A coed boarding and day school for grades 4-9
North Country School main campus

Where most classrooms end, ours begin.

Faculty

Courtney Allen

Bio
Courtney earned her bachelor's in theatre at the University of the South and her master's in educational theatre at New York University. She began teaching theatre during summer camp, then moved to the classroom. Since 2003, Courtney has taught theatre, English, ESL, and social studies in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. She also founded Vital Voices, a non-profit theatre program for at-risk youth in New York City, and has built theatre programs that focus on cross-curricular connections. When not teaching or directing, she enjoys swimming, ice skating, and spending time with her husband Chris and daughters Rosalie, Claire, and Eleanor.

Title(s)
Theatre Teacher, Primary Houseparent


Brianna Bearden

Bio

Bri graduated from Colorado Mesa University in 2018 with a B.S in Biological Sciences. She is passionate about animal care, anatomy, behavior, and diversity. Before joining the North Country School and Camp Treetops community she was an intern at the Odysea Aquarium in Phoenix, Arizona and the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary. There she cared for animals and offered educational programs about preservation. An avid horseback rider, she enjoys equestrian and western. Bri is excited to teach children about animals and offer learning experiences on our farm.

Title(s)
Farm Intern



Josh Briggeman

Bio
Josh graduated from Kenyon College in 2005 with a B.A. in history. He first joined the North Country School faculty in 2008, where Josh taught Level III, IV as well as Level V history. He left NCS in 2012 to return to school and earn his master’s degree in the Art of Teaching. Josh returned to NCS in 2016 and focused his attention on teaching Level V history and computer programming. His wife, Megan, is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Pittsburgh. In his free time, Josh enjoys hiking, Telemark skiing, rock climbing, board games, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Title(s)
History Department Chair, Primary Houseparent



Erica Burns

Bio

Erica grew up on a hobby farm in the Genesee Valley, where her family raised sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, cattle, and horses. As a child, she learned to ride both English and Western, participating in Pony Club, small rodeos, and 4-H. These formative experiences were transformative and have influenced how she has chosen to raise her own children. Erica holds an associate’s from SUNY Cobleskill in equine studies, and a bachelor’s from Franklin Pierce University in business management. While living in Saratoga Springs, Erica rode and groomed polo ponies, and worked on a 300-horse thoroughbred farm. For the past five years, Erica has lived in Keene with her husband and children. At North Country School, she hopes to help develop a healthy, well-rounded herd that will be used for a majority of the year, as well as a program where students can combine the fundamentals of riding with the important details of daily horse care and basic health understanding. She would like our students to have the rewarding experiences associated with riding, but also to learn to care for and be compassionate towards the animals they are learning to maneuver and partner with. For Erica, it's a big picture: health, riding, and a solid relationship with the horse.

Title(s)
Equine Facilities Manager, Barn Manager



Garth Cilley

Bio
Garth returned to NCS as a math teacher in 2013, thirteen years after leaving NCS as a staff-student. He holds a BS in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University with a minor in mathematics. Prior to returning to NCS he was a mechanical engineer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to analyze, size, and design nuclear reactor components for Navy submarines. During his time as a math teacher at NCS, Garth has taught every grade level class offered by the school. As his NCS teachers did for him, Garth is excited to share with students his passions for canoeing, biking, and skiing in the mountains he first came to love as a child.

Title(s)
Math Teacher, Support Houseparent


Noni Eldridge

Bio
Noni has a long association with NCS. Her grandparents, Walter and Leo Clark, founded the School in 1938; her parents, Harry and Betty Eldridge, were co-directors from 1970 to 1980; Noni is an NCS graduate (’78), as is her son Justin (’03) and daughter Sarah ('09). Noni teaches art and horseback riding. Noni enjoys canoeing, skiing, camping, and horseback riding in her free time.

