NATURE IS OUR MASTER TEACHER.

Professional and Office Staff

School Counselor


Colleen Blanchard

Bio

Photo to come.

Colleen is honored to join the esteemed faculty, professional staff, and student body of NCS whose mission, and values, so closely, echo her own. Colleen brings over a decade of combined experience in education, health care, human service, and mental wellness to the NCS community. Colleen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Special Education from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Recently, she returned to her Alma Mater as a non-traditional student and received her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Since obtaining her credentials, Colleen has been counseling at a local therapeutic residential school for adolescent boys with emotional and learning difficulties which have impacted their ability to be successful in school or in their homes. Colleen takes a holistic, yet eclectic, approach to counseling which provides a tailored approach to the therapeutic process for each individual and circumstance. As a counselor, she is warm, open, encouraging, and direct. She conceptualizes therapy and healing as a collaborative endeavor rooted in honest, non-judgmental, care where knowledge and skills are shared to create meaningful solutions. Colleen is an active therapist who combines her experience, education, creativity, and sense of humor with down-to-earth, realistic practice. Colleen is actively working toward her permanent credentials as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is a member of the American Counseling Association.

Colleen is an Adirondack Native raised in a small rural community on the shores of Lake Champlain. Growing up “forever wild” fostered a love of nature, adventure, horticulture and agriculture. Colleen makes her home in Wilmington with her canine companion, Oscar. She is a mountain bike enthusiast and an avid downhill, and cross-country skier.

Title(s)
School Counselor



Director of Technology


Devon Jacobs

School Phone
518-837-5406
Bio

A native of Tupper Lake, Devon joined the staff in May 2013, having spent the previous 13 years as a repair technician for Champlain Valley Educational Services in Plattsburgh. He also was a computer coordinator for Holy Ghost Academy in Tupper Lake. Devon has several industry certifications, spent three years in Rochester Institute of Technology’s computer engineering technology program, and holds two associate’s degrees from Paul Smith’s College in culinary arts and hotel and restaurant management. He spent seven years as a seasonal private chef. Devon lives in Cadyville, NY, and enjoys cooking, hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting when time and his young son allow.

Title(s)
Director of Technology



Associate Director of Admissions


Rachel Carter

Email
(Primary)
School Phone
(518) 523-9329   x6503
Bio

Rachel joined the NCS faculty in 2012 as an ESL teacher and primary house parent. In 2015, she stepped into the role of associate director of admissions. She is a graduate of Scripps College with a BA in French and linguistics. During her time there, she taught French to third graders and ESL to adults. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and spent three years teaching English to middle school students in a rural village in Benin. She also spent several years as a construction volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in her home state of Florida. In her free time, Rachel enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, and playing board games.

Title(s)
Associate Director of Admissions



Administrative Support


Sheila Tavares

School Phone
(518) 523-9329   x1000
Bio

Sheila has worked at North Country School since 1994, and she is the one who keeps everything running smoothly. She attended North Country Community College, where she received her AAS degree in secretarial science. Sheila enjoys reading, going for walks, traveling, and spending time with her husband Bill and their children, Noah and Natalie.

Title(s)
Administrative Support



Bookkeeper


Bunny LeClair

School Phone
(518) 837-5455
Bio

Bunny and her husband, Gregory, are longtime residents of Upper Jay, New York. She started employment at NCS on October 1, 2007, in the Development Department and is now in the Finance Office. Bunny finds the work she does very gratifying and meaningful to the development of the students and campers that pass through our programs. She and her husband and have two adult sons and six grandchildren, and they love spending time with family. Bunny enjoys reading, knitting, painting, and other crafts, including ceramics.

Title(s)
Bookkeeper



Accounts Payable


Julie Martin

Bio

Photo coming soon.

Julie joined the NCS Business Office in April 2019. Previously, she held Office Administrator positions at North Country for-profit companies. She has also served as a Project Manager and Executive Director at non-profit lake/river protection organizations in the Adirondacks. In these roles, Julie gained valuable administrative and grant management experience. She holds an AA in physical education from Hudson Valley Community College and a BS in environmental science from Paul Smith’s College. Julie was born and raised in Albany to native Adirondackers, so her heart and roots are here in the mountains. She, her long-time partner, Gary, and their cats have been Elizabethtown residents for many years. Julie enjoys watching the U.S. women’s national soccer team, spending time with family and friends, camping, boating, gardening, and beekeeping.

Title(s)
Accounts Payable



Nurse


Shannon Portal

Bio

Shannon is pleased to return to NCS and Treetops, where she first worked as a Camp counselor and farm intern nearly 15 years ago. An RN with degrees in nursing and wilderness recreation leadership from North Country Community College, Shannon also holds a bachelor’s in child family services from SUNY Plattsburgh and studied herbal medicine and Chinese energetics at Naropa University. Shannon previously served as nursing director at a school for teens with mental health issues. Prior to that she was director of a youth center in Lake Placid and licensed wilderness guide for 10 years, during which time she co-taught 30-day backpacking and canoeing leadership courses for Paul Smith’s College. She enjoys school nursing for the opportunity to promote wellness by attending to the mind-body connection.

Title(s)
School Nurse



Nurse


Jessica Jeffery

Bio

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Jessica has lived in the Adirondacks for 10 years. Previously she worked as a backcountry caretaker for New York State, as well as a ski patroller at Whiteface Mountain. An RN, Jessica earned her nursing degree at North Country Community College. She loves spending time with her husband and six-year-old son Wyatt, as well as skiing, surfing, and anything woods related.

Title(s)
Primary houseparent, School Nurse (Weekend)