Board of Directors
As a 501c3 non-profit organization, The Bay School and Art Speaks Gallery operate under the leadership of a Board of Directors. This group of dedicated, passionate volunteers is instrumental to our continued growth and success and are critical to shaping and implementing our business strategies that align with fulfilling our mission.
Board members serve three-year appointments and can serve two consecutive terms. As youth perspective and involvement is important to our mission, our board also includes the appointment of one high school student who serves a one-year term.
Dr. Michael Swiderski
Chairman of the Board
Michael, a business owner in Mathews for over 17 years, is our current Chairman of the Board. As an entrepreneur and educator, Michael's professional experience is diverse. In addition to authoring many academic publications, he served as a tenured professor and dean at two universities and as an editor of an international academic journal. Currently, he owns and operates Storybound Construction, Inc. across the street from The Bay School in Frenchy's Historic Pool Hall, which he remodeled.
His love of the outdoors is matched with his passion for art and working with wood, beautifying the interior and exterior of historic structures. When he is not remodeling old buildings or rebuilding his 1930s farmhouse, Michael contributes his business acumen and seasoned experience to the realization of our business goals and plans for the future by serving on The Executive, Facility, Strategic Planning, and Compensation Committees.
Vice Chairman of the Board
Marsha, our current Vice Chair, has lived in Mathews with her husband Ashby for over 30 years. A devoted mother of three with a growing crew of grandchildren, she has been a long-time supporter of The Bay School even before joining the Board.
Her first experience with us was shopping in the Art Speaks Gallery and then later taking a class with a friend. She has been hooked ever since and regularly volunteers at and attends our events and takes classes at the school, in addition to fulfilling her board duties. She currently serves on the Executive, Facility, and Compensation Committees.
Marsha is a vocal supporter of The Bay School's diverse class offering and robust program schedule. She is particularly impressed with how The Bay School supports the Mathews community and even during the pandemic kept children of various age groups engaged through the distribution of free Art-to-Go kits.
She sums it all up by saying, "The Bay School has something for everyone, and you won't be disappointed."
Lisa and her husband have been residents and business owners of Mathews for over 20 years, first arriving via the East River and discovering a property for sale where she could keep her sailboat.
With a degree in mathematics and a Master of Science in oceanography, Lisa is passionate about sailing, scuba diving, yoga, and art. After a career as an oceanographer on the high seas, she returned to Mathews with her husband to design their platinum-certified green home as an artistic expression of sustainability. Most recently, she became a certified yoga instructor and hopes to add yoga classes to The Bay School's program lineup.
Lisa believes art is critical for children to develop cognitive, social-emotional, and multisensory skills and first enrolled her sons in classes at the school. She then began taking pottery classes and has become an avid potter. As the daughter of an artist, she has even gotten her mom to take classes here!
With a love of art and design, Lisa enjoys the opportunities of expression offered to the community by The Bay School, which she states, "brings joy and creativity to all who enter." As a board member and current Treasurer, her involvement enables her to give back to the Mathews community in a meaningful and creative way. She currently serves on the Executive, Fundraising, and Membership Committees.
Ray retired to Mathews with his wife Ula Ilnytzky, after a 48-year career as an award-winning photojournalist based in New York City. First with The Associated Press and later Reuters, he covered news and sports events throughout the world, including numerous political conventions, presidential campaigns, Super Bowls and World Series.
While photography has been his lifelong avocation, Ray also is an authority on the American Arts and Crafts Movement, particularly Gustav Stickley, the visionary furniture maker and tastemaker prominent in the early part of the 20th Century. He wrote Stickley's Craftsman Homes (Gibbs-Smith, 2006), and served for 35 years as a trustee of The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, the site of the Stickley home in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Ray supports The Bay School as an important center for the arts on the Middle Peninsula of Virginia through both its support of local artists and its educational outreach to the community. In addition to serving as Secretary, he sits on the Executive, Facility, and Membership Committees.
Amy has been involved with art since childhood. She grew up in Richmond in The Fan District surrounded by art. She attended classes at The Handwork Shop at The Visual Arts Center, day camps at Virginia Commonwealth University, and enrolled in private art classes.
As a mom, Amy wants her children to have the same experience of the arts as she did growing up and notes that The Bay School offers this. Summing it up she says, " Mathews is lucky to have such a thriving artistic community and a place to share it! Being part of the Board, I hope I can help the Bay School Community Arts Center grow and share the same joy!"
