Faculty, Staff & Trustees

Faculty & StaffTrustees

Academy Faculty and Staff

Marco Almeida - Science

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.

Nora Bates Zale - Associate Head of School for Community; Health & Photography

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 giant moose of a dog (Beignet) and his reluctant feline partner in crime (Timecat), where she enjoys romps in the woods and tending vegetable and flower gardens.

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Aethena Enzer-Mahler - Psychological Consultant

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!

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Dr. Kara Fagan - Humanities

Kara Fagan grew up in Arlington, Virginia, but has spent the last fifteen years in New England and the Midwest. She attended Colby College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English and American studies. After college, Kara worked at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, where she taught English and humanities and coached Varsity Field Hockey and Softball. She then moved to Iowa City where she earned a Masters and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She has been at The Academy since 2016 and is a beloved and highly respected member of the Charlemont community. Kara enjoys playing sports, watching classic movies, and attending music concerts.

Elizabeth Falco - Humanities
Elizabeth Bergman Falco grew up in Provincetown, MA— the outermost town on Cape Cod. She fell in love with the Pioneer Valley during her time as a boarding student at the Williston Northampton School.  After 8 years spent living on Nantucket Island, in the greater Boston area, northeast Ohio, and Colorado, she returned to Western Massachusetts— and couldn’t be happier. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with a minor in history, from the University of Denver, and a Master of Education in Secondary English Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Prior to joining the faculty at The Academy, Liz worked as a substitute teacher for Boston Public Schools, and completed an intensive year-long teaching practicum at Greenfield High School.  She lives in Greenfield with her husband, Tony, and enjoys hiking throughout New England, running, reading poetry, and listening to classic rock LPs.


Neale Gay - Associate Head of School for Academics; College Counselor; Humanities

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.

Andrae Green
Andrae Green - Art

Andrae Green was born in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of four he attended the St. Cecilia Preparatory School, then later was accepted as a student of Calabar High School. Then he went to the Edna Manley School for the Visual and Performing Arts, where he obtained a Diploma in Painting and was awarded the prize of Most Promising Student. Two years later he was given a grant by the Chase Fund of Jamaica to attend the New York Academy of Art where he received a Master of Fine Arts in 2008. In 2011, he was awarded a residency at the CAC at Woodside in Troy, New York. Andrae Green’s paintings have been shown both locally (in Jamaica) and internationally. In 2012 he was one of two artists chosen to represent Jamaica in the 5th staging of the Beijing Biennale 2012. 2013 was a phenomenal year for Andrae Green, in that he had his first solo show at the UMass Student Art Gallery, and was also selected as a part of the American delegation at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France.

Scott Hoffman - Music Director

Born into a family of musicians with deep roots in Western Massachusetts, Scott Hoffman grew up surrounded by music and instruments. He began playing the drums as a young child, took up the guitar as a teenager, and later immersed himself in music production and recording.

In his 20s, Scott was signed to Dis-joint Records and moved to San Francisco, where he produced hip-hop and dance music. He later returned to Western Mass and set up a studio in Shelburne Falls. There he worked with musicians from all over New England recording and producing a wide range of styles from traditional folk and country to hip-hop, electronic, and rock. For the past 10 years he has played guitar in the Boston-based indie band Hands and Knees.

Scott first became involved with The Academy in 2008 when he recorded the school’s bluegrass group, The Academy Freightshakers. He has taught in the Music Department since 2010, working with classes including Junior Bluegrass, American Roots, and Off the Grid.

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Andrea Kelleher - Bookkeeper

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.

Sabine Mauri
Sabine Mauri - French, International Student Coordinator

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 - Math and Science

Will is the proud father of Owen (pictured here) and Dorothy, and lives in Greenfield, MA. He grew up in rural New Hampshire and attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. He has since traveled in Spain, Nicaragua, and Argentina, and has taught many vibrant classes in high school science and math for seven years at Buxton School in Williamstown. He loves playing and coaching Ultimate Frisbee, farming and gardening, cooking, and board games. His passion for teaching has led him to The Academy at Charlemont, where brings his enthusiasm and love of learning to the classroom and beyond.

Jen Rizzi
Jen Mitchell - Office Manager

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.

Kimberly Overtree - Mathematics

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.