Title(s)
Art Teacher, Support Houseparent, Horseback Riding Instructor


Tess Faller

Bio

Tess Faller comes to the North Country School and Camp Treetops after sixteen seasons of organic farming in New England, the Pacific Northwest, Ireland, and South America. A graduate of College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor, Maine, Tess spent five years managing COA’s 73-acre working and educational farm, Beech Hill Farm. She is passionate about growing food and providing opportunities for farm-based education. In addition to farming, Tess has worked as a middle school teacher and developed and managed school gardens. Tess is an avid outdoor enthusiast with strong family ties in the Adirondacks, and she loves being part of the North Country School and Camp Treetops community.

Title(s)
Garden Manager



Max Goldberg

Bio
Max graduated in 2018 from Washington University in St. Louis where he studied environmental biology and secondary education. Max spent three years assisting in classrooms in the St. Louis public schools. In his first year at NCS, Max played an instrumental role on the Level II team where he taught science and math. Max has an extensive background in wilderness trip leading with middle and high school students. Max enjoys many outdoor activities and has a particular fondness for canoeing.

Title(s)
Level II Math and Science Teacher, Support Houseparent



Sierra Grennan

Bio
Sierra came to NCS in the Fall of 2010, after completing a BFA in Photographic Illustration at Rochester institute of Technology. During her time at RIT, Sierra worked in Circulation at the Wallace Library. Sierra spent six years working as a Camp Counselor for Jericho Recreation Camp in Vermont from 2004 to 2009. She spent five days a week working with elementary and middle school aged children, teaching them how to cook, directing art activities and coaching sports. Sierra Currently spends her Summer photographing with medium format color film, gardening fruits and vegetables in her hugelkultur bed and hiking in the high peaks.

Title(s)
Darkroom and Digital Photography Teacher, Circulation Librarian, Support Houseparent


Meredith Hanson

Bio
Meredith came to NCS in September 2012, after completing her MA in Second Language Studies and teaching ESL at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She has also taught English in Japan and France, the latter on a yearlong Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. Meredith spends her summers at Concordia Language Villages in northern Minnesota; she had directed the Japanese summer youth program and currently works in both the French and Japanese programs, and provides professional development training to staff for all languages. She earned her BA in comparative languages and linguistics (French/Japanese) with a minor in TESOL from Earlham College, where she also worked on their ropes course. Meredith studied visual arts at Interlochen Arts Academy, where she grew up, and loves contra-dancing, making art, and playing the ukulele.

Title(s)
International Student Program Coordinator, ESL Teacher, English Teacher


Joey Izzo

Bio
Joey Izzo was born and raised in Lake Placid, NY. He played music professionally in the area from the age of twelve before receiving his Bachelors in Music Production and Engineering from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. His progressive fusion band Arch Echo has gained international attention and he actively tours both nationally and internationally with the group. When not at NCS he works as a freelance composer, producer and session keyboardist working with artists from all over the world. As a composer his music for television has been featured on NBC, TBS and more. He is married to his wife MC and they both live in Lake Placid.

Title(s)
Music Teacher



Bryan Johansmeyer

Bio
Bryan joins the NCS community after several years building his love and appreciation for boarding school working in admission offices of schools in Massachusetts and Maine. He earned his B.A in Psychology from Stony Brook University while competing as a varsity athlete for the lacrosse program. Following graduation from Stony Brook Bryan coached lacrosse at Haverford College and Amherst College. After leaving the college coaching ranks, Bryan began his boarding school career working in the admissions office of Northfield Mount Hermon School as their Family Liaison Specialist. Most recently he has spent the last two years as an Associate Director of Admission at Gould Academy, where he developed strategies to attract students of great character and ambition to join a community that fosters learning through experience. In addition to his responsibilities in admission, Bryan has proudly served as the Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse coach and dorm parent. He takes great pride in the relationships he develops with students within the school community. Bryan is excited to share his passion for the outdoors and adventure with the students and faculty at NCS. He lives in Mountain House with his wife Danielle, son Sam, and dog Hali.

