NATURE IS OUR MASTER TEACHER.

Faculty

Courtney Allen

Bio
Courtney earned her bachelor's in theater at the University of the South and her master's in educational theater at New York University. She began teaching theater during summer camp, then moved to the classroom. Since 2003, Courtney has taught theater, English, ESL, and social studies in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. She also founded Vital Voices, a non-profit theater program for at-risk youth in New York City, and has built theatre programs that focus on cross-curricular connections. During her teaching career, she has built theatre programs and created theatre curriculums that focus on cross-curricular connections and social justice. 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, Director of Equity and Inclusion Committee


Lilly Bianchi

Bio

Photo coming soon.

Lilly is a 2020 graduate from St. Lawrence University, where she majored in English and history, and minored in African Studies. At St. Lawrence, she was an enthusiastic member of the women’s rowing team and co-founder of Connecting Laurentians Around Wilderness (CLAW), whose focus is to create a welcoming space for new and beginner outdoor adventurers. She loves creative writing and completed a series of personal essays probing the intersections between place and identity as her senior honors project. Lilly’s love for working with students grew during her three summers leading bicycle trips for middle and high schoolers with Overland. She is excited to incorporate all of her passions at North Country School and live in the most beautiful setting.

Title(s)
Academic Intern



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


Elyssa Connolly

Bio

Photo coming soon.

Elyssa graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2020 with a major in Geology and minors in Religious Studies and Public Health. Her love for the Adirondacks stemmed from weekends at her grandparents’ camp in Bolton Landing, Lake George. Elyssa’s geology degree allowed her to study throughout the Adirondacks, Ottawa, New York City, Iceland, Denmark, and Ireland. Through a grant, she was able to travel to County Clare in Ireland to study the geomorphology of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. She also holds a deep passion for storytelling, playing guitar, photography, and stargazing.

Title(s)
Academic Intern



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, Co-primary Houseparent, Horseback Riding Instructor, Community Work Job Coordinator


Tess Faller

Bio

Tess grew up in rural New Hampshire and fell in love with gardening at a young age. Since her early teenage years, she's worked on organic farms in New England, the Pacific Northwest, and abroad. Her passion for farming has led her to study biodynamic agriculture in Ireland, practice permaculture in Argentina and Chile, and teach students of all ages about organic growing. Before joining the North Country School and Camp Treetops community, Tess spent five years managing College of the Atlantic's Beech Hill Farm, a 73-acre organic production and educational farm in coastal Maine. In between farm seasons, Tess has worked as a middle school teacher and has taught yoga in the Bahamas, Ireland, New York, and Oregon. When she's not out in the garden, she enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, drawing, drinking coffee, and spending time with her cat Huckleberry and her extended family in the Adirondacks.

Title(s)
Garden Manager, Support Houseparent



Max Goldberg

Bio

Max came to NCS in the fall of 2018. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in environmental biology and secondary education. Previously, he spent three years assisting in classrooms in the Clayton, St. Louis Public, and Ferguson-Florissant School districts in St. Louis. Max has taught Grade 6 math and science for the past two years, as well as serving as a primary houseparent. 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)
Math and Science Teacher, Primary 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, Co-primary 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, Japanese 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, Secondary School Placement Coordinator



Hania Lincoln Lenderking

Bio

Photo coming soon.

Originally from Washington, DC, Hania graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in Environmental Policy in May of 2020. She has previous farming experience from a summer internship on an organic farm in mid-coast Maine. Hania is passionate about sustainable food systems and recently completed her undergraduate honors thesis on Maine’s food sovereignty movement and food system resilience. In her free time she enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, reading, listening to podcasts, and munching on veggies straight from the garden. Hania is excited to be joining the NCS community and looks forward to taking advantage of all that the Adirondacks have to offer!

Title(s)
Garden Intern



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)
Grade 9 Biology Teacher



Lauren McGovern

Bio

Lauren joined NCS as the Admissions and Development assistant in 2002, became the School’s counselor in 2007, and moved into the Grade 6 Humanities teaching position in September 2020. She grew up on a small farm in nearby Peru and lives in Wilmington with her family. Lauren has worked in the fields of outdoor education, crisis intervention, and community relations. She holds a BA in communication arts, with a concentration in journalism, from the College of New Rochelle; she earned an MS in community counseling and a certificate of advanced study in school counseling from Plattsburgh State University. She holds both New York State School Counselor and National Counselor certifications. Lauren’s many talents and interests range from creative pursuits like freelance writing, storytelling, jewelry design, and other artistic outlets to personal reflective practices and professional development as an educator.

Title(s)
Grade 5 and 6 English and Social Studies 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)
Staff Writer, Photographer



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)
Grade 8 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)
Grade 4 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 English as a Second Language for grades 6-12 in Arizona and Massachusetts. In 2011 he earned an MA in education from the University of Arizona. Elie 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. Elie loves being outside, whether hiking, paddling, backpacking, or skiing, and is also passionate about all things food: growing, preparing, and eating.

Title(s)
Edible Schoolyard Teacher, Woodshop 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)
Grade 8 Science Teacher, Industrial Art and Theater Tech Teacher, Co-Primary Houseparent


Serena Seiler

Bio

Photo coming soon.

Serena is a Spring 2020 graduate of George Mason University located in Fairfax, VA. She studied Environmental and Sustainability Studies with a concentration in Conservation and Sustainability and a minor in Conservation Biology. Serena mainly focused on animal behavior and husbandry, specifically in large hoofstock like elephants and scimitar horned oryx. She was published in her school's research journal on human-elephant conflict mediation in Bangladesh between Asian elephants and the Rohingya people. In her free time, she enjoys baking, attempting to do a cartwheel, swimming, and playing tennis. Serena is excited to join the NCS family and experience her first real winter!"

Title(s)
Barn Intern



Dave Steckler

Bio

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 a wide variety of elective classes during his time at NCS. In recent years, Dave has served as the Dean of Faculty and Interim Director of School. In 2020-2021, he began serving as the Director of Teaching and Learning. Dave is an enthusiastic skier, rock climber, and hiker who enjoys reading and a variety of artistic pursuits.

Title(s)
Director of Teaching and Learning



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)
Grade 7 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)
Grade 7 English Teacher, Grade 9 Global Issues Teacher, Co-Primary Houseparent




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 David Hochschartner (former NCS-Treetops 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, with Hock, 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 University, and her passions are history (and sharing that excitement with children), 18th century research, 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)
Spanish and Math Teacher, Support Houseparent