Faculty, Staff & Trustees
Academy Faculty and Staff
Born in Portugal, Marco Almeida grew up in Newark, NJ. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in Physics and Mathematics. He went on to obtain his Master of Science from Boston College in Physics, gaining valuable laboratory and teaching experience. The lure of education was inevitable: Marco went on to teach physics at Longmeadow High School for five years, where he was proud to support students not only academically but in all their endeavors. Marco joined The Academy faculty because he was attracted by the school’s close-knit community and the opportunity to support students’ curiosity about the world around them through authentic scientific inquiry. When not in the classroom, Marco can be found in the kitchen, playing tennis, or with his cats and dog.
Born in Northampton and raised in Williamsburg, Katherine ’16 is an enthusiastic life-long citizen of Western Massachusetts. A loyal and loving alumna of The Academy, Katherine completed her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Education & Child Studies at Smith College where she worked in the Office of Admission and swam competitively. During her time at Smith, she also spent a summer studying abroad in Denmark and another summer interning with the Development Office at the Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst. Katherine spends her free time pursuing a variety of arts and crafts projects, tending to her many house plants, tossing a frisbee around, and teaching herself to cook. She is grateful beyond words to have her first “adult” job be at The Academy; it is nothing short of a dream come true.
Nora Bates Zale ’00 earned a Bachelor of Arts with high honors from Marlboro College in Photography and Art Education, and a Master of Arts from NYU in Art Education, with a focus on using art as a tool for social justice. Nora has taught art and photography at all levels of the K-12 range in locales from New Zealand, to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, to the Museum of Modern Art and all five boroughs of New York City, and finally the hilltowns of western Massachusetts. She takes great joy in facilitating the sorts of encouraging yet challenging arts experiences from which she benefited as an Academy student, as well as working to support students in all aspects of their Academy lives as a Health teacher and Associate Head of School for Community. Nora lives in Conway, MA with her wife Synphany, their son Enzo, and their fur-children (canine Cleome Roux and feline Timecat), where she enjoys romps in the woods and tending vegetable and flower gardens.
Mary Kay comes to the Academy after teaching biology, math, and chemistry at independent schools in New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. She taught biology and math for a trimester at the Academy in 2016 and is looking forward to returning to the Academy this fall. Mary Kay earned a Biology and Environmental Studies degree from Wells College and a Masters in Neurosciences from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2008). She grew up outside of New York City and moved with her family to Western Massachusetts in 1985. She loves sharing her enthusiasm for science and the natural world with students and especially loves to create hands on experiences for students on field trips and in the school lab. She lives in Conway where she enjoys exploring the South River and woods with her two dogs both in and out of the water. She also loves to sea kayak, watch school sports, play games, read, and travel. She has three grown children and five grandchildren.
Aethena Enzer-Mahler ’00 received her Bachelors of Arts from Hampshire College with a focus on Education and Incorporation of Arts into the Classroom. After graduating from Hampshire she worked in early childhood and elementary education supporting the growth and development of young children. Aethena returned to school and received her Masters from Smith College School for Social Work and has been working clinically with children and families for the past 10 years. In her clinical practice Aethena tries to bring a playful yet grounded approach to her therapy and works with ages ranging from five through young adult. Given her background in education, Aethena loves consulting with schools and feels grateful to be able to do so all over the region. She is especially excited to be able to return to the Academy in this role.
Aethena lives in Northampton though loves to travel and is often planning her next trip. She also likes to eat delicious food, make lists for projects she will someday start, and to stay active, especially by taking circus classes!
Neale Gay joined The Academy at Charlemont in the fall of 2012 after spending 9 years teaching English and history at a public high school. He appreciates the rigorous curriculum at The Academy, the risks it demands of students, and the freedom that comes with a solid academic foundation upon which to build. Neale has a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master of Education from UMass. Outside of teaching, counseling, and administrative duties, Neale enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, reading European fiction, and collecting vinyl records.