Title(s)
Dean of Students



Jack Kiernan

Bio
Jack graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from Colby-Sawyer College in 2012. While in the golf business, Jack developed a passion for working with kids, organizing junior clinics and giving private lessons to children. After leaving the golf industry, Jack developed and directed a small, play-based program while getting a teaching certificate at the Upper Valley Educators Institute in Lebanon, NH. Jack is coming to North Country School after two years teaching a multi-age 4-6 grade classroom. In the classroom, Jack takes pride in personalizing content for his students, as well as developing interdisciplinary projects that allow for student voices to be heard to help increase authenticity of the material learned. Jack loves backpacking, skiing, reading, and birding in his free time.

Title(s)
Level II Humanities Teacher, Support Houseparent



Kathi Lally

Bio
Kathi received her B.A. in business management from SUNY Empire State College and spent over a decade channeling her passion for teaching into mentoring, team-building, corporate training, and small business consulting. Since the birth of her son in 2005, she has directed her interests toward education. Kathi is passionate about making learning more accessible for all students and has focused her studies on identifying processing challenges that impact literacy, numeracy, and executive function. Kathi comes to NCS with eight years of independent school administration, teaching, and community building experience, and feels that NCS's location in the Adirondacks offers students natural therapeutic benefits and authentic learning opportunities beyond the classroom. Kathi provides 1:1 support and facilitates small group sessions designed to help struggling learners build core competencies and work more efficiently. She also works in collaboration with faculty to incorporate diverse teaching techniques into their lesson planning. Kathi loves spending time outdoors, crafting, and spending time with friends.

Title(s)
Learning Skills Teacher



Kayla Lodico

Bio
Kayla is a 2018 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she earned her B.S. in chemistry and leadership. She joined the NCS faculty in the fall of 2018 and taught a variety of upper level math courses. Kayla has considerable experience as a wilderness trip leader from her time guiding middle school students on backpacking and climbing trips in Vermont and the Adirondacks for Farm and Wilderness Summer Camps. She also has experience coaching youth basketball and soccer. Kayla enjoys listening to music, cooking, and spending time outside year-round, especially snowboarding in the wintertime. She loves learning and is continually amazed with the synergistic phenomena of the natural world.

Title(s)
Math Teacher, Support Houseparent



Colin Loher

Bio
Colin graduated from Northland College with a double major in biology and outdoor education, as well as a minor in geology, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Science. Colin has spent most of his 20 years in the Adirondacks developing, marketing, and delivering experientially based courses, curriculums and adventures in colleges and universities throughout the park as well as Vermont. Colin has worked for Saint Lawrence University, Paul Smiths College, Plattsburgh State University, North Country Community College, and Middlebury College. Colin likes to spend his free time with his family, reading, playing guitar, mountain biking, SUP boarding, swimming, canoeing, ice and rock climbing. Colin believes that being in nature and engaging in project based outdoor studies/activities creates a launching pad for renewed thinking that infuses energy into our lives in enduring ways.

Title(s)
Level I Science Teacher, Level V Biology Teacher



Becca Miller

Bio
Becca and her husband Elie Rabinowitz came to NCS in 2014 from Cape Cod, where she ran a CSA at an organic farm for three years. The two also helped start a community garden at St. Gregory School Community Garden in Tucson, AZ, and have co-led student travel expeditions, including a camping and canoeing trip in the Florida National Parks. Becca has a BS in media communications from Syracuse University and an MA in higher education from the University of Arizona, where she worked in residential life and admissions for six years. Becca is passionate about growing and cooking food, travel, and the outdoors, and has a life goal of visiting all of the U.S. National Parks. Becca's writing has been featured in Adirondac, the Adirondack Mountain Club magazine, and she is a contributor to both Edible Capital District and Edible Green Mountains magazinesmembers of the local-food focused Edible Communities family of publications.

