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Sara Lyons, Art

B.F.A. in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a M.A.T. in Visual Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. Ms. Lyons has taught art to students in high school in Michigan and Maryland, as well as through shorter programs around the pioneer valley. She has experience as an editor, in galleries, and as a board member at Artspace. She joined Four Rivers in 2012.

Elizabeth Beardslee, Spanish and 9th grade Science.

BA, Biology, Brown University ; MA, Spanish Literature, Middlebury College . Ms. Beardslee established an interdisciplinary ESL curriculum at the Monteverde Friends School , a middle/high school in Costa Rica and has taught Spanish and led school innovation at The Field School in Washington , DC . She returns to her science roots, teaching the Environmental Science class.  She joined Four Rivers in 2009.

Mike Bukowick, Title 1 Teacher

B.A. in Sociology, University of Virginia; M.L.A., UMass-Amherst; M.Ed., UMass-Amherst. Mr. Bukowick has taught History and English at the High School and Middle School levels in Springfield, Northampton and here at Four Rivers, and previously taught Math and Science at the equivalent of High School level using New Zealand National Curriculum, as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Solomon Islands. He has lived, worked and travelled in a wide variety of places and occupations, and now does some illustration on the side.

Deborah Chamberlain, 11th and 12th Grade Assistant Teacher

B.S. in Education and Biology from North Adams State College (now MCLA). Ms. Chamberlain lives in Wendell and has been teaching Wellness at the Francis Parker Charter Essential School in Devens for the past 16 years. Deborah worked for 3 years prior to that at NYC Outward Bound and 8 years at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound in Florida. She joined Four Rivers in 2013.

Kate Conant, Academic Support Director

B.A., English and Community Service, Univ. of Massachusetts; M. Ed. In Special Education, Univ. of Massachusetts. Mrs. Conant's experience includes fourteen years special learning needs experience at Great Falls Middle School in the Gill-Montague District and five years at the Guilford, VT. Central Middle School. She is certified in Special Needs and joined Four Rivers in 2006.

Anneke Dunnington, 7th Grade English/Social Studies

BA in Fine Arts, Alfred University; M.A.T., Marlboro College.  Ms. Dunnington taught humanities and history at the Kindle Farm School, student taught at the Brattleboro middle and high schools, and taught 7th grade social studies for 1 year at Mohawk Regional.  She also has deep interests in farming and various arts.  She joined Four Rivers in 2017.

Susan Durkee, Assistant Principal and Co-founder

B.F.A. in Sculpture; M.F.A. in English, University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Ms. Durkee has experience teaching Art in grades K-6 and teaching writing at the college level, and was a member of the Friends and Faculty Network at UMass, an organization to which one is nominated for outstanding service to students with learning disabilities. She joined Four Rivers in 2002.

Bob Etzweiler, Nature

B.A. in Psychology from Penn State University. Mr. Etzweiler has over 15 years experience teaching nature through summer programs and other wilderness programs near his home in Putney, VT and in Pennsylvania where he is from. He joined Four Rivers in 2011.


Anita Falco, 7th and 8th Grade Assistant Teacher

Anita has earned Highly Qualified Status as a paraprofessional and certifications through the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Anita was a Special Education Instructional Assistant in the Worcester Public Schools from 1997 to 2004 and for the Greenfield Public Schools until 2008, most recently coordinating an after school Community Learning Center through the Hampshire Educational Collaborative. She has extensive related volunteer and workshop experience and joined Four Rivers in 2009.

Jessica Farwell, 8th grade Math

B.A., Psychology, Bard College. M.Ed., Science Teacher Education, UMass-Amherst. MA Institute for New Teachers, Boston. Ms. Farwell has taught math and science to middle school students for over 10 years in various schools, including the Chicken Coop School, PVPA, and Hilltown Charter. She also taught for 2 years in our own Div 2 at Four Rivers. Jess joined Four Rivers in 2005 and again in 2015.

William Fogel, School Psychologist and Counselor (Part Time)

Ph.D., Child Clinical Psychology, St. John’s University; B.A., Psychology and Education, Hampshire College. Certified as a school psychologist. Dr. Fogel has worked in clinical and school settings for 10 years and most recently served as school psychologist in the Greenfield Public Schools. He joined Four Rivers in 2005.