As part of her Board responsibilities, Amy serves on the Executive and Fundraising Committees.
Christine is a local artist and estate appraiser. For 35 years, she was a Certified Art and Antique Appraiser and Fine Art Broker, traveling across the United States and serving on various national and international boards and councils. Her appointments include The International Society of Appraisers, The Appraisal Foundation in Washington, DC on the US Appraisal Subcommittee, the Virginia Auctioneers Board, the Historic Richmond Foundation, and as an expert witness for the Appraisal Qualifications Board. Christine has served as co-chair of Historic Richmond's Council Garden Day Tour and was Auction Director and Senior Appraiser at Shields Auction and Motley's Auction's Antique Division for 19 years. In 2007, she started her own Business, Corbin Appraisal Services, Inc. and retired her auction license in 2014.
Retiring in 2023, Christine focuses on painting and creating art, serving the community, and most importantly her family. She is a mother of two, grandmother of five, and happy mother-in-law. In addition to spending more time with family, Christine acts as a board member for The Bay School where she serves on the Membership Committee, volunteers with the Made in Mathews Open Studio Tour, and serves as a Virginia Master Naturalist Volunteer.
Lorraine believes that children are the future of Mathews and dedicates her time to increasing opportunities for local children to thrive. As a board member, she "looks forward to developing new community partnerships with The Bay School in order to expand art opportunities for youth within the county."
Lex expresses his reason for serving on our board saying, "I am glad to be part of The Bay School. As a school administrator, I enjoy connecting with organizations that promote the arts and includes our students. The Bay School is a treasure to our community."
Currently he serves on the Board's Facility and Nominating Committees.
Sherri retired from healthcare after almost 22 years and returned to college to finish her degree. In need of an organization to work with to finalize her last school project, she reached out to The Bay School's Executive Director Pam Doss, who encouraged Sherri to get involved with us and helped her move in a different direction for her project while completing her degree requirements.
Having a natural love of the visual and performing arts, Sherri grew up performing in her school's band and chorus, and was influenced by her father who had a talent for drawing and performed in theatrical productions that she always attended. Even today, his artwork decorates the walls of her home.
An energetic participant and volunteer, Sherri is committed to bringing art in all forms to the local community through her participation on the board. Her board responsibilities include serving on the Executive and Strategic Planning Committees. She describes The Bay School, saying, "This organization reaches deep inside and reels you into the work that they do, the mission and vision they live and the level of commitment they demonstrate to the community is something others should emulate. The Bay School pushes you to be the best version of yourself as a board member to ensure that this organization is here for the community now and forever!"
After relocating to the Mathews area to retire, Marymac wanted to experience the many facets of the visual arts and began taking classes and attending events at The Bay School. During her 40 years of teaching, she was committed to providing her students the best education possible offering many resources and opportunities beyond traditional classroom teaching approaches. As a lifelong learner, she considers The Bay School to be a resource within the community that extends learning opportunities for all.
Currently, she serves on the Fundraising Committee and says, "I've enjoyed bringing a new perspective to this committee and showing how smaller events can be very welcoming and successful."
Sonia and her husband moved to Mathews County over 15 years ago and instantly fell in love with the small town feel and safe environment to raise children. In her opinion, "The Bay School epitomizes this environment, creating a safe environment for our children to allow their imaginations to grow. It gives them the tools and support that they need to let their talents shine. They always make everyone feel comfortable and welcome no matter what skill level you have."
In addition to her and her sons enjoying classes at The Bay School, Sonia considers the outreach programs that we have for children, long-term care facilities, and children with special needs as very important initiatives within the Mathews community. To support these initiatives, Sonia serves on the Fundraising and Nominating Committees and is a Programming Advisor for the school.
Student Board Member
As a mother of two girls and with a lifetime love of music, drama, and art, Ashley is always excited to find local organizations that use their gifts and talents to share and teach others.
She first became involved with The Bay School during the pandemic as the school created simple ways for her to engage her children at home with take-home craft kits. This led her to join the board, saying, " I know that my own children desperately need creative outlets that involve their hands and brainpower aside from screens and technology. With so many options and mediums of art and creativity, they are bound to find endless interests and talents that otherwise are not readily available to them in our fast-paced learning environments. It is our responsibility as a society to revive and inspire skills that are useful and unique, like sewing and sculpting and watercolor, and to foster individuality among all ages. People young and old can start here at The Bay School, and I'm proud to be assisting that movement."