Our Board of Directors
Gina Corpuz is the daughter of Evelyn Williams, Squamish Nation and Anacleto Corpuz, Philippines. Her father was co-founder of the Bainbridge Island 1930s Filipino Growers Association, the Filipino American Community of Bainbridge Island and one of five Filipino farmers who purchased the Filipino Hall and produce station adjacent to what is now known as Strawberry Hill Park. She and her five sisters grew up on a 20-acre raspberry farm on New Brooklyn Road where her father maintained bunkhouses to accommodate his berry pickers from various tribal nations. She holds an Antioch University BA degree in Ethnic Studies and a Masters in Education, Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Multicultural Studies from the University of Washington. Gina is the Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary “Honor Thy Mother: The Untold Story of Aboriginal Women and Their Indipino Children.”
Katy Curtis is a community-centered, creative and equity minded educator. She has extensive experience in community engagement, conflict resolution and educational programming. Katy is a collaborative leader who is excited to inspire inclusive solutions to complex community challenges. Through her educational initiatives, she has managed volunteers, built community support, created learning programming for all ages and backgrounds. Katy has served our community by fostering knowledge and passionately preserving local history. She is Co-Director of the OWWCC Project.
Jonathan Garfunkel, M.A.Ed., has worked across the spectrum of K-12, higher and community-based education for 35 years as an educator, directing learning organizations, producing initiatives, designing field programs, and curating curriculum that turn communities into outdoor classrooms. From 1999-2023, Jonathan founded and directed EduCulture/Global Source Education. From 2003-2020, he was Adjunct Faculty at Antioch University Seattle, where he directed the Leadership in Edible Education Certificate Program and Concentration. He is a recipient of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights Wall of Fame Award, served on the Puget Sound Regional Food Policy Council, and was regional delegate to Terra Madre. Jonathan has been the residential educator, historian, archivist, and program coordinator at Suyematsu Farm since 2007.
Megan Luce is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and AICP-certified environmental planner with extensive experience in grant and proposal writing, as well as with site surveys and assessments of historic and archaeological resources, including resources listed on the local, state, and national levels. She served as co-chair of the Bainbridge Historic Preservation Commission from 2018-2020, and as a Commissioner on the City of Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission from 2008-2014. In 2018, she participated in a community grant-writing effort to seek funding for the Suyematsu pole barn, which was unfortunately unsuccessful due to the level of repairs required. She values collaboration and flexibility, especially when it comes to designing creative solutions for complex projects.
Brian MacWhorter was raised on a small biodynamic farm in Bucks Co, PA. He served his country as a USAF Medic during the Vietnam War, then earned a B.S. in biology and secondary education from University of Oregon. Forty years ago, Brian relocated to Bainbridge Island and has been growing food for our community ever since. Akio Suyematsu became his most cherished farm mentor, earning Akio’s respect as a farmer and good steward of the land, and being invited to farm alongside him on Suyematsu Farm. Brian founded Butler Green Organics, which has a thriving CSA program at Morales Farm, BI Farmer’s Market Stand, and contracts with local restaurants. For eighteen years, he has also managed Middlefield Farm on Wyatt Avenue for Town & Country Markets. Brian has been on BI Farmer’s Market Board for 36 years, and serves as President of the SBFF Guild, member of the Grange, Rural Bainbridge, Kitsap Farm Mentor Program, and farm partner of Educulture. Brian established the Butler Green Farm School SPC on Bainbridge Island to honor his promise to Akio and teach the next generation of young farmers.
Marcia Montgomery has a B.A. in history from Lewis and Clark College and an M.A. in Public History from Washington State University. Since 1996 Marcia has worked as an architectural historian for consulting firms in Washington. She has managed historic preservation projects for compliance with national, state, and local historic preservation regulations and has extensive experience documenting the historical significance of buildings and structures. On Bainbridge Island, Marcia has completed historic property studies including co-authoring the Suyematsu Farm Historic Structures Report and Feasibility Study and the Inventory of Japanese, Filipino and Indipino Farms on Bainbridge Island. She served on the Bainbridge Island Historic Preservation Commission
Vern Nakata is a life-long resident of Bainbridge Island. His first job as a teenager was picking strawberries for Art & Nob Koura. Vern has been employed with Town & Country Markets for forty-five years…embracing “Food People Love.” He was educated by the Bainbridge Island School District, Olympic College, and Seattle University. Vern enjoys volunteerism with the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, local private and public schools, and EduCulture. Vern has strong connections with the Bainbridge Island Community and beyond.
Carol Reitz holds an MBA with an emphasis in finance. She was a management consultant with Weyerhaeuser, focusing on team development, project planning, career development, and human resource recruiting process development. Carol is the current President of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, and is serving as the 2023 Chair of the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction.
Brian Shibayama’s grandparents founded Suyematsu Farm. His other grandparents also emigrated to Bainbridge Island, and both of his parents grew up on the Island. He is the nephew of Akio Suyematsu, and son of Eiko Suyematsu Shibayama, the last living Nisei sibling. Brian graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham with a degree in English. He is owner/manager of real estate rental property in Edmonds, WA.
Betsey Wittick holds a B.S. in Plant Science and Ecology from Rutgers University, and M.S. in Horticulture from Cornell University. She moved to Bainbridge Is in 1984 where she learned about the Japanese American experience while working at Junkoh Harui’s nursery. In 1988, Betsey began growing wine grapes for BI Winery on the historic Suyematsu Farm. She also started her own organic vegetable farm, Laughing Crow Farm. Akio Suyematsu became one of her mentors. Betsey has been involved in numerous efforts to preserve the environment and keep farming viable on the Island, including SBFF Guild, Rural Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Island Grange, BI Farmers Market, Friends of the Farms, Friends of the Ravine, Land Use Transition Advisory Committee and EduCulture. She continues to farm and train the next generation of farmers through a cooperative educational program including WSU and other local farmers. She has lived on the Suyematsu Farmland for over 32 years.