The Thrive Team
Board of Directors / Start-up Team:
Jamie Berger, Executive Director, teaches writing at The University of Massachusetts, where he completed his MFA in Creative Writing in 2010. He has taught, trained, directed teams of instructors, and developed material for the Princeton Review, The College Board, Educational Testing Service, and others. He has an MA in English from City College of New York and BA from Columbia University.
Elizabeth Gardner, Program Director, is a writer, family historian, home educator, and community organizer. Creator and former director of the Gill Summer Reading & Arts Program, and the weekly Story Adventures program, she has worked as a teacher, workshop leader, curriculum developer, author of literacy and enrichment materials, fundraiser, and marketer, to name a few of the positions she's held. She is also an endurance walker/fundraiser and Captain of the Blue-Footed Boobies SGK 3-Day Team, which to date, has raised over $75,000 forSusan G. Komen for the Cure. She received her BA from Williams College.
Anja Schutz, Media Director, is a graphic designer based in Turners Falls, MA. She was voted "Best Visual Artist" in the 2010 Valley Advocate Readers' Poll. She is the sole proprietor of Fruit and Sugar Industries, and is a graduate of the Hallmark Institute of Photography and the Pratt Institute.
Janel Nockleby has an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts and a BA in History and Spanish from the University of Oregon. For many years, she was a project manager for Microsoft. She now works for The Montague Reporter in Turners Falls, MA as circulation manager and poetry page co-editor and at The Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, as a park interpreter.
Michael Phillips is the founder of "Change Greenfield" and "P.O.L.Y." (Power-On Local Youth) - an organization that distributes free computers to under-served young people throughout Franklin County. He is an education reform activist, freelance agitator and musician. Mike served as the East Coast Regional Director with Greenpeace for 10 years before moving to Western MA. He has been the Internet Strategist with the Yankee Candle Company since 2000 and serves on The Board of Directors for The Greenfield Education Foundation. Mike is a high school drop out who attended the Universities of Pittsburgh and Maryland.
Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, PhD, is the author of many books including biographies of Paul Bowles and E.E. Cummings. He is also a translator and poet. Until his retirement in 2006, he taught writing at MIT for over twenty years. From 1998 until 2006 he was a faculty member in the Concourse Program at MIT, an alternative freshmen-year program that provided students tutoring and support to help them succeed at the Institute.
Claire Spencer is an MBA student at the University of Massachusetts. She has over 7 years experience working with small and start-up businesses to develop and improve their operations and growth.
Monte Belmonte is the morning host on WRSI FM, The River. He also produces, writes and hosts segments of WGBY televisions Eco Exchange.
M.I. Berger is Professor Emeritus, Educational Administration and Policy Studies, State University of New York at Albany.
Eugene Mirman is a Comedian and author (Comedy Central, HBO's Flight of the Conchords, et al) and author of The Will to Whatevs. He is a graduate of Hampshire College.
Linda Ackerman is the manager of the Turners Falls Branch of Greenfield Savings Bank.
Bob Diamond is the director of sales forWHAI, WPVQ, WRSI and WHMP radio stations in Greenfield and Northampton. He has been in radio for 30 years. He lives with his wife Karen in South Deerfield.is an advertising account executive for WHAI and Bear Country radio in Western Massachusetts.
Leo Hwang-Carlos received his M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in fiction writing and his B.A. from the University of the South in English and Fine Arts. Mr. Hwang-Carlos is currently the Associate Dean of Humanities at Greenfield Community College and serves as coordinating dean for the Fostering Art and Culture Project, a collaborative project to raise the quality of life for artists and community members through the creative economy. Mr. Hwang-Carlos is also pursuing a doctorate in geography at the University of Massachusetts with a focus on the diverse community economies in Franklin County.
Richard Becker is the Director of Asset Management for the private non-profit Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation. In 2006 Rich started Culture links, a venture that connects teens and young adults from the United States with teens and young adults from other cultures for cultural exchanges and to offer volunteer services. To date he has travelled with groups to Haiti, Ecuador Mexico, Costa Rica and had upcoming plans to visit Vieques Puerto Rico to help improve housing there.
Jennifer Audley, EdM (Harvard, '98), is presently the managing editor of the Responsive Classroom newsletter and website at the Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC). Prior to joining NEFC in 2005, Jennifer worked as an independent educational consultant for companies including publisher McDougal-Littell, MassHousing, the Center for Reflective Community Practice at MIT, and the Boston Cyberarts Festival. Her experience as an educator includes work in K-12 classrooms, developing computer literacy courses for adults in public housing, and leading grant-funded after-school programs for urban youth.
Prior to attending law school, Judith Moman spent over a decade as a union scenic artist working in stage, film and television. She is currently an attorney in the Franklin County Juvenile Court system, a position which allows her to utilize her origins in queer community and radical political organizations to practice delicate negotiations around the usual complex issues of economics, race, gender and class.
Patricia Pruitt is a former Junior college instructor in Literature and Writing, and has also taught EFL in Tokyo, Japan for 2 years. She has worked as a bike messenger, a cook , and a waitress, and Library assistant among other jobs. Most recently she served 2 terms as a selectman in Montague. She holds a B.A. in Ancient Greek and a M. FA in Writing and Poetics from the Naropa Institute.
Rachel Stoler is Co-Coordinator at Community Coalition for Teens.
Nancy Currie-Holmes is a graduate of Turners Falls High School and thirty years later earned a certificate in Computer Information Systems at Greenfield Community College. Nancy has initiated and participates in number of local community projects including the Annual TFHS Alumni Food Drive for the Survival Center and the TF SK8 Park. She is employed at the Turners Falls Water Department. Her most rewarding job is Mom to Zack and Jen.
Sarah Reid is Outreach Director for North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. She was also a co-founder of the Lady Killigrew Cafe in Montague, MA. She is a high school drop-out and Smith College graduate.
Amy Bovaird is currently the Associate Director of the Annual Fund at Amherst College and supports business development for Wolf Tree Programs, an educational organization that teaches wilderness living skills and primitive technologies. She also serves as a Board Member and the Fundraising Committee Chair for the Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity. Amy has a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation and has 8 years fundraising experience.
Kenneth Danford is Executive Director of North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. He has been working intensively with teenagers and their families since 1991. Previously a middle school social studies teacher, first in Prince George’s County, MD, then in Amherst, MA, Ken left the Amherst school system to found North Star. He has a B.A. from Amherst College in Psychology and an M.A.T. in Social Studies from Brown University.