Karl Helander is a songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from Great Falls, MA. After studying music at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in high school, Karl pursued a degree in studio music and jazz at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and finished his BA in poetry and short fiction at Hampshire College. Though new to running the music department, the 2021-2 school year marks Karl’s fifth year enthusiastically teaching music at The Academy. Karl is the drummer in the long-running Northampton psych-pop band Sun Parade, was a founding member of the band Cousin Moon, and has helmed as producer for artists Jake Klar, Andrew Daly Frank, and Sir Orfeo. Karl currently co-runs a small music studio (with fellow faculty member Maxwell Wareham) called Almost Always Records, where he can be found making music under the moniker Karlo Rueby, among many other projects and collaborations.
Andrea is a Western MA native, who grew up in the hills of Colrain. She graduated from Greenfield Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management in ’06. Andrea married her high school sweetheart Devon and they have a wonderful son Deegan. They live in Buckland with their dog, Luna and their kitty, Willow. She has worked in a variety of offices ranging from a vitamin manufacturer to a construction company to a local stone business. She has now found her way to The Academy, which holds a special place for her because her grandmother-in-law Lucille Joy was a founder and bookkeeper here.
In her spare time Andrea loves to paint, make jewelry, read (especially about vampires), rock hound and hunt and fish with her family. She is also a huge Patriots fan and can usually be heard yelling at the TV during games.
Rafael received a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Comparative Religion from Marlboro College as well as a Master of Fine Art in Combined Media from Hunter College in New York. Rafael grew up in Vermont in a family of educators; while he began pursuing art at an early age, the skills and practices of teaching were also in the air. Rafael joined the Academy in 2021 after five years at Phillips Academy Andover; he also previously taught art in various after-school programs and youth workshops in New York and Vermont. Rafael has made work in a range of mediums, from sculpture to drawing to video. In teaching, he seeks to help students discover new materials and new strategies for making, looking, and thinking. Rafael currently lives in Charlemont with his partner, child, and hound; they are all thrilled to be living among rivers and hills.
Originally from Germany where she earned a Master’s degree in teaching French and English, Sabine has spent the last 20 years teaching both languages in the US. After a 12-year stint at Deerfield Academy teaching and running girls’ dormitories, Sabine has taught French at all levels at The Academy at Charlemont for the past eight years. Sabine’s responsibilities also include leading occasional trips to French-speaking countries, advising the Cultural Exchange Council, and administering the domestic exchange program, The Network of Complementary Schools. Sabine serves as International Student Coordinator at The Academy, taking care of all aspects of the international students’ experience at school and with their host families. Sabine has two cute daughters and a tolerable husband. She travels through the local universe in a vehicle known as “Cosmic Blue.”
Will Miller began teaching high school math and science in 2007 and joined the Academy community in 2015 after a 1-year sabbatical working on a grass-fed dairy farm in Williamstown, MA. His love of teaching stems from his lifelong curiosity about the natural world and from the joy he finds working with other inquisitive learners. His love for the sport of Ultimate has led him to enjoy several years of coaching at multiple levels at the Academy. Hobbies and interests include board game design, 3D printing, gardening, cooking, and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife Madeline, three kids (Owen, Dorothy, and Frederick), dog Clover, and five chickens: Cricket, Crickety, Goldie, Snowflake, and Chicken Chinbeard.
Jen is from Long Island, NY. She attended Ward Melville High School, and when her siblings moved to California to open a restaurant, she followed them and finished at Calabasas High School in Calabasas, CA. She did not meet any Kardashians. Jen attended both Cal State Northridge, and Suffolk County Community College. She also spent a summer studying marine biology at Occidental College, where 90210 was filmed. She did not meet Dylan, Donna, or any of the other Beverly Hills gang. Though a licensed esthetician, she has found her true calling here at The Academy as Office Manager. When not handing out Band-Aids or cough drops, she dreams of helping to organize a faculty talent show in which she could treat the crowd to her air-drumming skills. She has two children, Ella (’22) and Grayson (’18) and 3 stepchildren, Syry, Reed, and Bron. When not at The Academy, she enjoys being at home dancing to ’90s hip hop with her husband Alfie, their two cats, and three adorable dogs.
