Board of Directors

President: Sonja Johanson
Lifetime Master Gardener

Sonja-14SmallSonja Johanson, Lifetime Master Gardener – Sonja is a graduate of the 2007 Master Gardener class, and has a background in ecology.  She served six years as the Master Gardener Training Class Coordinator, as MMGA Education Coordinator, and as MMGA Volunteer Coordinator. Sonja runs an outdoor classroom/organic garden at the Ralph Wheelock School in Medfield, and is an inveterate seed saver, with bottles of vegetable seeds tucked away in every corner, nook, and cranny of her house.


Vice President: Cindy Edwards
Lifetime Master Gardener


Cindy gardens in Westford where she lives with her husband, Mark, and their four Siamese cats in a cold spot in zone 5. Her older son, Stephen, lives and works nearby, and her younger son, Peter, is in grad school in Vancouver where Cindy has discovered incredibly beautiful trees in sizes we’ve never seen in Massachusetts. Cindy’s “day job”, which gets in the way of all the good stuff/gardening, is in compensation. Always tearing out grass to make room for more plants, Cindy continually tries to find room for one more really cool plant, especially if it’s a peony or hosta.

Treasurer: Robert Halterman
Principal Master Gardener

Bob, is a recently retired restaurant industry executive whom has reinvented himself in the field of horticulture, which has been a life-long passion of his. After becoming a Certified Master Gardener in 2014, Bob spends much of his time honing his horticulture skills through MMGA volunteer gardening and working at a well-known garden center as a Plant Help Desk Specialist and Tree & Shrub Salesperson.  Bob has been married for 39 years, has two adult children and two wonderful grandchildren. When he is not spending time with them, or planting more trees, shrubs and perennials of his own; he enjoys fishing on his bass boat and taking to the slopes skiing – all while appreciating the beauty of those wonderful natural landscapes.

Clerk:  Tracy Firth
Certified Master Gardener

Communications Coordinator:  Yola Cabrillana
Principal Master Gardener

Yola is a graduate of the Master Gardener Training program in the Spring of 2011. Born and raised in the City of Boston; she developed a love of outdoor gardening at a young age while working nights at the City and having days free to play in her garden. Yola developed such an interest in plant texture, placement and design, she attended many classes at The Landscape Institute to feed her need for horticultural knowledge.  Yola’s newest endeavor is creating a woodland garden at her vacation home in Northern New Hampshire.


Education Coordinator:  Kathie Skinner
Certified Master Gardener

Kathie Skinner, class of 1970, Director of the Center for Education Policy & Practice, Massachusetts Teachers Association, 20 Ashburton Place, Boston.

Kathie, is a recently retired education policy researcher and writer, but continues this work in her own small consulting business.  She became a Certified Master Gardener in 2015 and gardens on Martha’s Vineyard focusing on trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials that deer don’t particularly find appealing! Kathie is a tour guide at the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury. She has been married for 30 years and has five fabulous grandkids. She and her husband Phil are avid travelers who love visiting gardens and natural landscapes in other parts of the country and the world. 

Certification Coordinator: Christine Horwath
Principal Master Gardener

christinehorwathbiophotoChristine worked many years in HR and Admin in small and medium sized companies.  After losing her job in the Great Recession, she went Outside, and has not come back in yet!  Christine turned a natural talent into a new career in Horticulture. Christine is from the Class of 2012, and she has achieved Principal MG status.  She loves to mentor students and new MG’s.  Her specialties are Perennials and Pruning. When she goes inside, Christine is watching movies, reading, or, hopefully, traveling.


Outreach Coordinator: Jane Bandini
Principal Master Gardener

Long before Jane was a certified master gardener, she was a certified tree hugger. Residing in a little house in the woods of Lynnfield, vegetable gardening has been lost to the tree canopy. Now the woodland landscape consists of a multitude of trees, shrubs and perennials that threaten to envelope the house. When not saving or planting trees, most summer hours are spent golfing and exploring the back roads of North America on her vintage BMW.


Immediate Past President:  Ruth Shelley
Lifetime Master Gardener


Ruth retired from her high-stress job in high tech and found solace in the garden. Her woodland garden is in Upton and she has learned to share it with lots of wildlife. She gardens largely in full shade and can happily spend a zen-like after noon weeding her moss and perennial beds. In addition to volunteering with the MMGA, she is a regular volunteer at Garden in the Woods in Framingham. When she’s not gardening, she can usually be found in the water or on the road training for her next race or out biking or sea kayaking with her husband.

Download a List of Present and Past Board Members

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