Faculty & Staff Bios

Summer Arts Faculty & Staff


Tom Howe, Director of Summer Arts

Tom taught in the early years of Putney's Summer Arts and brings experience in the performing arts, teaching, and school administration to his position as director. His undergraduate studies at Hampshire College included a year at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. He subsequently worked in New York, largely in experimental theater, including a stint in Paris at Peter Brook’s center for theater research, under the direction of Yoshi Oida. Tom has taught theater at The Putney School and at Francis W. Parker School, Chicago. He’s currently most intrigued with how developing creative expression in individuals can strengthen our communities.

Phone: 802-387-6234 | thowe@putneyschool.org


Summer Employment Opportunities

Dan Folgar, Admissions Manager

Dan is a Venezuelan born cartoonist, painter, and video artist. He received his MFA from the Miami International School of Art & Design, and a BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Central Florida.

Phone: 802-387-7335 | dfolgar@putneyschool.org

Summer Arts Faculty 2018

Summer Arts Faculty & Staff

Laura Gordon, Animation

Laura graduated with a B.S. in Photographic Sciences from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2017. She currently resides in South Florida and teaches at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts as an Artist in Residence in Digital Art and Filmmaking. In her free time, Laura makes mixed media work with her scientific imagery, printmaking, and collage. This is Laura's third year at the Summer Programs, having previously attended as a student in 2011 and as an Apprentice Teacher in 2016.

Dan Roe, Ceramics

Dan is an emerging ceramic artist, originally from Hyde Park, New York. He graduated with a BFA in Ceramics in 2012 from the Hartford Art School in West Hartford, Connecticut. Upon graduation, Dan moved on to the Worcester Center for Crafts in Worcester, Massachusetts where he has been an Artist in Residence and is currently finishing up his final year. In Worcester, he has been teaching wheel throwing and mold making while entering and displaying work in a variety of juried shows. In addition to teaching in Worcester, he has returned to the Hartford Art School for the 2013-2014 school year to teach introductory level courses in ceramics, primarily hand building. In his own work, Dan explores our relationships to our bodies as well as our spirituality through wheel thrown and slip cast pottery. cargocollective.com/danroe

Natalie Varrallo, Culinary Food Lab

Emily Wexler, Dance

Emily Wexler is a choreographer, dancer and teacher. She was raised in New Jersey, and has a BA and MFA in Dance from Hollins University. In 2008, she was honored with the ACDFA/Dance Magazine Award for Outstanding Choreography, and in 2012 she was nominated for a Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award) for her performance in Yvonne Meier's "Mad Heidi." Her work has been seen abroad and more locally in venues such as the American Dance Festival, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and the Knitting Factory. emilywexlerdance.com

Jessie Young, Drawing

Jessie earned her BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MSAE from Mass College of Art and Design, and currently teaches digital illustration and animation to high school students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, MA. When not teaching kids how to build visual narratives using pixels and vectors, she draws vector portraits and writes for Adobe Create Magazine. Jessie is also an award-winning cosplayer who enjoys fabricating props and armor based on historical references and fantasy characters from her favorite movies, books, and games. She is a former Summer Programs alum as both a student and a dormhead, and has been a faculty member since 2012.

Sidney Harrison, ESOL

Sidney is a former Putney Summer Arts student and has worked at the Summer Arts program for two summers as a Dormhead and Fiction Writing apprentice teacher. When she is not at Putney, she spends her time writing novels (soon to be published) and teaching English as a second language. Sidney spent a year in South Korea teaching English to students ages 5 to 16, and she also teaches English online to Chinese students of varying levels. After having spent a summer away in Korea, Sidney is looking forward to returning to Putney to teach the PIE program as well as work in the office, helping to ensure a great community and experience for new and returning Summer Arts students. Currently, Sidney is living a nomadic lifestyle, but she plans to settle down in Los Angeles after finishing her work at Putney this summer.