Holly grew up in Western Mass and has happily returned to the area to raise her family and embrace the Hilltown life. She graduated from Greenfield Community College with a Liberal Arts degree and continued her education at Salem State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications with a focus in Public Relations. After five years of living in New Jersey and working as an event manager, she decided to go back to school for nursing. She moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In 2013, she moved home to the hills of Western Mass and has since been working in an emergency department at a local hospital. She is excited to be back “in school” as The Academy’s school nurse and looks forward to connecting with the community and its students. When she isn’t at work or taking care of her four kids, she enjoys yoga, paddle boarding, hiking the hills, and a wicked good cup of coffee with her husband.
Kimberly came to The Academy as a 16-year teacher, mostly in independent schools. She earned a Mathematics degree from Bryn Mawr College and a Masters in Musical Theater from The Boston Conservatory. Having grown up in Texas, Kimberly moved to the Pioneer Valley in 2005 and as an Academy faculty member, she teaches mathematics and directs our theater program. She has taught math courses ranging from Inquiry-Based Algebra to Advanced Calculus and sees math as a universal language that is accessible to all. She was the Director of Theater Programs at The Ethel Walker School for 11 years, is founder of local theater company, Ghost Light Theater, and is actively involved in local community theater in Northampton where she now calls home.
Robbie joins us from Brattleboro, VT where she co-owned a family property service company with her father. Robbie has also worked as a substitute teacher and coached her daughter’s Jr. Iron Chef team for three years. Robbie is an activist for all animals focusing on breed-selective legislation and working to end breed discrimination. During downtime, she enjoys hiking and kayaking with her lump of love pitbull, Brisket, and never passes up the opportunity to watch old movies with her family.
John grew up in eastern Massachusetts, earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Environmental Studies from Bucknell University, and later earned a Master of Arts in Private School Leadership from Teachers’ College at Columbia University. He has taught math and science at Beaver Country Day School, The Academy at Charlemont, and Four Rivers Public Charter School, and he was a teacher and Head of School at The Island School, a high school semester study abroad program. As an avid runner, biker, and outdoors person, John has coached a range of sports and led cycling, backpacking, and wilderness sea kayaking trips for students.
Lauren Marie Schmidt is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing; The Voodoo Doll Parade, selected for the Main Street Rag Author’s Choice Chapbook Series; and Psalms of The Dining Room, a sequence of poems about her volunteer experience at a soup kitchen in Eugene, Oregon. Her fourth collection, Filthy Labors, chronicles her volunteer teaching experience at a transitional housing program for homeless women in her native New Jersey. A teacher at the secondary and post-secondary levels for nearly twenty years, Schmidt holds two writing-related Master’s Degrees: a Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Schmidt is currently at work on a Young Adult novel in her new home in Shelburne Falls, where she lives with her husband and a feisty Pomeranian.
Hannah Smith ‘06 is excited to return to her alma mater as a Development Assistant and a Creative Writing Studio Block Teacher. Hannah earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Skidmore College and a Master of Social Science with a concentration in Women and Gender from the University of Colorado Denver. She founded and runs the creative writing workshop Write Freely Listen Deeply and believes in unlocking her student’s voices, creative thought, and confidence. Her own business model serendipitously aligns with the Academy’s “Find your voice. Speak your mind” mission. Hannah has lived worldwide from New York City to Argentina, Costa Rica, Australia, and most recently Boulder, Colorado. Throughout her travels, she’s explored many career paths and has always dedicated herself to being in service of others. In her spare time, she teaches and practices yoga, runs 1 mile at a time, and slows down with her husband, Jesse, and her orange cat Janeway.
