Faculty & Staff Bios

Summer Programs Faculty & Staff

Summer Arts Faculty & Staff

Dan Folgar, Animation

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. danfolgar.com

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

Katrina Light, Culinary Arts & Farm

Katrina received her MS in Food Systems from the University of Vermont and her BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College. She is also a Putney School alumni. During the academic year she works as the Food Sustainability Advocate at Bard College and the New School in New York. Her work focuses on reducing institutional carbon footprints by increasing local and "real" food procurement and reducing energy consumption. As a teacher, she encourages hands-on learning combined with analytical thinking. Students in this course will directly engage in Vermont's food system and discuss solutions to real-world problems.

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 Young 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 character portraits, monsters, and other things that don’t exist. 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. Jessie is a former Summer Programs alum as both a student and a residence life staffer, and has been a Summer Programs teacher since 2012. You can see her work at jessieyoung.com

Ellen Parent, ESOL

Ellen is a native Vermonter with a BA in Creative Writing and Literature and a minor in French from Wheaton College. At Wheaton she completed a collection of original poetry as part of an Honors Thesis in Creative Writing, tutored ESOL students in writing skills, and led canoeing and hiking trips with the Outing Club. Since graduating in 2013 she has continued to work in education and is currently teaching English to high school students in France.

Katie Tucker, Fashion Design

Katie is currently a freelance fashion designer living in the greater London area. She studied at Mount Ida College near Boston, as well as London College of Fashion graduating with her BS in Fashion Design. Her last collection focused on architectural fashion and 3D printing, which was funded from the common wealth grant awarded to three students who show dedication and creativity.

Sam Martone, Fiction Writing

Sam lives and writes in New York City. He is the author of two chapbooks, An Object You Cannot Lose (2015) from Cartridge Lit and Methodology (2013) from Corgi Snorkel Press. His stories can be found online and in print in Mid-American Review, Waxwing, Paper Darts, and more. Find more of his work at sammartone.com.

Zack Lennon-Simon, Filmmaking

Zach Lennon-Simon is a writer, filmmaker, and teacher who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Zach began making films with his friends in middle school. After joining an after school film program in high school, Zach made his first documentary, Playing with the Other Tigers, which was featured at several film festivals such as the Tribeca Film Festival, Human Rights Watch, and Sundance. Zach received his BFA in Filmmaking at SUNY Purchase. Since graduating from college, Zach has turned his attention to teaching teens how to express themselves through film. You can watch some of his films at https://vimeo.com/home/myvideos

Elise L'Herault, Glass Arts

Elise L’Herault graduated from Boston University in 2008 with a BFA in painting. She has been creating with glass (primarily fused glass) since 2007. She has experience teaching people of all ages, abilities and skill levels. Her background in painting gives her a unique approach for teaching exploratory flat glass techniques. Her own work focuses on bold colors, a variety of line qualities and solid shapes with free association being a predominant theme as well as floral and figurative motifs.

Cora Tillett, Glass Arts

Cora Tillett, Glass Arts Teacher, was born in Mexico City, within a family of artists, and studied veterinary medicine looking for a less chaotic life. In 2006, when she moved to Germany, she realized she could not continue working as a vet and was more at peace away from that life. In 2009 she returned to Mexico, and studied stained glass and blacksmithing for 2 years, loving every aspect of it, finding her true passion in life, sculpture. Her work focuses mainly in three dimensional stained glass pieces inspired by sea life. coratillett.com

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.

Leanne Grimes, Painting

Leanne Grimes was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1983. She moved to Seattle, WA in 2009 to earn an MFA in painting from the UW. This move sparked a whole new perspective on the subject of the landscape for the artist. Leanne now lives in Brooklyn, NY where she is continuing to produce paintings inspired by her travel adventures. She is currently working with images form a recent visit to Hawaii. leannegrimes.com

Jen Laffoon, Photography

Jennifer Laffoon is a traditional and digital fine arts photographer. She is residential faculty and the director of the photography program at Phoenix College. She received her MFA from the University of Arizona and her BFA from The Museum School of Fine Art and Tufts University. Jennifer also taught at the University of South Carolina and was the head of photography in the Media Arts Program at USC. She has been teaching photography for 12 years. Jennifer has a national exhibition record and has had several speaking engagements about her photographic series, as well as a lecture series on the history of photography at the Columbia Museum of Fine Arts.

Christine Holm, Poetry Writing

Christine is a poet and book artist living and working in Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University where she had the opportunity to facilitate poetry workshops at Florence Correctional Facility, as well as write collaborative poems with palliative care patients at Mayo Hospital. Her poetry has appeared in the North American Review, Waxwing, and Narrative Magazine. She has been awarded a residency at Wormfarm for the fall harvest season of 2016. Find more of her work at Every House.

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, musician and children’s book illustrator. He lives in the small village of Saxtons River in southern Vermont. donaldsaaf.com

Joshua Harper, Songwriting & Vocal Ensemble

Joshua Harper enjoys a multifaceted career as a conductor, tenor and composer. In 2016 he travels to Toronto as one of the 5 conductors selected to The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir's "Emerging Conductor Program" where he will work with the Grammy-award nominated Elora Festival Singers. In the summer of 2015 Joshua was selected as one of the 10 conducting fellows at the prestigious Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Yale School of Music, where he studied with Simon Carrington.

