Our Board of Directors
The Hitchcock Center’s Board of Directors is a diverse body of individuals carefully chosen for their varying backgrounds and skills to the work of the Board. They provide sound oversight and governance of the Hitchcock Center through strategic planning, policy development, oversight and management, budgeting and fundraising. We are grateful for their dedicated and committed service as volunteers to our organization and community.
Jaana Cutson, President—read more
Jaana first became acquainted with the Hitchcock Center twenty years ago while doing an internship for her MS degree in Environmental Administration from Antioch University New England. As a Hitchcock intern she become involved and remained the coordinator of the Amherst Spotted Salamander Tunnel Research project until 1999. She also wrote the Guide to the Norwottuck Rail Trail as part of her intern duties. Since 1993, Jaana has worked in the not-for-profit world and for eleven of those years specifically in the environmental arena. Some of the organizations she has worked for include Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) and the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. Jaana has a BA from Hampshire College with a concentration in Anthropology and Botany. Being a part of the Hitchcock Center again and especially being board president for three years has been the highlight of her environmental endeavors.
Annie Leonard, Vice-President—read more
Annie Leonard specializes in facilitative leadership for all aspects of public and independent K–12 schools, specializing in integrated academic-experiential learning models, curricular and pedagogical improvement work, and collaborative adult learning for professional growth. She has served as the Assistant Principal at the American School in London (2010–2014) and the Amherst Regional High School (2005–2010) over the last nine years. Annie and her husband, former Hitchcock Board member Dano Weisbord, and their two children have returned to Amherst after living in London for the last four years. Annie is now Principal of Secondary Education in the Gill-Montague Regional School District and Dano has recently taken the Director of Campus Sustainability position at Smith College. They have been active contributors and supporters of the Hitchcock Center for many years and are largely responsible for the start-up of the Center’s Nature Play afterschool program.
Joe Vreedenburgh, Treasurer—read more
Joe is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), working with Meyers Brothers Kalicka (MBK), the Pioneer Valley’s largest independent public accounting firm. Joe received his BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington. After working in purchasing and accounting roles in private industry, he moved into public accounting. He received his Master of Science in Accounting from UMass-Amherst in 2015, and is currently licensed as a CPA in Massachusetts and Washington state. Joe lives in Amherst with his partner Katie, their two dogs, and two cats. He enjoys hiking, traveling, and reading during his free time.
Kristine Koczajowski, Clerk—read more
Kristine is a certified financial planner and VP of Financial Services for Easthampton Savings Bank. Kristine started with Easthampton Savings Bank in 1995 holding various positions in the Retail Banking area, lastly as an Assistant Branch Manager, before moving to the Wealth Management Division in 2001. She is active in the community with Easthampton Rotary Club and volunteers for Chamber of Commerce events throughout the area. She has been volunteer member of the Hitchcock Center’s Finance Committee this past year. In her free time she enjoys playing with her dog Bailey, gardening and cooking for family and friends.
Danielle Barshak—read more
Danielle Barshak came to Amherst in 1978 to attend Amherst College, and with the exception of several years spent in bicycle travel and attendance at law school, she has resided in the valley ever since. Danielle practiced law for 24 years, including at the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, and most recently at the law firm of Stobierski & Stobierski. Danielle has taken a sabbatical from law to indulge her long-held desire to become a small-scale chicken farmer and spend more time exploring the great outdoors.
Cynthia Brubaker—read more
Cynthia Brubaker, an Amherst resident since 2001, has been Co-President of the Amherst League of Women Voters, on the Board of the Amherst Survival Center and currently is on the Board of the Amherst Town Committee for International Students and Round the World Women. She is a member of The Amherst Club and is also a teacher in an ESL Conversation group at the Jones Library. She has also been on the Board of Amherst Media, and was an adjunct instructor in Sociology and Psychology at Greenfield Community College for 10 years.
Prior to moving to Amherst, Cynthia was Financial Development Director at a Regional Medical Center in Central Florida. She taught at Brevard Community College in a program for women returning to college and the work force. She was the coordinator of a Parent Education program. She has been a consultant to nonprofits in organizational development and the Coordinator for Training at a Regional Medical Center. Over a period of 30 years in Florida, she was active on Boards including United Way of Brevard, Leadership Brevard, American Association of Women, League of Women Voters, Central Florida Commission on the Status of Women, President of the Board for the Florida Center for Children and Youth as well as other social and human services organizations. Cynthia has a BA degree in Criminal Justice from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and an MA in Human Relations for the University of Oklahoma.
She and her husband Jerry lived in Luxembourg for 5 years (1988-1993) where she organized an international women’s network which is still going strong after 25 years. Cynthia is now retired and has a daughter (and her family) in Amherst and a son (and his family) in Florida.
Merle Bruno—read more
Merle Bruno is Professor Emerita of Biology at Hampshire College. She holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. She has a strong interest in science education reform at all levels. Merle currently works as a Senior Real Estate Specialist as part of a realtor team at Sawicki Real Estate in Amherst.
