Meet the LIFE Board


 (founding member; pictured far right) Licensed Massage Practitioner since 1983 to present, 30 year co-owner of Cascade Health Center in Bellingham, Washington.

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 the BSF 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.


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.


Diane Harper

Treasurer, (joined board in 2014)

I found Lummi Island in 1983, fell in love with it, and moved here. After 11 years of commuting to Bellingham, I rented out my house and worked in Seattle, returning to the island in 2007. Keeping the ‘small town’ feeling of mixed ages and lifestyles is my dearest wish. To that end, I’ve coordinated the recent Island Library expansion project and was a member of the original Ferry Task Force. My professional experience is in planning, program management, and data analysis – all skills I enjoy using. Learning about the International Baccalaureate program, and the potential for beginning the journey in the elementary years has made me want to support the program however I can. I strongly believe Beach School is central to the well-being of the community I love.


Erna Gregory

Co-Chair, (joined Board in 2011) M.S. in Special Ed & General Ed.

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.

Emma Herlinger

(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 intergenerational 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. 



Justin Dickey

Secretary, (joined Board in 2017) Bio coming soon!


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Co-Chair, (joined Board in 2016 as Media Coordinator)

I first stumbled upon Lummi Island on a sunny Sunday drive in May 2004. I instantly fell in love with this special place, so I bought a house and moved here two months later. When I had my son Jonah in 2007, I returned to Bellingham and rented out my island house. I wanted Jonah to experience island living and the unique benefits of attending Beach School, so we returned in August 2013 for Jonah's kindergarten year. As a small family of two, Jonah and I enjoy being part of the island’s extended, yet familial, community. Island living has taught me the beauty of seeking quality over quantity, and to live a life of intention. LIFE embodies both of these concepts with its quality, focused programs, and I'm happy to further its efforts on behalf of our island children. Hopefully, these young beneficiaries represent our future community leaders, home owners, and keepers of island culture – so I see this as a smart investment with a very long and profitable return. I have the luxury of telecommuting as an HR Specialist overseeing AOL’s/Huffington Post’s global contingent workforce program, a position I’ve held since 2007. I also maintain a small piano studio, teaching our island kids the immense joy that music brings to our lives. In my spare time, you’ll find me knitting, writing, cooking, composing music, gardening, or enjoying the outdoors.