also was elected as member at large for the Executive Committee for the Florida NAACP, garnering 154 of the 156 votes cast.
"I just count it all as the work of God that wants me to do this," Howard said.
A native of Lake Wales and 1977 graduate of Lake Wales High School, Howard earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida. She obtained her Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction in Education from National Louis University, Tampa. She is a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Life Member of the University of South Florida Alumni Association, and Life Member of Heart of Florida Girl Scouts Council.
Howard is very active in her church, the Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church of Lake Wales, serving as church clerk and in various other capacities. She is a past member of Polk County Healthy Start Coalition, League of Women Voters of Polk County, and American Association of University Women. She has worked and volunteered in many local schools and was recognized as Volunteer of the Year at Lake Wales Senior High School for the 2011-12 school year.
Her community and civic engagement activities resulted in her recognition by Congressman Darren Soto as a Distinguished Leader in Central Florida for Black History Month with the honor being recorded in the Congressional Records of the 115th Congress, Second Session.
Howard is the youngest of six children from the late Lessie Mae Howard Rivers and the late David Rivers Sr. Howard has two children, Stephen Henry and Shameka Henry Burkes, four grandchildren, Keyonna Henry, Elisha Burkes, Jeriah Henry and Isaiah Burkes, and one great grandchild, Kensley Hinson.