Stephanie Powers - Assistant to the Director of Admissions

Stephanie Powers (aka Steph) is a Massachusetts native who moved to Vermont over twenty years ago. She loves the quiet and calm of Vermont but misses take-out. Stephanie lives with her two sons; both are students at The Academy at Charlemont, and her big-boned cat Schmoody, whose role is more decorative than functional.  She has most recently worked at Wings Community Programs in southern Vermont where she was involved with fundraising, community outreach, event coordination, graphic design and programs for youth.  She has an Associate’s Degree in Communications, is working toward a degree in Human Services and considers herself a lifelong student. In her free time, she enjoys jewelry making and splashing around in her kayak.

John Schatz - Associate Head of School for Operations; Athletic Director; Math & Science

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.

Martha Tirk - Director of Admissions and Advancement

Martha Tirk grew up in Greenfield and graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in International Politics.  After 20 years of living and working overseas (!) on Nantucket Island she and her husband Ted moved to Ashfield with their two sons, two cats, and two dogs.  Before “coming back” to western Massachusetts she was an active board member and fund raising volunteer for several island nonprofits, served as president of the Friends of Nantucket Public Schools, and worked in development for the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.  The Tirks came to The Academy in the fall of 2001 and while Nathan graduated in 2007, Martha did not.  As Director of Admissions and Advancement, she looks for opportunities to share her affection for The Academy and her respect for the people who make it a vital and important option in a rich educational landscape.  As a parent, a volunteer, a trustee and a staff member (since 2010) at The Academy, she feels energized and honored every day to work in a purposeful community with an extraordinary group of colleagues and families.

Cathy Valdez
Cathy Valdez - Upper Levels of Spanish and French

Catherine Valdez was born and raised in Colorado, but now lives in Shelburne Falls. She completed a B.A. in both French and Spanish, was awarded a graduate Rotary Fellowship and chose to study translation at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She completed a M.A. in French at Middlebury College in VT and pursued doctoral studies there as well, ending ABD.

She started her career as an intern at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School then moved on to other experiential schools such as The Stowe School in VT, the White Mountain School in NH, then moved to day schools in Raleigh, NC, and Baltimore, MD. Later, she taught both French and Spanish at Loyola University in Baltimore for 7 years. Believing that travel is one of the best ways to learn, she has guided many student trips to France, Spain, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Québec and has traveled with her family across the country and abroad.

The intimate life of a small, independent school in New England called to her and she is happy to have found a place at The Academy teaching what she loves: the literature and cultures of the Hispanic world.

Bob White
Bob White - Plant Manager

As The Academy’s Physical Plant Manager, Bob is responsible for the upkeep and appearance of the buildings and grounds. Bob was born and raised in Greenfield and graduated in 1984 from Unity College with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science.  Since then he has been pursuing “a degree in the trades (jack of all),” in his own words.  He spent seven years in the graphic arts and seven years in a machine shop. From there he leapfrogged to landscaping, installing gardens and planting trees before spending six years on a highway crew, plowing snow and maintaining roadways. The last 3 years were as Superintendent. When the political aspect of this position became overwhelming, he began to look for a job where his many skills and interest in puttering could be put to good use.  Happily, he found The Academy which he says is “a wonderful place, full of wonderful people, doing wonderful things for kids.”

Donald Young
Donald Young - Latin
Donald Young grew up in the vicinities of Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, DC, Columbus, Ohio and Coventry, UK.  He attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, where he studied Latin, Greek, Philosophy, and History, and earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts.  He earned his Master of Arts in Teaching in Latin and Classical Humanities from UMass Amherst. In addition to his academic interests, he is an Eagle Scout and has played percussion in a variety of ensembles. Donald also enjoys long walks in the woods, talking politics or philosophy, poring over maps, and listening to music.



Paul Catanzaro, P21, 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.

Sophia Corwin ’19, Student Representative, Northampton, MA

Sean Dacus ’88, Conway, MA


Sean Dacus grew up in Western Massachusetts, graduating from UMass Amherst in 1993. After a variety of jobs, including bartender, cowboy, and EMT ski patroller, he attended the University of New England Medical School, receiving his MD in 2005. He is a family physician in  South Deerfield, and lives in Conway with his beautiful, talented wife Jessica and two spirited and energetic sons Will and Alden. An avid cyclist, runner and skier, he is ecstatic to have settled back in the area.