Title(s)
Edible Schoolyard Instructor, Riding Instructor, Creative Writing Instructor, Freelance Writing and Public Relations



Melissa Orzechowski

Bio
Melissa Orzechowski joined NCS in 2019. She earned bachelor's degrees in English writing, environmental studies and sustainability, and communication studies from Northern Michigan University in 2016. Before moving to the Adirondacks, Melissa farmed and taught middle school environmental education. The climbing, the fresh water, and the farms brought her to this area. Here, people told her she ought to be a part of NCS as it fit her passions: learning, working in the dirt, and adventuring outdoors.

Title(s)
Level IV English Teacher, Support Houseparent



Caroline Hlavacek Perry

Bio
Caroline joined the East End faculty in the fall of 2015. She graduated from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a BA in Western Theology, Art History, and Medieval & Renaissance Studies. She completed her MAT in Middle Level Education through the University of Vermont. Prior to NCS, Caroline worked in a private school in Massachusetts, a parochial school in Lake Placid, and a public school in Vermont. She has taught literacy, cultural studies, and art to students in preschool through 8th grade. Having grown up on campus at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, Caroline loves living and learning in a boarding school environment. She has been coming to Lake Placid seasonally since she was born, and now lives on campus with her husband Justin (NCS '03). Caroline loves spending time on the water with family and friends and also enjoys reading, skiing, traveling, and live music.

Title(s)
4th and 5th Grade English and Social Studies Teacher, Co-primary Houseparent



Elie Rabinowitz

Bio
Elie graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a BA in psychology and in Spanish language, literature, and culture; he has taught Spanish and ESL for grades 6-12 in Arizona and Massachusetts. In 2011 he earned an MA in education from the University of Arizona. He has coached middle and high school sports (baseball, softball, and cross-country) and co-led international and domestic trips for students. He is joined at NCS by his wife Becca Miller and their two dogs Bean and Otter. Elie loves playing outside, whether hiking, biking, backpacking, or trail running, and is also passionate about all things food: growing, preparing, and eating.

Title(s)
Edible Schoolyard Teacher, Spanish Teacher, Riding Staff, Co-Primary Houseparent


Larry Robjent

Bio
Larry graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1996 with a BS in geology and a focus in theater. He enjoys bringing hands-on learning experiences to students in his earth science class. Larry has led trips in Alaska as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and has run programs for Camp Treetops and RocE cottage in the summer months. Larry enjoys creating large sculptures out of reclaimed metals, and with students has produced pieces that are on display on campus as well as Keene, Saranac Lake, Buffalo NY and Washington DC. An avid telemark skier and climber, Larry spends much of his time sharing these passions with his daughter Ella and son Peter.

Title(s)
Science Teacher, Level IV, Industrial Art and Theater Tech Teacher, Co-Primary Houseparent


Ted Sonneborn

Bio
Ted returned to North Country School in 2017 after earning his Master of Education degree at the University of Washington. In his tenure at NCS, Ted has been a primary houseparent, math teacher, logistics coordinator, secondary school placement coordinator, admissions associate, and dean of students. When not working with students in an academic setting, Ted enjoys coaching soccer and working at North Country Camps, where he is an associate director. Ted attended Juniata College, where he earned a BS in elementary education. Ted is passionate about playing and coaching soccer, and enjoys hiking, canoeing, and camping.

Title(s)
Admissions Associate, Secondary School Placement Coordinator, Math Teacher



Dave Steckler

Bio
On July 1, senior teacher, academic dean, and dean of faculty Dave Steckler will begin serving as Interim Director of School. Dave first joined the North Country School community in 2001. He has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a Masters in Ecological Teaching and Learning from Lesley University. Dave has taught science, math, and robotics in addition to houseparenting and advising students. Dave is an enthusiastic skier, rock climber, and hiker who enjoys reading and a variety of artistic pursuits.

Title(s)
Head of School


Rob Tepperberg

Bio
Rob graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville in 2015 with a B.S. in environmental science. He first joined Camp Treetops in 2016, as a camp counselor and outdoor trip leader, and returned to camp in 2018 and 2019, as forest garden manager. Since finishing college, Rob has traveled across the country teaching outdoor education in California, exciting the minds of middle schoolers in local ecology and passion for the outdoors. He also worked for the Bureau of Land Management, via the Chicago Botanical Gardens, doing botany and forestry work throughout Alaska. Rob joined the North Country School staff last year as a paraeducator, supporting math and science classes, and helping in the woodshop and edible schoolyard program. In his free time, Rob enjoys playing guitar, sports of all kinds, hiking, and snowboarding in the winter.