Abby Verney-Fink, Farm

Abby graduated from Bates College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies and a focus in education. After school she spent a season at a CSA farm in CT, and then worked at farm and/or place-based education centers, such as The Ecology School in Maine and The American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece. Students from The American Farm School pointed her in the direction of the Putney Summer Programs in 2014, when she started as the farm teaching apprentice. She completed the Progressive Education Lab, during which she taught in the Putney School science department for a year. She currently lives in western Massachusetts and teaches chemistry at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School.

Lily Shell, Fashion Design

Lily is a freelance costume designer currently living and working in her hometown of New York City. She has spent the past year as an Assistant Costume Designer at the Juilliard School through participation in Juilliard's Professional Apprentice Program. She holds a BA in American Studies from Vassar College, where she designed and constructed garments as an employee of the drama department’s costume shop for 4 years. Following this summer at Putney, Lily will be relocating to Madison, Wisconsin to pursue her MA in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at The University of Wisconsin. An alumna of The Putney School Summer Arts herself, she is thrilled to return to Putney for her fourth summer as employee, and second as lead teacher of the fashion design workshop. You can find her work at lilyzshell.carbonmade.com.

Zack Lennon-Simon, Filmmaking

Zachary Lennon-Simon is a comedian, filmmaker, and full time pizza consumer. His films have been featured in the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and the Nerdfighteria Stories film festival. His most recent film, Shakertown Road, is available to rent or download at vimeo.com/ondemand/shakertownroad. Zach is currently in pre-production on a series of feminist short films while also working as the head editor of the Longform video department at Delish.

Joseph Tracy, Glass Arts

Jeanne Wulsin Bennett, Metal Jewelry

Jeanne is an award-winning freelance metal designer, working out of her home studio in Westminster West. She has worked for custom jewelers in Vermont, New Hampshire and the Virgin Islands and has taught at Summer Programs since 1994. Jeanne teaches jewelry classes during the academic year at The Putney School, the Community College of Vermont, and in her studio. She is a juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and, since 2001, a member of the Putney Craft Tour. You can see some of Jeanne Bennett's jewlery on her Facebook Page.

Genevieve Cohn, Painting

Genevieve Cohn is a native Vermonter, painter and educator. She received her MFA in Painting from Indiana University and her BA in Art and Culture & Communications from Ithaca College. A lover of travel, she has studied in the Himalayas of Northern India and in Granada, Spain. Genevieve has taught undergraduate drawing courses and is spending the first part of the summer teaching drawing in Florence, Italy. She was awarded the Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship and next year will have a position at Indiana University Northwest. genevievecohn.com

Ally Young, Poetry Writing

Ally is an MFA candidate in poetry writing at Syracuse University, where she also teaches undergraduate writing and is an Editor in Chief at Salt Hill. Her own work has appeared or will appear in The Bennington Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Bone Bouquet, The Brooklyn Review, Moon City, The Texas Poetry Review, Metatron, via Dancing Girl Press, and elsewhere. She holds a BA in English Literature from Kenyon College and can be found online at allyhyoung.com.

Francesco Mazzotta, Photography

Francesco Mazzotta attended Western Connecticut State University where he earned his Bachelors of Art in Photography. After which he attended Maryland Institute College of Art where he received a Masters of Fine Art in Photographic and Electronic Media in May 2017. Mazzotta's work is not only in the fine art realm where he explores gender identity through the public lens working in installation, still image, video and sculpture. He also works commercially in portraiture and fashion.

Caleb Colpitts, Printmaking

Caleb Colpitts is a Printmaker, Jeweler and avid draughtsman. Caleb grew up in northern New Hampshire and Vermont where he began practicing printmaking at the age of fourteen. Throughout high school Caleb routinely traveled to Florence Italy to study at Il Bisonte printmaking studios. After high school he moved from the fields and mountains of the Northeast to New York City where he studied and worked at the Art Students League of New York. When he had gotten his fill of the city he moved to Providence, Rhode Island where he got his BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Caleb now balances his career as an artist with a teaching position at the Cambridge School of Weston, where he teaches Jewelry, Printmaking and Life Drawing.

