Board of Directors and Staff

Here at Unity Gardens, we are so proud of (and grateful for) our history of having truly amazing, dedicated board members volunteering their time and talents to help us accomplish our mission of improving and strengthening communities across Anne Arundel County through the support of sustainable greening projects.  Our board members bring a variety of personal passions and professional backgrounds to the table, and we invite you to take a few moments to learn more about them below. If you are interested in offering your services as a board member or volunteer, please contact us!

PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD

Donna Usewick is a native Annapolitan, having grown up in the community of Annapolis Roads.  Her mother was on the Garden Club (maybe that’s where she obtained her love of gardening).  After attending Severn School, Lynchburg College and Adelphi University, Donna went on to become a Special Educator in the state of New York.  While there, she attending New York University, where she received a Professional Diploma and permanent certification in Education Administration and Supervision.  She married and came back to Annapolis where she still resides. She has two children, Danny 22 and Jaimie 26 who are both independent and in careers that they are passionate about.  After being a Special Educator for 20 years, she became an interventionist both academic and behavioral. This lead her to become an Assistant Principal for 4 years and she just finished her 5th year as a Principal at Oakwood Elementary in Glen Burnie.  Her school received two grants from Unity Gardens for native plants and lead to what is now a beautiful outdoor classroom of which she is most proud and aligns with her school’s award as a National School of Character.

Pam Hanna is a recently retired teacher who has enjoyed gardening with her students for many years. She became acquainted with Unity Gardens during a project at Oakwood Elementary when students combined STEM learning with language arts by designing and creating a sun dial/clock garden with plants that bloomed at specific times of the day.  She looks forward to continued support for gardeners as she begins training in the Master Gardener program in the fall of 2016. Unity Gardens provides many opportunities for her to learn about native planting through interaction with the community of local gardeners.

A retired lawyer, Sally Iliff was educated at Duke University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Maryland School of Law. She and her husband are longtime Annapolis residents who raised their son and daughter in Annapolis.  After becoming a Master Gardener, Sally’s interest in native plants increased, spurred in part by an interest in attracting more birds, butterflies, insects, and wildlife to her home property and an attempt to control an ongoing assault by invasive plants.  Travel is a strong interest along with a variety of outdoor activities—hiking, kayaking, biking. She and her husband are long time competitive Masters Swimmers who regularly participate in the Chesapeake Bay swim and other open water swims.

Lucy Goszkowski has lived and worked in Annapolis since moving here with her family from the Chicago area in 1985. She is employed as a health inspector at the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, in the Bureau of Environmental Health. She is an avid gardener, and is a member and former president of the Annapolis Horticulture Society. Lucy has volunteered with several local organizations, including the Friends of Quiet Waters Park, Historic London Town, the Hammond-Harwood House, and the Anne Arundel SPCA.

John Rhoderick has a long history of working in the environmental protection field. From on the ground non-point pollution research to administering multi-million dollar conservation and environmental programs for federal, state and local agencies. His work at the Chesapeake Bay Program, Maryland Department of Agriculture and Maryland Department of Environment has focused on building public-private partnerships to implement on the ground water quality improvements.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Joni Sralla Miller is a lifelong environmentalist. She worked previously at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, and currently serves as the co-chair of the Anne Arundel County Master Gardeners Executive Advisory Board. Joni grew up in Houston, Texas, attended Webster University in St. Louis for an undergraduate degree in Political Science, and got her Masters degree at University of Baltimore in Publications Design. She is passionate about backyard habitat and preserving nature in the face of rapid land development, especially in Anne Arundel County. She is a writer, graphic designer, community gardener, and fan of good books, good food, and good wine. She lives in a 1800’s farmhouse with her husband and two children.