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 joins The Academy now with the hopes of becoming a part of its close-knit community and supporting 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 - Dean of Students, 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 the Dean of Students.  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 a vegetable garden.

Dr. Brian Bloomfield - Head of School, Humanities

Dr. Brian Bloomfield is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He has studied at Reed College, Oberlin College, University College, Oxford, and the University of Maryland at College Park. His Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts are in Literature, focusing on poetry of the English Renaissance, and his Doctor of Philosophy is in Educational Leadership and Organizational Studies. Dr. Bloomfield has worked as a teacher and administrator in both independent and charter schools in Maryland, Minnesota, and now Massachusetts. He has studied Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Spanish, plays the guitar and is learning the trumpet, and taught fencing for twelve years.

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Paul Breault - Chief Financial Officer

Paul grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, and has spent his 30-year career working at a diverse range of private schools and colleges including nonprofit, for-profit, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions

Paul’s career began in the business office at Landmark School (MA). He later became Business Manager and Director of Financial Aid at New England School of Photography (MA), followed by a one-year stint as Business Manager at North Bennet Street School (MA), before moving to New Jersey, where he worked at the Hun School of Princeton (NJ). After moving to Connecticut, Paul worked at River Street School (CT) and Willie Ross School for the Deaf (MA).

Paul holds undergraduate degrees in Computer & Information Systems (Asnuntuck Community College) and Business Management (Westfield State University), and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Thinking and Innovative Strategies from Bay Path University.

While completing his MBA, Paul worked as the Database and Web Coordinator at ASSIST, a Connecticut-based non-profit that conducts scholarship competitions in 20+ countries for the opportunity to attend a high school year at a private school in the US, managing the administrative databases and coordinating the organization’s world-wide website and social media presences.

Paul currently lives in Suffield, Connecticut with his wife Terry, and two sons, both of whom currently attend Eastern Connecticut State University.

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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

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!

Charlemont photo
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, 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 is excited to be back in the Pioneer Valley and thrilled to be joining 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 - Academic Dean: Arts and Humanities, College Counseling

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 and counseling, 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.

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 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 he looks forward to bringing 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 comes to The Academy after 16 years of teaching, most of which have been 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 is thrilled to join The Academy faculty to contribute to both the mathematics and theater programs. 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.

Elizabeth Rodriquez Salas
Elizabeth Rodriguez Salas - Spanish

Elizabeth Rodriguez Salas is a Spanish speaker from her native Chile, where she grew up surrounded by a big family. She came to Massachusetts in 1994. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts, with a major in Spanish and Latin American Studies and a Spanish Teacher Certification. She has traveled to many countries in Central and South America, including to Brazil, the remote jungle areas of Suriname, the town of Misiones, Argentina (famous for colonial Jesuit missions), and the majestic Iguazu Falls. She has climbed to the base camps of both Huascaran and Sajama, the highest mountains in Peru and Bolivia, respectively. She visited La Paz and the pre-Incan Tiwanaku ruins. In Chile, she has traveled the length of her country, including San Pedro of Atacama, the central valley and the incredible but true beauty of Patagonia. One of her most memorable adventures included climbing to the base of Aconcagua and the second camp of Ojos del Salado to 19,750 feet, as well as participating as the logistics coordinator in the Viracocha Expedition – an ancient style reed ship that sailed across the Pacific from South America to Easter Island. Elizabeth hosted a trip were she invited five families to experience South America and immerse themselves in the culture by living there for four months. She also guided a small group of her students for two weeks in Chile. She brings her experiences and rich cultural background to inspire Academy students to become lifelong learners of languages.

John Schatz - Academic Dean: Math, Sciences, and Languages. Athletic Director

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 where the plains meet the mountains in Colorado and traces her heritage to the fateful meeting of the Spanish and the native peoples there. Prior to college, she spent a summer with a Flemish-speaking family in Belgium, with whom she continues to correspond, and discovered her love of languages. 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.

She completed a Bachelor of Arts in both French and Spanish and took flying lessons (in French) at the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo). She was awarded a graduate Rotary Fellowship and chose to study translation at the École de Traduction et d’Interprétation at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and, discovering that she did not like translation, decided to teach for a while. In the meantime, during three summers, she completed a M.A. in French at Middlebury College in VT.

