NATURE IS OUR MASTER TEACHER.

Administrators

Executive Director


Todd Ormiston

Bio

Todd began his independent school career at Vermont Academy, where he was a math teacher, dorm parent, and coach for four years. Over the next eleven years, Todd served in multiple roles at Stratton Mountain School: as director of admissions and financial aid, dean of faculty, director of college guidance, and athletic director. For the next six years, Todd was the assistant head for enrollment management at Gould Academy, and, in the two years before becoming head of school at Mount Snow Academy, he was the director of institutional advancement at Sun Valley Community School. At all of these schools, Todd’s commitment to exceptional programming, as well as his accomplishments in admissions and fundraising, made him an indispensible team member and, ultimately, a talented leader who has overseen impressive growth while maintaining institutional core beliefs and values.

Todd’s focus has been on establishing, building, and refining educational and athletic programs to best meet the needs and aspirations of students. He is committed to an experiential learning approach, diversity and inclusion, the power of community in shaping the lives of children, and the essential benefits of outdoor education and recreation.

Todd grew up in a farming community in the Catskill Mountains and is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast. He is also quite familiar with Lake Placid and the Adirondacks. Todd holds a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an M.Ed. from the University of Vermont. He and his wife, Elizabeth, are parents of daughters Maddox, 19, a college freshman at St. Lawrence University, and Chase, 16, a sophomore in high school. Their family has always enjoyed the adventures that come with living in small towns in the mountains.

Title(s)
Executive Director



Director of School


Matt Preston Smith

Bio

A career educator, Matt is coming to North Country School from Lawrence academy, where he was the English Department chair and lacrosse program director. Prior to that, Matt taught English at Stratton Mountain School (Stratton Mountain, VT) while serving as the Dean of Students and Dean of Residential Life. During summers early in his teaching career, Matt learned to teach under the tutelage of his former English teachers at his alma mater, Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford, CT).

Matt holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), where he both played and coached lacrosse. His wife, Reid, is a doctoral candidate in the Teaching, Curriculum and Society Department at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. He has two daughters, two-year old Foster and newborn Hope. When they are not on campus, the Smiths live in Keene Valley with their two dogs, Grisman and Guthrie. Matt is an avid hiker, mountain biker, gardener, and backcountry skier.

Title(s)
Director of School



Director of Camp Treetops


Karen Culpepper

Bio

Karen and her family first came to Camp Treetops and North Country School in 1990, drawn by the wild beauty and warm community of the Adirondacks. After several years, graduate school and job opportunities took the family to Ithaca, but summers at Treetops were the constant throughout, with Karen serving in various roles from counselor to program director and camp director since 2003, when the Culpeppers returned to Lake Placid full-time. A graduate of Springfield College, Karen is well versed in environmental, experiential, and special education, as well as recreation and physical therapy. She enjoys hiking, swimming, skiing, and running with family and friends.

Title(s)
Camp Treetops Director



Director of Admissions


David Damico

Email
(Primary)
Bio

David serves North Country School (NCS) as Director of Admissions, and is the parent of an NCS student. He earned degrees in French and International Relations from Bucknell University (including studies at The Sorbonne in Paris), and spent 15 years working in France and Switzerland. His independent school administration has included work in both domestic and international boarding schools, as director of admissions and dean of students. He and his wife Melanie live within walking distance of campus, along with their two children, Samantha and Luca. As a family, they enjoy all four Adirondack seasons hiking, biking, skiing, horseback riding, and boating.

Title(s)
Director of Admissions



Director of Marketing and Communications


Emilie Allen

Email
(Primary)
Bio

An Adirondack native, Emilie joined North Country School in 2014 after residing for many years in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, Canada. She brings well over a decade of experience in the fields of marketing/communications and education, with a background in writing, visual arts, and media. Prior to coming to NCS, Emilie worked as a college instructor, as well as with Sensate, an interdisciplinary online academic journal in experimental media based at Harvard University/MIT. Previously, Emilie was a wilderness trip leader in Northern Ontario, where she paddled 400 miles of whitewater from Lac Mistassini to the Cree community of Waskaganish on the Hudson Bay. Emilie earned her BA (philosophy) and BFA (fine art) at Queen's University in Kingston, ON; her MA (media studies) at Concordia University in Montreal, QC, and MFA (creative writing) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. She currently resides in Saranac Lake where she serves as a board member of Ausable Grange Farmers' Markets and Saranac Lake Arts and Culture Advisory Board. She enjoys yoga, paddling, skiing, playing fiddle, traveling, and exploring with her husband, Patrick, and her son, Everett.

Title(s)
Director of Marketing and Communications



CFO and Business Manager


Fritz Sabbow

Bio

A Keene Valley resident for many years, Fritz previously served as controller for 13 years at an injection molding manufacturer in Plattsburgh. Prior to that he worked at the American Management Association in Saranac Lake and for Camp Dudley in Westport; he has additional experience in bank financial controls in New Hampshire and Maine. Fritz holds a BS from the University of Maine in recreation management and has served as treasurer for local non-for-profits including the North Country SPCA, the Keene Valley Congregational Church, and East Branch Friends of the Arts. He lives with his partner Rob Hastings in Keene Valley at Rivermede Farm, an organic small-scale farm much like ours.

Title(s)
CFO, Business Manager



Director of Facilities and Sustainability


John Culpepper

Bio

John holds a BS in ornamental horticulture and landscape design, an MS in plant science and molecular genetics, and PhD, ABD in plant science from Cornell University. John has extensive teaching, speaking, and administrative experience in education both public and private. Since 2005 John has directed operations and maintenance efforts, renovation, new capital construction, and sustainability initiatives for NCS/CTT. John and his family first worked at NCS/CTT in 1990 when he headed the garden program. John’s wife, Karen, is the Director of Camp Treetops, and their children, Kelli, Katie, and Tucker, have a long history as campers and counselors and kitchen workers at CTT.

Title(s)
Director of Facilities and Sustainability



Director of Advancement


Christie Borden

Email
(Primary)
School Phone
(518) 523-9329   x5402
Bio

Christie joined the Advancement Office in May of 2017, but first arrived on campus in 1991 as an eighth grade day student. Life at NCS impacted her so positively that she's thrilled to be back in her new capacity. After graduating from The Masters School in 1996 she received a Bachelor of Science from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, majoring in psychology and double minoring in religion and women's studies. Christie also holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Columbia University. Prior to coming to NCS, Christie spent a year as Chief Development Officer for Rettsyndrome.org. Christie was the Associate Director of Institutional Advancement at The Windward School in White Plains, New York for nine years. She worked for two years at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts on the annual fund, reunion giving, and the capital campaign. She also worked at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts focusing on major gifts in the annual fund and senior year gift drive. Christie implemented many new programs at The Windward School, including their annual Golf and Tennis Classic, now in its seventh year, a biennial benefit netting over $900,000 in her final year and an annual Homecoming for all Alumni. Christie is focused on the cultivation of constituents and the stewardship of donors. Christie and her husband moved from Westchester County to the Adirondacks this summer and have a son and daughter. When not working she enjoys teaching figure skating, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.

Title(s)
Director of Advancement