Caden Adair, '24, Student Representative, Whitingham, VT
Living in Whitingham, Vermont, Caden is an attending senior at the Academy. When he isn’t catching a stray cat on campus or helping in the kitchen, he can usually be found doing some sort of musical theater in both independent troupes and in school. Caden is excited to join the Board of Trustees as the Student Representative and hopes to be a reliable voice for the student body.
Paul Catanzaro, P21, 23, Clerk, Chesterfield, MA
Paul brings his educational experience and passion for The Academy to the Board, along with a parent’s perspective. He is an Associate Professor at UMass Amherst where he teaches courses in the Forestry Ecology and Conservation program. Paul is also the co-director of the Family Forest Research Center, a partnership of the U.S. Forest Service and UMass Amherst. Paul’s research focuses on landowner decision making and forest resiliency. In his role as the State Extension Forester, he reaches out to the many families that own the forests of Massachusetts to help inform their decisions about stewardship of the land. Paul and his wife Amy live in Chesterfield, MA with their two children. Both are active in The Academy Parents Council (APC). They can also be seen (and heard) ringing cowbells at The Academy’s cross country meets.
Bill Corwin, P19, 22, Chair, Leverett, MA
Bill Corwin is the founder of Mission Velocity, a consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits accelerate and grow their impact. He has more than 20 years of nonprofit leadership and consulting experience; most recently he was the Vice President of U.S. Programs for Save the Children, responsible for overseeing domestic programming for over 300,000 children annually in the U.S.
Prior to Save the Children, Corwin was President of Clarke Schools, an organization with several locations serving deaf and hard of hearing children. He also has been the executive director of two CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) programs in California and served for 7 years as the Chief Development Officer for National CASA. He has served on several nonprofit boards during the past 20 years.
Bill now advises a wide range of nonprofits on fundraising, strategic planning, and program development. Prior to his nonprofit work, Corwin was an attorney in private practice, the leader of a legal services program for homeless youth, and a Deputy DA with the Santa Clara County (CA) District Attorney’s Office. Corwin received his BA from Brown University and his law degree from Columbia Law School. Both of his children have attended the Academy; Sophia graduated in 2019, and Juliet is in the class of 2022.
Tupshin Harper, '90, Guilford, VT
Tupshin is a Silicon Valley programmer and strategist who has moved to a cabin in the woods in rural Vermont. He’s currently taking time to work on a research project in the area of building complex systems. When not at his computer Tupshin is enjoying the great outdoors, hiking and biking – or from the vantage point of his tractor.
Dave Howe, P21, Greenfield, MA
Dave Howe attended a private school in Worcester, and then went on to Bowdoin College, Boston College, and Temple University to study philosophy. That, of course, led him to work in a family lumber yard for over 12 years. He was the technical support department, as well as purchaser. Dave and his family headed to Buffalo NY for a few years, where he worked for a technology distributor and a large bank. An opportunity to move back to Massachusetts came up, and now he works at Greenfield Savings as the Security Officer, Facilities Manager, as well as some risk management.
Dave enjoys working on building projects, occasionally ruining a nice walk by chasing a small white ball, and taking rides around the back roads of Franklin County with his wife and friends on motorcycles. Dave is an Eagle Scout, a Rotarian, and always trying to learn new things.
Shelley Borror Jackson, Winchester, NH
Shelley Borror Jackson has been an educator for over thirty years, with 25 as head of school. Recently semi-retired from the International Academy of New York in Manhattan, she looks forward to a new chapter in the Pioneer Valley, a place she grew to love while heading the Bement School in Deerfield, MA. She now offers independent school placement counseling to students throughout the world. Shelley holds three degrees in English from Wheaton College (MA), Ohio State University, and University of Maine, and was a Klingenstein Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves spending time with her four children, seven grandchildren, and beloved pets in Winchester, NH.