Denny Fuller, Treasurer, Charlemont, MA

Denny Fuller

Born and raised in Watertown, New York, Denny moved from good public education to The Williston Northampton School — Williston Academy during the 1950s — followed by Yale (AB in English) and an MBA from Columbia University.  Columbia Business School hired him under a grant from the Bronfman Foundation to collect data and write book-length descriptions of the management of two U. S. businesses for use in policy courses.  This experience led to a career in the corporate and nonprofit sectors and culminated in starting and managing a small business as a conservator.

Probate courts in Greater Hartford, CT appointed Denny to help people who could no longer fend for themselves, typically elderly people with memory difficulties.  He managed living arrangements and health care for 30 to 40 people at one time and a few million of their collective dollars.  Related work continues in small ways with the acceptance of occasional appointments as an executor and/or trustee.  Throughout his career, he has taught occasional undergraduate courses as an adjunct business professor.

Denny and his partner, Dennis Kiernan, built a weekend house in Charlemont in 1989, and attended an open house at The Academy.  They appreciated its values and followed its development.  In 2010, his friend Bill Hoth died in Charlemont, and as executor, Denny worked with The Academy as residual beneficiary.

Denny and Dennis retired from full-time employment in 2001 and began spending winters in Florida and summers in Charlemont.  They continued to work part-time in both locations, Dennis as a photographer (the attached photo of Denny is a prize-winning photo of his).  Dennis died in 2003, and Denny continues the north/south migration.

Denny joined the Finance Committee in 2012 and the Board in 2013.

Tupshin Harper, '90, Guilford, VT

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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.

Shelley Borror Jackson, New York, NY

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Shelley Borror Jackson has been leading schools for 25 years. Her career began as a public school principal in Downeast Maine where she also taught literacy courses for the University of Maine. She served for sixteen years as head of The Bement School, a K-9 junior boarding school in Deerfield, MA. Currently, she heads the International Academy of New York (IANY) in Manhattan. Shelley has been a regular columnist for the International Reading Association, has published a number of articles in a range of professional journals, and currently writes a weekly blog for IANY families. She reads widely, enjoying everything from picture books to professional research. A commitment to creating multi-cultural respect and building diverse communities is what keeps her excited about life in schools. Other joys include time with her large, extended family, which now includes six grandchildren. She loves watching her husband renovate their 1798 colonial home in Winchester, NH, where the Jacksons will eventually live.

Zachary Kolodin ’03, Chair, Brooklyn, NY


Born and raised in Hadley, MA, Zachary Kolodin has an abiding affection for Western Massachusetts despite spending most of the last ten years in New York City. He loves the Academy, and is delighted to serve as Chair.

Zach is a litigation attorney in New York City. He recently completed a federal clerkship with Judge Edward Korman of the Eastern District of New York. Prior to law school, he founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of political participation among young adults, and served as Program Director of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network.

Zach and his wife Hilary live in Brooklyn, NY, with their son Jett and dog Hendrix.

Zach has been a member of the Board since 2014.

Abel McDonnell ’03, New York, NY

Abel McDonnell is an attorney in New York City.  Prior to law school, Abel spent four years as an educator.  He taught middle school English and history in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn through the Teach For America program, and served as Director of Academics at the Abaarso Tech, a boarding high school in Somaliland. A graduate of Vassar College and NYU Law School, Abel lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Lillian. 

He has been a trustee since 2016.

Gretchen Morse-Dobosz, P23, Shelburne, MA

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As a school leader, Gretchen is committed to creating a nurturing and supportive school community that provides authentic and relevant learning experiences which encourage teachers and students to teach and learn with passion.

For over a decade, Gretchen has taught multiple grade levels in both public and private schools. During her first year of teaching she was nominated for and awarded the Sallie Mae Teacher of the Year Award for the state of New Hampshire.  That nomination afforded her the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to work alongside other nominees in developing a handbook for First Year Teachers.

Gretchen is currently the Superintendent/Principal of the Worthington School District.  She loves the community of Worthington and its dedication to local education.  Gretchen lives in Shelburne just down the road from The Academy, and her daughter Tatum is an eighth grader.

Gretchen is thrilled to join The Academy’s Board and looks forward to the years ahead.

Dr. Katherine Osborne  P18,  P20, Northampton, MA



Kathy is the parent of two Academy students.  She earned her BA in Zoology from Miami University (Ohio).   After working for a database marketing firm in Colorado for several years, she moved to New England to pursue her DVM at Tufts University.  She practiced equine medicine in upstate New York, and later shifted to volunteer work in order to spend more time with her children. In addition to horses, her work has included time with a wildlife rehabilitation center in Texas and an animal shelter in Massachusetts.  She has served on the boards of two businesses involved in database marketing.