As a singer, Joshua performs regularly with professional choruses in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. He can often be heard with Novi Cantori of Greater Springfield and Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble. Previously he sang with the Grammy-award winning Nashville Symphony Chorus where he sang under many internationally renowned conductors.

As a composer, his pieces have been performed by the Williston Caterwaulers, Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts Chorale, Lipscomb A Cappella Singers, Hartsbrook High School A Cappella, as well as the TGSFTA Faculty Artists. His scholarly edition of Franz Schubert's "Die Ensiedelei" is published by Colla Voce Music, LLC and was featured on the company's reading session at the 2015 National ACDA Conference in Salt Lake City.

Joshua is Director of Choirs at The Williston Northampton School where he oversees a choral program of four ensembles consisting of over 140 students. He the recipient of the George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship. He serves as the High School Repertoire and Standards Chair of the Massachusetts ACDA Board, where he regularly presents at the State conference. He holds and MM in Choral Conducting from UMass Amherst where he studied with Tony Thornton, and a BA in Vocal Performance and Music Composition from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN.

For more information, please visit: http://joshuaharper.instantencore.com/

Jessica Hart, Theater

Jessica has been pursuing theatre since she was in middle school. She received her BA in Theatre and Psychology, then decided to go out west. She worked and pursued an education at the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Clown school if you prefer the slang. She has recently graduated with her Masters from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. During her time there, she received the David Lindsay-Abaire award for excellence in Playwrighting for her two plays "Closeted" and "Network Error". She is currently working with The Junkyard company in New York.

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

Kaylee Anderson, Apprentice Teacher Ceramics

Born 1993 in rural Deep River, CT, Kaylee Anderson is an interdisciplinary artist and currently a BFA candidate at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), her expected graduation is spring 2017. Kaylee works with ceramics, fine metals, and clothing design to articulate her relationships to the world around her. Most recently focused on using the language of pottery, fine jewelry, and personal adornment to evaluate ideas about value and offer other canons of value. As for ceramics, Kaylee is experienced in wheel throwing, hand building, mold making, slip casting, and glaze formulation. Kaylee is interested in combining these techniques to create complex forms that push the boundaries of what’s expected.

Evan Anderson, Apprentice Teacher Painting

Evan is from Indianapolis, Indiana and currently enrolled at Indiana University. He is currently working toward receiving his BFA in Painting. His recent work has been an attempt to combine abstraction with figuration. Depictions of collaged motifs such as animals, punk rockers, self portraits and strange color help to communicate a humorous but chaotic vibe. This is Evan’s second summer at the Putney School Summer Programs.

Maren Less, Apprentice Teacher Painting

Maren Less is a visual artist whose paintings explore pessimism using a childlike mode of expression that suggests innocence. Less is from Millburn, New Jersey. She was a Studio Art major at Kenyon College and studied for a semester at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan Ireland. She is a recent graduate of the Post Baccalaureate program in Fine Art at MICA. Less has shown at the Gund Gallery in Ohio, Curate in New Jersey, the Millburn Public Library and Space Camp Galley in Baltimore. She has also received the Millburn Township Art Advisory Committee Award of Excellence Scholarship and a series of Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Additionally, Less was an artist in residence at The Contemporary Arts Center at Woodside in Troy NY in 2015. Less has also worked as Assistant to Chair of Art Advisory Committee and has taught art classes at the Messy Artist and Rock Properties. maren-less.squarespace.com

Noah Offitzer, Apprentice Teacher Drawing

Noah grew up in New York City. His passion for drawing drew him to spend a lot of time at the Metropolitan. Inspired by the paintings and drawings at the museum, he decided to study classical art. He recently completed his first year at the Grand Central Atelier in Queens. Before then, he studied various printmaking techniques and drawing at SUNY Purchase. For the past two summers Noah has worked at an arts school in midtown Manhattan teaching figure drawing and portfolio development. This is his first summer at the Putney School Summer Programs as an apprentice teacher since he attended as a student in 2012.

Laura Gordon, Apprentice Teacher Photography

Laura Gordon is a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology in the Photographic Sciences program. She has taken classes in surgical photography, photomicrography (images made under a microscope), and alternative print processes along with traditional analog film. Laura has been a teaching assistant for a photographic technology course this past year. She attended the Putney Summer Program in 2011 for photography and animation, and is excited to return as an apprentice teacher.

Serina Bernstein, Apprentice Teacher Filmmaking

Serina Bernstein has just finished her third year at California Institute for the Arts in program Film/Video. She currently identifies as a multi-disciplinary creator that utilizes the medium of video in varying ways in her work. Over the past couple years she has explored documentary, experimental, narrative and music video forms. Her most recent independent project was Dream Game, a piece that incorporated live-video DJing with structured improvisational performance based off of collected dream transcriptions that were taken from the community. Dream Game showed at the CalArts New Works Festival this spring. Serina’s current interests lie in community engagement, improvisation, and how to use film/video in relation to these interests. Next year at CalArts, she has plans to create a thesis film that documents a community engagement project that she will facilitate. The project involves linking children from different educational systems/modalities within her home city through letter writing. Her aspirations for this piece are pedagogic & poetic. A child of Los Angeles, born and raised, Serina can often be found dancing in unusual situations, meditating, experimenting, and contemplating the nature of existence.