Title(s)
Level III Science Teacher, Woodshop Teacher & Support Houseparent



Isaac Vesery

Bio
Isaac joins the NCS community after several years working in experiential education around the Northeast. Isaac graduated from Brandeis University in 2014, where he studied music, anthropology, and business, and consequently discovered his passion for teaching. Isaac first taught interdisciplinary, project-based learning at a private school in Massachusetts, before venturing further into the world of experiential education. From more traditional middle and high school programs, to classrooms on mountains, in kelp forests, in the woods, and on farms, Isaac has continually developed an appreciation for educational programs that adapt to the varying needs of individuals, communities, and environments. Isaac spends a majority of his free time outdoors, hiking, climbing, biking, and foraging, but is also quite content setting up camp indoors, enjoying a good book or board game. He is extremely excited to share his love for interdisciplinary learning and the outdoors with the NCS community.

Title(s)
Level III English Teacher, Co-Primary Houseparent



Nick Waddington

Bio

[To come]

Title(s)
Farm Intern




Katie Weaver

Bio
Katie is a 1978 alumna of NCS, the daughter of former co-directors Harry and Betty Eldridge, and granddaughter of School founders Walter and Leo Clark. Katie also has a long association with Camp Treetops as a counselor and cook. She is a 1982 graduate of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School and 1984 graduate of National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). She earned her BS from Potsdam State University in 1988 with a major in studio art and minor in biology. She taught at Northwoood for 25 years in the studio art department joined the faculty at North Country School in 2015. Katie loves teaching art and weaving creativity into all aspects of her life. Katie also enjoys horseback riding, winter sports, and spending time with her family.

Title(s)
Studio Art Teacher



Jessica Wegrzyn

Bio
Jess holds a BA from St. Lawrence University and an MEd from the University of New Hampshire. Additionally, Jess holds professional certification in Learning Differences and Neurodiversity with a specialization in executive function support from Landmark College and is working towards certification in Orton-Gillingham and Wilson Reading System. She is a member of the North East Association of Learning Specialists. Jess has served a number of roles at North Country School: as 7th and 9th grade English teacher, as a Primary houseparent, as Weekend Program Co-coordinator, and Program Logistics Coordinator. Since 2017, Jess has been a Learning Skills Coach with the Learning Support Services program. In the fall of 2019, Jess will officially step into the role of Director of the Learning Support Services program. Jess and her husband Larry Robjent have been members of the North Country School community since 2000.

Title(s)
Director of Learning Support Services


Selden West

Bio
Selden first arrived on campus to teach English in the fall of 1983, married Hock (retired Executive Director) on the Lake Hill in 1984, and has held a variety of positions at NCT ever since, including teacher and tutor, librarian, publications editor, Director of Development, barn manager, and primary houseparent. In her life outside NCS, she has been a professional biographer and a part-time farmer. Both her children are graduates of NCS, Jon in 2002, Lucy in 2013. Selden holds a BA from Lesley College, and her passions are history (and sharing that excitement with children), reading, and the natural world.

Title(s)
History Teacher


Katie Woltner

Bio
Katie was raised in the Adirondacks and is thrilled to be part of this beautiful community. In 2019 she graduated from Keene State College with a B.S in Geology and a B.A. in Spanish. At Keene State, Katie held leadership roles in the Environmental Outing Club and the Geology Club where she planned and led several trips throughout the United States and Canada. Katie loves playing in nature whether it’s wandering through the woods or rock climbing. She believes that learning respect for our natural environments and being inspired by them is essential for understanding our place in the world. She also enjoys traveling and is always interested in trying something new.

Title(s)
Science and Math Teaching Fellow