Our Team

Helping Students Grow

Garden 31 is made from a team of passionate, professional and dedicated teachers and industry experts. We’re extremely proud to share some of their stories with you, and if you have any questions or remarks - get in touch.


Chris Burroughs


Content Coming

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Ariel Hamburger

Fund Development

Community Health Program Specialist at County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency


Don Love

Board Member

Umoja Counselor at MiraCosta College


Michael Arce

Board Member

Adjunct Sociology Professor - MiraCosta College


Raquel Funches

Board member

Raquel Funches is the Southwestern College’s Restorative Justice Project Specialist and co-advisor for the SWC Rising Scholars student organization. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Master’s degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in restorative justice and higher education in prison. Raquel has been working with currently and formerly incarcerated college students for several years and is inspired by all students she meets. Raquel is passionate about providing support for justice-impacted students to enhance their opportunity to achieve their academic and career goals. She is deeply committed to empowering students, fostering community building, and reducing recidivism through higher education. Raquel has built her career on being of service to others, has a student-first approach, and is a social justice advocate.


Joe Olanoff

Board Member

With a history in food service, beverage sales and a small business owner Joe brings an open mind to solving problems and thriving in a team environment. Passionate about helping people better themselves and willing to do whatever it takes to help us all succeed.


Dr. Carly Offidani-Bertrand

Board Member/Recorder

Assistant Professor of Human Development at California State University, San Marcos


Mikiel Askia Toure

Board Member

I Am We - Character Mastery Program


Bryce Luquet

Neighborhood Farms Leader

“My roots are from New Orleans, but I’ve been transplanted to the beautiful San Diego. The first plant I grew was a sunflower in 2017, and it planted a seed of fascination and wonder in me that has been growing into a new life path. I realized growing plants gives me deep joy, and I’ve joined Garden 31 to help share that joy with the rest of the world. “


Dr. Shannon Hampton Garcia

Board Member

Dr. Shannon Garcia is currently the Lead Learner and Administrator at Kearny Biomedical Science and Technology, a leading biomedical and technology school in San Diego. Shannon is a lifelong learner, educational innovator, leader, and activator. In 2019, she led her school team in a re-branding of their school to Biomedical Science and Technology and in her time as educator, has launched several community partnerships and programs in the service of under served and at-risk students.

Shannon has served in multiple roles, as an advanced placement mathematics teacher, vice principal, principal, educational director of a start up makerspace, and human resource officer, winning multiple awards and recognitions for her leadership from her employer (San Dieguito Super Trooper BTSA Award, 2008), Parent Organizations (Mano y Mano 2011, 2012, 2013, 2019, Vista PTA 2013), non-profit organizations (Natural High, 2013, 2014), and universities (UCSD, High School Honors Statistic Contest Superior Team Performance 2008, 2009, 2010). She earned her doctorate in Education with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership in 2015 and has a key interest in sustainability, innovation, and service to future generations.


Kristine Foster


I am a native San Diegan and graduated from Cal State University of San Marcos. I received my bachelors in business administration with an emphasis in accounting and have been working in the accounting field since 2014. I have always had a love for gardening and helping others. Garden 31 is a wonderful mission to help our communities.


Annette Gomez

Board Member

Annette Gomez has been an avid gardener and flower lover for as long as she can remember.  
She is the owner and creative director of Flowers Annette Gomez, a boutique studio specializing in creating the design and decor for special events. When not creating magic for her clients, you can find her toes in the dirt in her backyard where she has created her own garden sanctuary which provides food for her family and her soul.  She has a passion for inspiring others to find their own gifts and supporting organizations that do the same. She is a board member of Sam's Posse, a nonprofit working to provide inclusive activities and play spaces for children with all abilities.  She volunteers with Healthy Day Partners, a nonprofit working to ease the burden of food insecurity in the greater San Diego area. She is also an active member of the Village Garden Club of La Jolla. Annette can't wait to get her hands dirty, literally and figuratively, in supporting the mission of Garden 31.


Edward Pohlert

Board Member

Dr. Edward Pohlert is a multiethnic 1 st generation immigrant born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1966 from Amsterdam and has lived in Argentina, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and San Diego. Edward graduated from the Los Angeles public school system in 1975. He’s the first in his family to attain college degrees from Los Angeles City College, CSU Los Angeles, and San Diego State University. His advanced doctorate degree in cultural psychology is from Alliant International University. He currently works as the Faculty Director for Retention Services at MiraCosta Community College in Oceanside, CA. In addition to his community college faculty role, Edward is the Association of Colleges for Tutoring and Learning Assistance (ACTLA) Past-President. He is in his 41 st year as a higher education professional spanning eight institutions across the CA Community College and CSU systems.

Dr. Pohlert resides in San Marcos, CA with his spouse Alma Ruiz-Pohlert (Kinder Teacher) and has two adult children, Isiah Guillermo and Ismael Eduardo. Edward practices Tai Chi and enjoys bringing communities together. He’s also produced the “1st Generation College Story: Échale Ganas”, and is currently producing and directing the documentary; “The Fascinating Life Journey of Mr. Siegfried Pohlert – Elder”