Donald Saaf, Sculpture

Donald Saaf is a Painter, Sculptor, Illustrator and and Arts Educator. His work has been exhibited in Museums and Galleries around the Country and he has illustrated over a dozen Picture Books for Children. He teaches an evening Comic/Graphic Novel Class during the year at the Putney School. donaldsaaf.com

Joshua Harper, Songwriting & Vocal Ensemble

Joshua Harper maintains an active career as a conductor, tenor, and composer. From 2013 - 2016 he was the Director of Choirs at The Williston Northampton School where he held the George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship overseeing a choral program of five choral ensembles. In addition to conducting, Joshua maintains an active schedule as a professional choral singer. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. Joshua loves black coffee, opera, Indian food, and Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices.

Sigal Kadden, Theater

Sigal is a graduate of Hampshire College with an interdisciplinary degree in theatre and education. Her culminating thesis was titled Defining Personal Pedagogy; Alternative Teaching Philosophies and Theatre with Young People. Along with her research, Sigal ran a theatre program for a multi-age group of homeschooling students. She has just completed a two-year fellowship with the Progressive Education Lab where she has been teaching at the Calhoun School. Sigal believes that theater can be used to empower youth and drive discussions and understanding around social justice. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and is a teacher in New York City.

Melissa Johnson, Weaving & Fiber Arts

Melissa moved to southern Vermont from Istanbul in 1973 and graduated from The Putney School in 1977. She attended the University of Vermont, Goddard College, and apprenticed to Trudy Walker, a production weaver, before beginning her career as a weaver and knitwear designer. She has taught Fiber Arts at The Putney School in the academic, evening, and summer programs since 1995. In addition to teaching, she is a designer, dyer, and color consultant for The Green Mountain Spinnery. She also creates custom textiles for individuals and teaches workshops on weaving, knitting, and natural and synthetic dyeing.


Apprentice Teachers 2017

Jena Gilbert-Merrill, Apprentice Teacher Ceramics

Jena Gilbert-Merrill graduated from Swarthmore College in 2016 with a BA in Studio Art and Educational Studies and completed a post-baccalaureate program in ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017. She is a potter who makes objects that are both formal and functional and that can exist in both of these places. Jena uses coils, slabs, and pinching to explore how form and line shift as they move through space, and how the object reveals and presents the marks of her hand. Through her work and her broader interest in functional pottery, she investigates the concept of home and domesticity – what home is, what it means, what constitutes it, and why it is valuable. This is Jena's first summer at Putney, and she is excited for the community, the art, the land, and the singing.

Chris Aldrich, Apprentice Teacher Culinary Food Lab

Chris Aldrich: BA, Theatre (George Mason University), MFA, Theatre (Sarah Lawrence College). Chris is a theatre artist and teacher who has cooked professionally in the D.C. area, Baltimore and New York.

Anna Steinman, Apprentice Teacher Drawing

Anna was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is currently a senior at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, working towards a BFA in Illustration. She has also participated in the Showa Women’s Institute College Connection Program since 2014. Some of her work can be found here.

Ben Garbus, Apprentice Teacher Drawing

Ben is a recent graduate of Oberlin College with a BA in Studio Art and Art History. As a sculptor, painter, and printmaker, his work has been exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy of Art, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and SPACES Gallery in Cleveland. His work can be found at bengarbus.com.

Yesica Torres, Apprentice Teacher Farm


Danny Evans, Apprentice Teacher Fiction

Danny Evans graduated from Oberlin College in 2018 with a BA in Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies. His academic and artistic work exists at the intersection of Japanese translation, creative writing, experimental music, and literary theory. Some of his work — such as his Shansi Prize-winning Comparative Literature thesis project (entitled "Noise of Words"), as well as personal musical recordings and fiction — can be found here: noise-of-words.tumblr.com. Some of Danny's favorite authors include Italo Calvino, Philip K. Dick, Kobo Abe, Georges Bataille, and Yoshimasu Gozo. Having attended the Summer Programs four years in a row, Danny is looking forward to returning to Putney once again.

