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

Where most classrooms end, ours begin.

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 North Country School


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



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 Admissions


David Damico

Email
(Primary)
Bio

David Damico serves North Country School (NCS) as Director of Admissions. He also assists with the coordination and direction of North Country Summer School (NCSS). David earned degrees in French and International Relations from Bucknell University (including time studying at The Sorbonne in Paris), and spent 15 years working in France and Switzerland. His independent school administration has included work with both domestic and international boarding schools, as director of admissions and dean of students. He and his wife Melanie live walking distance to campus, along with their two children, Samantha and Luca.

Title(s)
Director of Admissions



Director of Advancement


Matt Donahue

Email
(Primary)
Bio

Originally from Massachusetts, Matt has spent most of the last three decades in the Adirondacks after coming to Lake Placid for the first time in 1989 to teach high school English. He made his way into development work at The Adirondack chapter of The Nature Conservancy after an eighteen year career in independent schools as an English teacher and administrator. The independent school realm eventually called him back, and he merged his enthusiasm for great teaching and learning programs with his background in institutional advancement by serving as Director of Development at Long Trail School in Vermont and later at Falmouth Academy on Cape Cod. When he is not traveling in his capacity as Director of Advancement, Matt spends time outdoors with his son, Finn, especially enjoying hiking, biking and running--and nordic skiing when the snow flies.

Title(s)
Director of Advancement



Director of Marketing and Communications


Emilie Allen

Email
(Primary)
Bio

An Adirondack native, Emilie joined North Country School (2014) after residing for many years in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, Canada. She brings over a decade of experience working in content production and creative direction 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, BluSeed Studios, and other local organizations. She enjoys yoga, paddling, skiing, playing fiddle, traveling, and exploring with her husband, Patrick, and her dog, Tennessee Blue.

Title(s)
Director of Marketing and Communications



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 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 RockE House & Basecamp



Peter Bullock

Bio

Peter Bullock has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Education from Vermont College of Norwich University. He discovered North Country School and Camp Treetops in 2001 as a delegate of Shelburne Farms. Until 2013, Peter worked at Shelburne Farms serving as a school programs educator, summer youth program director, partner program liaison, safety committee chair, and organizational development fellow. For the past three years, Peter has developed programs at Endeavour Middle School, Vermont Athletic Academy, and Richmond Forest School. He has taught agricultural and natural sciences, math, and social studies, and he has served as a Kindergarten through 8th grade curriculum specialist and middle school cross country coach. Most recently Peter was the interim head of school at the Bellwether School. Peter’s passion for connecting ideas to experience includes guest lecturing at Middlebury College, Champlain College, Community College of Vermont, and the University of Vermont. He enjoys social innovation labs, bird language, science, history, and farm-to-table experiences. He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, ages 6 years and 8 months, and a 2-year-old son.

Title(s)
Director of Round Lake Campus