Meet the LIFE Board

Tom Phillips

(joined Board in 2012)

We moved to Lummi Island in the late seventies and Dad built a house – just in time for us to start elementary school at Beach School.  Back then the school grounds had no fencing. No special zoning seemed to separate it from anything else around it.  Beach School has been in operation since 1919. I attended Beach School for six years, and played on the rest of the Island that runs up to its lawn.  Every part of this Island then as well as now is a different part of a rounded community; kids, young adults, parents, artisans, farmers, fisherman, builders and retirees.  People of every political stripe and income level all living in the same community.  All accessible for a kid with a bicycle…even accessible for a kid without a bicycle. I spent nine years in Seattle working in motion picture film production, post production and exhibition.  Then I moved back home to Lummi Island for the community I left after graduating high school. Now I work on our ferry boat. Having a school on the Island is crucial; the community and the Island environment are why parents are willing to live with the added personal financial and time burdens of commuting to work off-island.  My commitment to maintaining an on Island school is why I volunteer my time for the Lummi Island Foundation for Education.


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Erna Gregory

Chair (joined Board in 2011),

We moved to Lummi Island in 1968.  My mother worked as Head Teacher at Beach School and remained for 20-plus years.  I attended Beach School, 1st through 6th grade.  After living and working all over the world, I chose to return to Lummi Island to raise a family because of the incredible communal spirit of this place and because of our unique and beautiful school.  I am dedicated to pursuing the highest level of academic achievement for our community’s children and beyond. Currently I serve as librarian at Lummi Nation School and am enrolled at Central Washington University in the Library Media Specialist program. I am also employed by Whatcom County Library Systems. I earned a M.S. in Special Ed & General Ed from Portland State University after attending Western Washington University and receiving a B.S. in Law & Mediation from Fairhaven College.



Emma Herlinger

Secretary & interim Treasurer (joined Board in 2018)

My family moved to Lummi Island from Colorado the summer I turned five. We moved into a house right up the road from Beach School, so I started walking to school by myself in Kindergarten. Every day I would chat with our neighbor at the halfway point of my little trek, who was out each morning like clockwork to “check the mail.” It took me years to realize that his mail wasn’t delivered at 7:45 in the morning; he was checking on me, not his mailbox. This was the quintessence of my childhood on the island. Beach School gifts its students with not only an exemplary education, but also a strong web of inter-generational relationships, a precedent of care for the well-being of others, and respect for the beautiful place we share. As a student, it instilled in me a deep appreciation for community that remained central to my identity even after I moved away to attend university and pursue a career elsewhere. Beyond its doors, I see a world that so desperately needs what Beach School cultivates in its students. I consider it a privilege to support what is truly an unparalleled educational experience here on Lummi Island. 



Lynn Young

(joined Board in 2018)
My husband and I moved the the Pacific Northwest from the East Coast in 1979, and then to Lummi Island in 1992. Lummi Island immediately felt like home, a place we belonged. My son Dave attended Beach School until graduating from Ferndale High School in 2000. I have been an active member of the Congregational Church, have participated in the Lummi Island Artist Tour, as well as the Saturday Market. I have worked for all of the Whatcom County School Districts with special needs children as a Physical Therapy Consultant since 1990. I look forward to participating as a team member of L.I.F.E


Robin Richardson

(joined Board in 2018) Bio coming soon!


Gabel Bredy

(joined Board in 2018)

Gabel Bredy has been a partial resident of Lummi Island for 15 years, much of that time was spent residing in locations around the globe as his parents are American International School Educators. Gabel has lived full time on the island for the past 7 years while attending Western Washington University in order to attain a degree in History and Elementary Education with a minor in Music. Since graduation Gabel has sought more connection with the community in which he lives, including membership on the Lummi Island Fire Department, a position on The Whatcom Chief, and involvement with the LIFE Council. With a history in education, and a current teaching credential, Gabel looks forward to being a proactive voice for the shaping of the future of education on Lummi Island.


Myria Rodeham

(joined Board in 2019)

My family and I moved to Lummi Island in September of 2017.  We came to the Pacific Northwest unsure of where we were going to permanently locate, but immediately fell in love with the island upon our arrival. The land, the close-knit community, the incredible opportunity for our children to learn and thrive at Beach School, and the dedicated parents and community members we met inspired us to purchase a home and become permanent residents. In the time we have lived here I have continued to be inspired by Beach School staff, programs, and parents.  I am honored to serve on the LIFE board as I am committed to the goal of preserving what I see as a truly remarkable and unique learning experience and environment for children. 

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Julie Hunter

Emeritus (founding member, 2009)

I moved to Lummi Island the summer of 1992 to teach at Beach School. After a stint as head teacher, I went back to school for Library Science and served as the librarian at Beach. Most recently, I taught Spanish at Beach from 2016-2018, enjoying the children of some of my original students from the 90s. My two sons are proud Beach School Graduates, 2007 and 2012 respectively. My work with LIFE is a labor of love and a debt of gratitude for all that our Island community has given my family.  Currently I teach at Wade King Elementary as a Library Media Specialist.


Jennifer Bernard

Emeritus (founding member; pictured on left; Justin Dickey, 2016-17 Treasurer pictured on right.)

I initially moved to Lummi Island in 1983.  Several years later we moved back to Bellingham and returned again to Lummi Island in 2005.  We wanted our son to attend this beautiful small island school.  I enjoyed two years as President of the Beach School PTO while my son attended Beach Elementary 3-6th grades.Volunteering for LIFE is my dedication to help keep Beach School alive, well and offering the best educational experience for children on this island as well as keeping the “heart” of this community thriving. I am a licensed Massage Practitioner since 1983 and a 30 year co-owner of Cascade Health Center in Bellingham, Washington.

Emeritus LIFE Board members explained:



In 2017 LIFE created the Emeritus board member title. This is an honorary title conveyed by the board upon (up to) three (3) former members of this institution to recognize exemplary service and in order that the LIFE board never lose the original intent and history of the organization. The Emeritus members are not subject to any attendance policy or counted in determining if a quorum is present, entitled to hold office, or entitled to vote at any board meeting. The Emeritus members receive all board communications and meeting minutes, may attend any meeting and may address the board on any subject. LIFE is so very grateful to Jennifer Bernard and Julie Hunter for their continued guidance.