Kathy lives in Northampton with her husband, Ben, her two sons, and various pets.  You may see her at Academy sporting events with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Kaezli, or out for a hike with her family. She is an active volunteer with Bright Spot Therapy Dogs where she focuses on literacy programs with Elementary School children.

Bo Peabody ’90, Williamstown, MA

Bo Peabody

Bo Peabody is a Venture Partner with Greycroft LLC, based in the New York office.  Bo is also co-founder and Managing General Partner of Village Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm as well as the parent company of LeverPoint, a financial services platform for venture, private equity and real estate funds.

In 1992, Bo founded Tripod, Inc., one of the original social networks. Tripod was sold to Lycos in 1998. Lycos was sold to Spain’s Terra Networks in 2001. In 1998, Bo co-founded Streetmail (now called Everyday Health); in 2000, he co-founded VoodooVox; in 2004, he co-founded HealthGuru Media; and in 2006 he co-founded UplayMe. Peabody also co-owns Mezze, Inc, a hospitality group consisting of two award-winning restaurants.

Bo is an expert in consumer-oriented businesses and has invested in Pump Audio (sold to Getty), DigiSynd (sold to Disney), Babble (sold to Disney), Stylecaster, Quirky, and Tech Media Network. He has been featured in major business and consumer publications, and has received numerous honors.

Bo wrote a book for entrepreneurs called Lucky or Smart? which was published by Random House in January 2005.

A graduate of Williams College, Peabody resides in New York City and is a Trustee of The Academy at Charlemont, where he spent a postgraduate year before entering Williams.

Bo has been a member of the Board since 1998.

Cornelia Reid P01, Leyden, MA

Cornelia Reid

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, Clerk, Northampton, MA

Jennifer Rosner

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, with the exception of the Bard-sponsored Clemente course (of which she teaches the Philosophy unit) at the Care Center in Holyoke, MA. She is author of the memoir, If A Tree Falls: A family’s quest to hear and be heard, and has a novel forthcoming with Flatiron Books (Macmillan). She has written several children’s books, and is editor of an interdisciplinary anthology, The Messy Self.  Her shorter work has appeared in The New York Times, The Forward, Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. Jennifer lives in Northampton with her husband, Bill Corwin, and their two daughters, Sophia and Juliet, both of whom are Academy students.  She has been a trustee since 2017.

Jaka Marie Conklin Saarony ’90

Jaka Saarony

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.


Elizabeth Slowinski ’98, Vice Chair, Shelburne Falls, MA

Elizabeth Slowinski

Elizabeth Slowinski is a Clinical Social Worker on the Mental Health Unit of Baystate Franklin Medical 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

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.


Dr. Rachel Sumner ’04, Ithaca, NY

Rachel’s picture

Rachel graduated from William Smith College in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 2015, as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, she completed her doctorate in developmental psychology at Cornell University. Rachel has conducted research on topics including purpose in life, identity, diversity, and stereotype threat. She is currently a postdoctoral associate at Cornell, collaborating with members of the 4-H system in New York state to conduct research on positive youth development, with a focus on supporting youth as they cultivate a sense of purpose in life. Rachel lives in Ithaca, NY, with her dog Daphne.

Rachel has been a trustee since 2016.

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.

Finance Committee

  • Denny Fuller (Chair)
  • Zach Kolodin
  • Abel McDonnell
  • Jeff Novick*
  • Jaka Saarony
  • Nell Todd
  • Associate Heads of School (John Schatz)

Development Committee

  • Abel McDonnell, ’03 (Chair)
  • Paul Catanzaro, P21
  • Sean Dacus, ’88
  • Tupshin Harper, ’90
  • Cornelia Reid, P01
  • Jennifer Rosner, P19, 22
  • Martha Tirk, P07*
  • Catherine Valdez
  • Associate Heads of School (Nora Bates Zale, ’00)

Governance Committee

  • Elizabeth Slowinski (chair)
  • Rachel Sumner (vice chair)
  • Gretchen Morse-Dubosz
  • Kathy Osborne
  • Peter Stevens
  • Martha Tirk, P07*
  • Associate Heads of School (Neale Gay)