Hannah Lessels ’14, Buckland, MA
Hannah Lessels, class of 2014, currently works as a public health consultant in the state of New Hampshire. Her subject matter background includes Substance Use Disorders, Equity, HIV and Emergency Preparedness. Over the past few years, Hannah has taken an interest in qualitative data collection/analysis and evaluation. She hopes to bring this evaluation perspective to the Academy Board along with her passions for racial equity and rural development. In her free time, Hannah continues her passion for the arts (which began in the Academy pottery studio, photo lab and art rooms) through textile arts, drawing and painting. She also assists with the Charlemont Forum Committee to offer the residents of Western Massachusetts and beyond the opportunity to explore topics of civic concern aimed at public enlightenment. Hannah received her BS from Amherst College in Art and the History of Art.
Will Pauliding, Greenfield, MA
My name is Will Pauliding. I was born in Maryland and raised in Queens, New York. I attended college at UMAss Amherst and have spent the past nineteen years at The Bement School. I’ve spent the majority of those as a physical education teacher in addition to being a dorm parent and varsity basketball and lacrosse coach. I have been involved with the school’s Diversity Committee and was a member of the recent faculty search committee for the current Head of Lower School. Teaching young people to love activity and movement, as well as helping those learners in my classes to scaffold a journey of lifelong wellness has been the highlight of my career and what energizes me looking forward.
Outside of Bement, the Pioneer Valley has become my home. I live in Greenfield with my wife, who is a secondary educator and our two kids who are five and three years old. Our oldest will be joining the Bement School this fall as a kindergartener and we are beyond excited for this new adventure to begin.
As an active and invested member of our community here in the Pioneer Valley, I am humbled and motivated to contribute all that I can during my time as a trustee of The Academy of Charlemont.
Cornelia Reid P01, Leyden, MA
Cornelia Reid is a retired Classics teacher who taught Latin, Ancient Greek, and related subjects for 40 years in independent schools, including the Dalton School in Manhattan, Kent Place School in Summit, N.J, Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, and finally and most fortunately, The Academy at Charlemont (2001-2012).
She attended the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington D.C., Smith College (A.B., Classics, 1965) and Columbia University (M.A., M.Phil, Greek and Latin, 1973). She lives in Leyden with her husband Wallis, a retired professor of Linguistics and Language Education at Rutgers. She is on the board of Mohawk Trail Concerts and the Robertson Memorial Library in Leyden. Besides Wallis, her family includes three sons, Simon (AaC ’01), Angus and Colin, a cat named Romeo, and, most years, a hive or two of honeybees.
Cornelia served as a trustee from 2000 to 2007; she rejoined the Board in 2012, and has been Chair since 2015.
Jennifer Rosner, P19, P22, Leverett, MA
Jennifer Rosner holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stanford University. After years of college teaching, she has moved into full-time writing. She is the author of two novels, Once We Were Home and The Yellow Bird Sings, and the memoir, If A Tree Falls: A family’s quest to hear and be heard. She has also written several children’s books, including The Mitten String (which tells how mittens came to be attached with string). Jennifer lives in Leverett with her husband, Bill Corwin, and is mom to two fabulous daughters, Sophia and Juliet, both of whom attended The Academy. She has been a trustee since 2017.
Jaka Marie Conklin Saarony ’90
Jaka earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from UMass, Amherst in 1998 where she was also President of Beta Alpha Si. She joined Arthur Andersen in 1998 and worked in the Forensic, Litigation Support and Valuation consulting division.
In 2001, Jaka was hired by PAREXEL International—a $1 billion life-sciences services company with offices in more than 50 countries. While with PAREXEL, her responsibilities included bringing financial reports into compliance, integrating financial data of acquired companies in line with accepted accounting standards (US GAAP), serving as the Controller of Netherland, the Baltic countries and Romania, fulfilling a role as the company’s budgeting and financial controls manager for the HR, Facilities, and Finance functions, and later, managing external Financial Reporting. While at PAREXEL, Jaka was a key leader in the implementation of the company’s Sarbanes Oxley Management (SOX) and Compliance efforts. During her tenure at PAREXEL, Jaka travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia and completed a two-year expatriate assignment in Germany.