Ellie Black, Apprentice Teacher Filmmaking

Ellie Black is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she majored in East Asian Studies with a concentration in film. Her interests lie in writing, analysis, and production across a range of media. This is her second summer apprentice teaching at Putney. She is from Brunswick, Maine.

Angelica Cofer, Apprentice Teacher Filmmaking

Angelica is a writer and amateur filmmaker who co-produced a sitcom pilot as a student at Hartwick College, and never looked back. She currently uploads to her YouTube channel where she makes videos about story-telling, travel, creativity, and poetry. After graduating from college in 2014, she taught English at Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, and has lived in Portland, Oregon and London, England. She plans on attending graduate school in the fall to study filmmaking.

Abigail Pechman, Apprentice Teacher Painting


Rob Werbicki, Apprentice Teacher Painting

Graduated from Western Carolina in 2007 with a BFA and from Boston University in 2015 with an MFA in studio painting. I have had the good fortune to participate in and work with artists at different schools and residencies such as the Mt. Gretna school in PA, Chautauqua Institute in NY, the Vermont studio center, and the Inside-out Art Museum. Currently living in Raleigh, NC painting, working as a cook, as a work study at Bikram Yoga-Durham, and taking care of my sweet dog Brutus. I look forward to another summer in Putney.

Laura Stewart, Apprentice Teacher Photography

Laura Stewart is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is currently a rising senior at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. She majors in photography and works closely with digital and in the darkroom. She has taken classes focusing on the environment, landscape, the body, the art of fine printing, alternative processes and more. Along with photography, she has experience in drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics. She is looking forward to sharing her passion for photography and teaching at Putney this summer. lauramstewart.com

Caroline Doering, Apprentice Teacher Photography

Caroline “Van” Doering is a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Production. In 2012, Caroline received a photography scholarship from the Zoe Loren Make A Difference Foundation to study photography in New York City at NYU and Fifth Avenue Digital. Caroline’s portfolio spans from instant photography and experimental 35mm film to digital manipulation and filmmaking. Emulating high fashion and artistic photography, Caroline often incorporates friends and their wardrobes in a performative documentary approach. Caroline is currently publishing their own zine and planning on obtaining their Master’s Degree in fashion photography and theory. Their photography has been featured by Rookie Mag, the Sisterhood of Night independent film, and multiple art shows in Florida.

Sarah Nelson, Apprentice Teacher Poetry

Sarah just finished her first year with the Progressive Education Lab fellowship, learning about teaching and splitting her time between The Cambridge School of Weston (MA); The Miquon School & The Crefeld School (PA); and The Putney School (VT). She's very excited to experience her first Vermont summer. Sarah's a graduate of Pitzer College, where she spent many hours working at the campus writing center. She spent her final year there researching contemplative learning and exploring the power of mindfulness practices in the classroom. When she's not reading or spending time outdoors, you can probably find her attempting to play string instruments, practicing headstands, or eating granola.

Maguire Peters, Apprentice Teacher Sculpture

Maguire Peters is a recent graduate of New College of Florida, where she received a degree in Humanities. In her time at New College, she worked extensively in painting, printmaking, and sculpture, most recently utilizing screen printing to illustrate a short picture book for her undergraduate thesis project. Maguire has worked as a teaching assistant for New College sculpture classes, and enjoys working in wood and cast metal. Maguire attended The Putney School each summer from 2008 through 2011, and is excited to return in a new capacity.


The Putney School Summer Programs
Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road,
Putney, Vermont 05346 USA
802-387-6297 (main), (802) 387-6216 (fax)

Summer Employment Opportunities