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, then spent 11 years as teacher, dorm parent, and administrator at the White Mountain School in NH, where her two children were born. The family moved to Raleigh, NC so the children could have the benefits of independent school education at Ravenscroft. After 5 years, she was hired at St. Paul’s School for Boys in Baltimore, MD, where she was yearbook advisor, as well as teacher. The WMS headmaster visited St. Paul’s to ask Cathy to return to NH. After her son graduated from WMS, she taught both French and Spanish at Loyola College (now University) in Baltimore for 7 years.

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 literatures and cultures of the Francophone and Hispanic worlds!  She returned to her beloved École française at Middlebury College to undertake the demanding DML program (Doctor of Modern Languages) and is happy to report that all course work (in French and Spanish), residencies abroad, teaching requirements, AND exams (written and oral) have been completed and she is now ABD, hoping to write that dissertation SOON! That’s why she’s smiling in front of the Château!

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.



Dr. Brian Bloomfield, Head of School, Northampton, MA


Dr. Brian Bloomfield is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He has studied at Reed College, Oberlin College, University College, Oxford, and the University of Maryland at College Park. His Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts are in Literature, focusing on poetry of the English Renaissance, and his Doctor of Philosophy is in Educational Leadership and Organizational Studies. Dr. Bloomfield has worked as a teacher and administrator in both independent and charter schools in Maryland, Minnesota, and now Massachusetts. He has studied Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Spanish, plays the guitar and is learning the trumpet, and taught fencing for twelve years.

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.

David Epstein ’87, Hartford, CT


David Epstein attended The Academy at Charlemont from 1983 to 1986. He then studied for a year at Simon’s Rock of Bard College. Since that time he has been on an extended “semester off,” founding and growing new businesses. In 2011, The Academy awarded him an honorary diploma.

David has over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience. In 1995 he co-founded JavaNet, one of western Massachusetts’ first internet services. When JavaNet was acquired by RCN in 1998, David was named President of RCN’s Internet Division which he grew to over 500,000 subscribers. In 2003 David founded BroadVoice, a VoIP service provider named as WIRED Editor’s Pick for “Best VoIP Full Phone Service Provider” the following year. Then in 2006, he started FreeConferencePro.com which currently serves over 200,000 conference call users per month.

David has also consulted for select clients, from advising on new ventures to providing growth strategies for established businesses. As part of that work, he conducts rigorous financial and market assessments, leads operational and regulatory due diligence, assesses and deploys technologies, and authors and implements business and strategic plans.

David lives in West Hartford, CT and has two children, Isabella and Gabriel. He has been a trustee since 2003.

Denny Fuller, 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.

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.

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.

Grayson Rizzi ’18, Student Representative, Colrain, MA

Jennifer Rosner, P19, P22, Northampton, 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, 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, Treasurer, Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, Newton Centre, MA

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, and has served as Treasurer since 2015.


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; she has served as Clerk since 2015.

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.

Ben Thompson P09, P12, Clerk, Williamsburg, MA

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson is a clinical social worker, currently providing counseling and performance psychology services to athletes through his private practice in Northampton, Massachusetts.

A graduate of Trinity College, the Smith College School of Social Work, and the Boston Family Therapy Institute, he has worked in a variety of in- and outpatient behavioral health settings for over 30 years, most recently at the Williston Northampton School where he was the Director of Psychological Counseling Services from 2005-2016.  He also developed and directed programs that integrated primary care and mental health/substance abuse services at both Cooley Dickinson Hospital (Northampton) and Baystate Medical Center (Springfield), and was the Director of Behavioral Health in the Massachusetts region for Community Health Plan, an HMO based in New York, for seven years.

Ben lives in Williamsburg and is married to Charlotte Meryman, a writer and editor. They have two children, Madeline and Sawyer, who graduated from The Academy.

Ben served for several years as the Vice President of the Independent School Health Association and is a former board member of the Echo Hill Outdoor School on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

In his spare time, he can usually be found playing sports or endlessly mowing the family lawn.

Ben has served on the Board since 2012.

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

  • Brian Bloomfield
  • Denny Fuller
  • Bruce Lessels P14
  • Jaka Saarony ’90 (Chair)
  • Peter Stevens

Development Committee

  • Brian Bloomfield
  • Sean Dacus ’88
  • Cornelia Reid P01
  • Elizabeth Slowinski ’98
  • Oliver Stebich ’88
  • Benjamin Thompson P09, 12
  • Elinor Todd ’93
  • Jennifer Rosner P19, 22
  • Abel McDonnell ’03 (Chair)

Governance Committee

  • Brian Bloomfield
  • Cornelia Reid P01
  • Peter Stevens (Chair)
  • Rachel Sumner ’04
  • Kathy Osborne
  • Elizabeth Slowinski ’98