Kate Cholakis '11, Admissions Manager

Kate Cholakis

Kate Cholakis ’11 teaches Ecological Design at the Conway School, and also handles admissions and communications for the school. Kate is a landscape designer who created her own business after graduating from the Conway School. She specialized in ecological landscape design for residential clients and large-scale landscapes. Prior to returning to Conway to teach, Kate was a project designer in green infrastructure planning at Nitsch Engineering in Boston, where she contributed to master plans for college campuses, design competitions, and permitting applications for large-scale developments. After a summer fellowship at the Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington, DC, Kate began teaching at Conway in August 2015. A common thread underlying Kate’s professional work is developing a design process that emphasizes thorough analysis of cultural, physical, and temporal aspects of a site. With a multidisciplinary background, Kate applies strong skills in ecological landscape design, green infrastructure and stormwater planning, digital and hand graphics, cultural landscape research, and report writing to her practice and teaching.

MALD, The Conway School
BA, Architecture and Urbanism, Smith College

cholakis@csld.edu

Paulina Kislyuk, Finance Manager

Paulina Kislyuk, Finance Manager, brings decades of experience as an accounting manager, comptroller, and payroll manager in both nonprofits and private businesses. In addition to her post-graduate degree in accounting, Paulina holds a masters in electrical engineering, and spent ten years in the field. She loves working at Conway, and enjoys spending time with her daughter (a board-certified behavioral analyst who lives locally) and walking on the bike path with her coon hound Dobie.

kislyuk@csld.edu

CJ Lammers, Assistant to the Executive Director

CJ Lammers is a nationally-known speaker and advocate for all things green. For almost thirty years she worked tirelessly with citizens and state and local governments to move the ball forward on various topics including tree and forest preservation; small and large landscape conservation; and environmental land use policies, strategies, and regulations. Her most recent full-time position was as a Master Environmental Planner in Prince George’s County, Maryland where she implemented environmental legislation and advised decision-makers in the areas of agricultural and forestry conservation and general issues related to the environment. At the Conway School, CJ cultivates projects for the students to complete as part of their winter (planning) and spring (design) terms. She also teaches classes in planning and contributes to student project support. For the Conway Institute, CJ provides program support.

At George Washington University she was one of the founding professors in GWU’s Sustainable Landscapes Program. She currently teaches the Introduction to Sustainable Design course, the first in the Sustainable Landscapes Program series, providing an overview of all aspects of sustainable design.

MS, Urban and Environmental Planning, University of Virginia
BS, Natural Resource Management, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

lammers@csld.edu

Priscilla Novitt '07, Administrative Director

As Administrative Director, Priscilla Novitt ’07 shares responsibility for primary leadership of the school with Executive Director Bruce Stedman ‘78 and Academic Director Ken Byrne. Priscilla spent close to a decade in New York City, where she produced professional development conferences and workshops for artists, implemented peer coaching and training programs for arts leaders, and consulted with artists and arts organizations about strategic planning, federal grant management, and grant writing. She has also helped create a digital archive of historic Northampton city maps, and co-owned a small commercial-scale apiary/hobby gone out of control.

MALD, The Conway School
BA, Psychology, Oberlin College

novitt@csld.edu

Bruce J. Stedman '78, Executive Director

Bruce J. Stedman ’78 has been the Executive Director of the Conway School since 2016. He has more than forty years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, strategic planning, mediation and environmental planning. He has directed seven non-profit organizations and a $6.25M nuclear weapons-related court settlement fund. His fields of interest are marine conservation, nuclear weapons abolition, environmental sustainability and education, climate resilience and regenerative agriculture. Bruce has worked with community groups, NGOs, schools, companies, Native American governments, and public agencies—in the U.S. and 11 other countries. He has taught dispute resolution, environmental affairs, and conservation biology at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Western Washington University.

 

PhD program (ABD), Environmental Policy, MIT
MCP, Environmental Planning, MIT
MALD, The Conway School
BA, Botany + BS, Zoology, University of Washington

 

Ryan Stratton, Admissions and Recruitment Assistant

Ryan Stratton has eleven years of experience working, teaching, and volunteering at educational institutions and is particularly interested in alternative and progressive pedagogies. He joined the Conway School in 2020, coming from an undergraduate admissions office at a small liberal arts college. Ryan lives in Brattleboro, Vermont where he has been appointed as the Weigher of Coal for the town—fortunately, his services have not been required for the past several decades.

BA, Literature and Photography, Marlboro College

stratton@csld.edu

Kristin Thomas '10, Projects Manager

Kristin Thomas

Kristin Thomas ’10 is the Student Projects Manager at the Conway School. From meeting with new clients and writing project proposals, to transitioning the projects to the student teams, she works to ensure that the selected projects provide a challenging and unique learning opportunity for the students while also meeting client goals. She has an extensive background in horticulture, garden design, and site work, along with several years in the field of regional planning.

MALD, The Conway School
BS, Outdoor Recreation Management, University of Vermont School of Natural Resources

thomas@csld.edu

Michele VanLandingham, Development Coordinator

Michele VanLandingham joined the Conway School in 2018 and is the Development Coordinator. This is her first rodeo working within the world of development. She spent close to twenty years working in the natural skin care industry as an ingredient specialist. Michele lives in Turners Falls, MA tending to her two teenage children, elderly beagle named Bucky, and beloved perennial and herb gardens.

MEd, University of Maine
BA, History, Canisius College

vanlandingham@csld.edu

Dave Weber '15, Campus Manager

Dave Weber ’15 works to ensure the smooth functioning of the school’s facilities as well as the implementation and maintenance of the school’s landscape. He works with students throughout the year to troubleshoot their technology questions and often joins the class for ecology fieldwork sessions.

Outside Conway, Dave serves his hometown of Williamsburg on its Mill River Greenway Committee and Woodland Trails Committee, helping to plan the extension of a regional multi-use trail and design, build, and maintain a network of trails for public recreation. He is an avid cook, photographer, traveler, canoeist, and general lover of the outdoors among other things.

MSED, The Conway School
BA, Peace and Justice Studies, Tufts University

weber@csld.edu

Elaine Williamson '11, Events Manager and Alum Coordinator

At Conway, Elaine Williamson ’11 has the roles of Registrar, Alumni Liaison, Event Coordinator, and Librarian. Elaine received her undergrad degree in psychology and worked in the mental health field for a number of years before going back to school at Conway. She has been the host of the Belchertown (Elaine’s) Plant Swap since 2003. Elaine became a Master Gardener in 2007 and has lectured on a variety of gardening topics. After Conway she worked as the administrator for the Hampden/Hampshire County Conservation District and operated her own residential design business. Mom to three grown sons and married for forty years this summer, Elaine is a pet lover and plant geek.

MALD, The Conway School

williamson@csld.edu