Jaka serves as Treasurer of Temple Emanuel pre-school and religious school and as Treasurer of the Mason-Rise elementary school. She is married, has three children and is an active member in her community. Jaka has been on the Board since 2010.
Ryan Schiff, P23, 28, Williamsburg, MA
Ryan Schiff lives in Williamsburg and is the father of three children, two of whom attend the Academy. He is a partner at the Northampton law firm Elkins, Auer, Rudof & Schiff. His law practice focuses on juvenile and criminal defense, especially the representation of adolescents sentenced to life in prison. He previously was a public defender and an associate at a Boston law firm. In addition to the Academy Board of Trustees, he has served as an elected member of the Williamsburg School Committee.
Elizabeth Slowinski ’98, Vice Chair, Shelburne Falls, MA
Elizabeth Slowinski is a Clinical Social Worker at the Austen Riggs Center. Elizabeth is a graduate from the Smith College School for Social Work, and is elated to be working locally in Franklin County. Her undergraduate degree is from Union College where she majored in Classics – a testament to interests cultivated while at The Academy. Elizabeth’s career prior to graduate school focused on international education and volunteer management, as she worked for a Swedish non-profit, allowing for extensive international travel and insight into education in other cultures.
Elizabeth has been a member of the Board since 2013.
Peter Stevens, Shelburne, MA
Peter Stevens has enjoyed a long history with independent schools. A graduate of Loomis School (now Loomis Chaffee) in Connecticut, he spent a year in England on an English-Speaking Union fellowship before earning his B. A. degree in English with an Art History minor at Williams College. The son of a New England independent school headmaster, Peter taught first at the Millbrook School in Millbrook, New York and then, after earning his M.A. in Education and Linguistics at the University of Chicago, Peter spent 27 months as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. There, Peter taught and administered a rural elementary school teacher training program, and researched and wrote A History of Kanowit District, for use by teachers. Five years of teaching English, coaching and counseling at Loomis Chaffee School followed.
In 1975, Peter, his wife and two small children moved to Lugano, Switzerland, where he became Headmaster of TASIS, the American School in Switzerland. In 1978, he moved to England and took over the Head of School reins at the new TASIS England in Thorpe, Surrey. Returning to the States in 1982, Peter served for eight years as Headmaster at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Ohio and then for seven as Head at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, Oregon. In 1999, Peter returned to the Valley and became Director of Academics at the Academy at Swift River, a therapeutic boarding school in Cummington.
Subsequent years have seen Peter working as an independent and school-based college counselor and as an independent consultant working with prep-school and college-bound students and families. He serves on the boards of two independent schools, and various civic organizations. Peter’s wife Linn, a former psychotherapist, is a well-known local artist in oils and water-colors, with a studio in Shelburne Falls. Two grown children, both independent school graduates, live respectively in England and in Washington, D.C.
Peter has been a trustee since 2009.
Elinor Todd ’93, Washington, DC
Elinor Todd graduated from Carleton College in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a concentration in environmental studies. She served for two years in the Peace Corps in Ghana as a village water, sanitation and health educator and Peace Corps trainer. She then moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for four years in international development, including projects in Macedonia, Pakistan, and the Ukraine, and field studies in Tanzania and numerous Eastern European countries. In 2005 she received a MS with highest distinction in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2005, she has worked at Deloitte Consulting in Washington D.C. in its federal practice, where she is now a Senior Manager. She took a leave of absence from Deloitte for the 2013-14 school year to be Interim Head of School at The Academy. Nell lives in the District of Columbia with her husband Mike and sons Theodore and John. She has been a trustee since 2006.
Donald Young, Faculty Representative