Sidney Harrison, Apprentice Teacher Fiction

Sidney Anne Harrison is a returning dormhead and former student of the Putney Summer Programs. She has been writing since she was six years old, and has never stopped. Her father is a screenwriter, novelist, director, producer, and musician, so it was no surprise that she became a creative artist herself. She's written two novels (unpublished - but trying), has had a few short stories published in small horror magazines, and is hoping to continue writing and teaching for the rest of her life. After Putney, Sidney will hopefully be flying off to South Korea to teach English.

Sam Lagasse, Apprentice Teacher Poetry

Sam Lagasse graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH in May 2016 with bachelors degrees in English and Religious Studies. At Kenyon, Sam completed an Honors thesis on representations of hauntings and ghosts in Bengali literature. Originally, from Stamford, CT, Sam attended the Putney School Summer Programs in 2010 and 2011 as a student in the Writing Intensive Workshops taught by Megan Savage, Jenny George, and Rosalie Purvis. Since his last summer at Putney, he has grown increasingly passionate about literature and teaching. He was awarded the Propper Prize for Poetry, The Phillip Wolcott Timberlake Junior Prize, and the Denham Sutcliffe Memorial Award for his literary and academic achievements at the undergraduate level. After spending the summer as an Apprentice Poetry Teacher, he will move to Ithaca, NY, where he will pursue a doctoral degree in English at Cornell University.

Lily Shell, Apprentice Teacher Fashion Design

Lily graduated in May 2016 from Vassar College, where she majored in American Studies with concentrations in Africana Studies and History, and wrote her thesis on the role of fine art in the work of Jay Z and Kanye West. For the past four years, she has worked in the Vassar College Costume Shop, constructing and helping to design costumes for the College’s Experimental Theatre; she has also costume designed multiple productions for various student theater groups at Vassar, in addition to interning with professional New York theater groups like Theater for The New City and Naked Angels. This is Lily's second year as The Putney School Summer Programs' fashion design apprentice, and she was a Summer Programs student in 2009, 2010, and 2011. lily-shell.squarespace.com

Hannah Cole, Apprentice Teacher ESOL

Hannah is a senior at Brown University studying Comparative Literature in English and Spanish, with an honors thesis exploring the relationship between queer Cuban literature and censorship. Last summer, she taught free English classes to students in Romania and Croatia through the Learning Enterprises program. She also taught night classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages to adult immigrants in Providence. Having participated in the Putney School Summer Programs in 2009 and 2010, she is excited to return to the Putney community.

Abby Verney-Fink, Apprentice Teacher Farm

Abby graduated from Bates College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Focusing in education, she volunteered at the Auburn Land Lab, helped develop field trips for an elementary school on the coast of Maine, and eventually wrote her senior thesis on experiential environmental education. She spent the summer following graduation working full-time on a CSA farm in Woodbridge, CT before heading to Greece for a yearlong teaching fellowship. At The American Farm school in Thessaloniki, Greece, she works with Greek preschoolers on environmentally and English focused lessons.

Sigal Gerson Kadden, Apprentice Teacher Culinary Arts

Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Sigal graduated from Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) in May 2015 with a degree in alternative pedagogy and theatre education. She is deeply passionate about what opportunities the arts can provide for young people and constantly seeks to be a part of it. While at Hampshire, Sigal ran her own theatre program for homeschooling students and spent a semester in New York City working with the Creative Arts Team helping to implement a literacy and theatre program in Brooklyn. Last summer, she worked as an RA and photo teaching assistant at the School of Creative & Performing Arts (NYC). She is currently a fellow with the Progressive Education Lab (PEL) and has spent the year traveling and working in four different independent schools (including Putney) throughout the Northeast. She will be teaching 2nd grade at the Calhoun School in New York City in the fall.

Jamie Wollum, Apprentice Teacher Photography

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Jamie recently graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Anthropology, and focused many of her studies on photography, visual arts, and education. Jamie has worked at the Tufts Photography Laboratory for the past three years as a darkroom monitor and technician, and served her last semester as a Teacher’s Assistant for the Foundation Photography class. In the future, she is interested in pursuing a career in arts advocacy or arts education, and looks forward to sharing her passion for photography at Putney this summer. jamiewollum.com.

Ellie Black, Apprentice Teacher Filmmaking

Ellie Black is senior at Wesleyan University. As a student of Film and East Asian Studies, her interests lie in both production and film scholarship, and she is heavily involved in the nascent games studies curriculum at Wesleyan. She has worked as a projectionist for Wesleyan's Center for Film Studies, and has created several tabletop and video games for her courses. Ellie attended the Putney School Summer Programs in 2010 and 2011, where she took classes in fiction writing, animation, play-writing and drawing. She is from Brunswick, Maine.


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