Jaime Davila—read more
Jaime Dávila is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Hampshire College, where he has worked since 1999. He obtained his Ph.D. from the City University of New York in that same year. His main research interest is in the area of genetic optimization of neural networks for human-like tasks, mainly for cooperative, team-based games. He is currently studying ways in which the coding of evolved parameters affect the performance of artificial multi-agent systems under environments with changing conditions. He is also interested in issues of technology and society, such as access to STEM education for underrepresented students, privacy and data collection on the Internet, and the effect of new media and new technology on the economy. His papers have been presented at conferences such as the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, the Congress on Evolutionary Computation, and the International Conference on Neural Information Processing.
Nancy Eddy—read more
Nancy retired as Vice-President for Administration and Finance at Holyoke Community College. Past President of Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers; Director of the National Association of College and University Business Officers; Vice-President for Finance of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges; Former Selectman of Amherst, President of Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Chair of the Governor’s Local Government Advisory Committee; Past member of the Amherst Planning Board and numerous other Town Committees; Former member of Board of Directors, First Massachusetts Bank; published in areas of systems analysis of non-profit systems, college finance and business. She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a M.P.A. from the University of Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Farnsworth—read more
Elizabeth is former Board alum of the Hitchcock Center. She is a Senior Research Ecologist with the New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS), and a biologist, educator, and scientific illustrator. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the botanical journal, Rhodora. She is currently principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded project to develop an on-line guide to the regional flora for teaching botany. She previously coordinated NEWFS planning for the conservation and management of over 100 species of rare plants. She has illustrated the forthcoming Flora of New England for NEWFS and the Natural Communities of New Hampshire with the NH Natural Heritage Bureau, and is currently illustrating and co-writing The Ants of New England (Yale University Press). She is co-author of the Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea and the Peterson Field Guide to the Ferns. She is a member of the graduate faculties of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Rhode Island, a Master Teacher at the Conway School of Landscape Design, and has taught at Smith College and Hampshire College. She formerly served as Ecologist with the Connecticut Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She has conducted scientific research on many ecosystems throughout the world, focusing on restoration, conservation, and climate change. She was awarded a Bullard Research Fellowship by Harvard University in 2005 and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 1999. She has been a scientific consultant to the National Park Service, The Trustees of Reservations, U. S. Forest Service, Massachusetts and Connecticut Natural Heritage Programs, United Nations, and the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. She obtained her Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, M. Sc. from the University of Vermont, and a B.A. with honors in Environmental Studies from Brown University.
Tony Maroulis—read more
Tony is the director of Community Relations at UMass Amherst. From 2008–2014, he was the Executive Director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, a membership organization with over 500 members, and since its launch in 2010, he was also the co-director of the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council. Maroulis started his career in arts administration in the mid-90s, working in various positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before moving to Amherst, MA with his family in 2002. Prior to his work with the Chamber, he had stints with the Emily Dickinson Museum, as project coordinator for the Museums10 partnership, and as co-founder and director of wünderarts, a commercial art gallery for contemporary and conceptual art in Amherst. Maroulis is a 2009 BusinessWest Forty Under 40 winner and an alumnus of Leadership Pioneer Valley’s 2011–12 inaugural class. He serves on the boards of The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Amherst Media, the Friends of the UMass Fine Arts Center, MassCreative and as chair of both the Pelham Cultural Council and the Advisory Board of the University Museum of Contemporary Art in addition to numerous town and regional boards and committees. He has been named a 2014 Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Award winner as the Chamber MVP.
Anne Perkins—read more
Anne was the director of a home ownership program primarily in Franklin County, Massachusetts, until her retirement in 2010. She was a carpenter and contractor/developer specializing in solar and energy efficient construction for over thirty-five years, primarily focusing on affordable homes. Her program received a number of national “green” awards as she brought the homes built by the nonprofit organization to ever higher energy efficiency standards. Her final project was a twenty-home Zero Net Energy Solar Village in Greenfield, a condominium project that included mixed ability and mixed income buyers. These homes achieved LEED Platinum certification. Anne has lived in Amherst since 2004, is active in the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and the Raging Grannies. She is very pleased to be involved with the Hitchcock Center’s Living Building, which takes the “green” building concept to a whole new level.
Michael Schwartz—read more
Michael’s lifelong interest in environmental issues stems from his childhood; his father was a research chemical engineer at the USDA Forest Products Lab, trying to find and promote non-chemical ways of producing paper pulp. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin he joined the International staff of the US National Student Association, where his major tasks were writing and editing a series of Political Background publications on major international issues of the day (South Africa, Angola and Mozambique, the Latin American left). He taught English and History in Uganda with the Peace Corps, after which he served in the 8th Army/UN Headquarters in Seoul, Korea in the Public Information section, which included covering the negotiations over the Pueblo crew in Panmunjom. He holds an EdD from the University of Massachusetts and retired from there as the head of the Undergraduate Advising Office in the School of Education.
Dan Ziomek—read more
Dan is a lifelong resident of Amherst with a love for plants and a passion for birding. As the Nursery Manager at the Hadley Garden Center for 25 years he enjoys teaching people about plants. His interest in birding was nurtured through Hitchcock Center classes with Steve Stanne and he currently hosts a daily radio segment dedicated to teaching the public about the birds in our backyards. Now with two children of his own he appreciates all the programs and classes offered for families. Serving as a member of the Hitchcock Center Board of Directors he feels he is doing his part to support an organization that helped to foster his love for the environment and which will help future generations appreciate the special world we live in.
Harvey Allen, Conservation Commission Liaison
Julie Johnson, Executive Director