Peter Garbus, Principal and Head of School

B.A. in History/Writing/Education, Brown University ; M.Ed. in Teaching, Harvard University . Mr. Garbus has been the founder and director of the North Central Charter Essential School in Fitchburg , a grade 7 – 12 school somewhat larger than Four Rivers. He is certified as a principal in Massachusetts . He previously taught for many years at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens , MA and was part of the inaugural faculty of an innovative public high school in Arizona . He joined Four Rivers in 2007.

Marc Guillaume, 8th Grade Science

BA in Philosophy, SUNY Albany; M.Ed. UMass Amherst.  Mr. Guillaume has been teaching middle school science at the International School of Dakar, Senegal for the past four years.  Prior to that, he taught middle school science for 3 years at Amherst MS, 4 years at Greenfield MS, and 1 year in West Springfield.  He joined Four Rivers in 2017.


Anne Haxo, 9th and 10th Grade Learning Specialist

B.A. Education/Special Needs, Elms College. Ms. Haxo has three years experience in Special Education at the elementary and middle school levels prior to joining the Four Rivers faculty in 2003. She is certified in Special Needs (K-9). She joined Four Rivers in 2003.

Bethany Hobbs, 9th and 10th Grade Social Studies

B.A. in Applied Linguistics and Spanish, Union University; M.A. in Social Justice, SIT Graduate Institute; M.A. in Teaching Social Justice Curriculum, Marlboro College Graduate School. Ms. Hobbs has been teaching 7th grade humanities for the past 5 years.  She established an English educational program at El Ayudante, a non-profit organization in Leon, Nicaragua, and comes to Four Rivers after teaching 7th and 8th grade humanities at Compass School in Westminster, Vermont. Ms. Hobbs also serves as a faculty member with the Vermont Governor's Institute and travels with international students through World Learning's Youth Leadership and Peacebuilding programs. She joined Four Rivers in 2012.

Zach Jakub, Music

B.A. in Music Education, Keene State College, Keene, NH.  Zach spent 13 years teaching music at the Northwood School in Lake Placid, NY before moving back to this area where he grew up.  Mr. Jakubhas also worked as a raft guide and is an experienced kayaker.  He joined Four Rivers in 2016. 


Sara Katz,, 11th and 12th grade Math

B.A., Math and Psychology, Smith College; M.A., Adolescent Math Education, Brooklyn College. Ms. Katz taught math at a small project-based school in NYC, the Essex Street Academy for 8 years and for 3 years prior to that at a vocational school in New York. She joined Four Rivers in 2018.


Matthew Leaf, Dean of Students

B.A. Anthropology with a minor in Religion, Kenyon College. Mr. Leaf has 8 years of middle school classroom experience, and is also trained to teach Nature Studies and Outdoor Education. He joined Four Rivers in 2003.

Daniel Lederer, Director of Technology

Mr. Lederer attended New Hampshire Vocational Technical College, Berklee College of Music in Boston, and City College of San Francisco and has had web design and systems administration positions in private industry. He has had technology and teaching roles at area schools, including 10 years at Hilltown Cooperative Charter School in Haydenville. He joined Four Rivers in 2005.

Amanda Locke, 7th Grade Science and Math

B.A. Communication Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies, Hamilton College; M.S. Environmental Education with Middle School General Science Certification, Antioch New England Graduate School. She has experience as an Outdoor Educator and as a Life Skills teacher and Wilderness Trip leader with teens prior to joining Four Rivers as a founding faculty member in 2003.

Felix Lufkin, Nature Asistant

B.A., plant medicine at Hampshire College. Mr. Lufkin works with K-12 and college students at a number of programs in the Valley teaching nature awareness and homestead skills. He joined Four Rivers in 2008, working with the nature program and helping to nurture the Blatchford Garden.

Amanda McNamara, Wellness (Health and Physical Education);

B.A. Sociology and Anthropology, Wells College; M.A Social Work, Smith College. Ms. Griffith has had dual interests and experience in counseling adolescents at the Academy at Swift River, and an early college major in Physical Education, including as co-captain of her Wells College soccer team. She joined Four Rivers in 2005.

Jackie MacNeish, 8th Grade English and Social Studies

B.A. in English Literature from Grinnell College and a Masters of Arts in Environmental Leadership and Experiential Education from Naropa University. Ms. MacNeish taught English and other subjects at the Academy at Swift River for 3 years and she taught multiple subjects for 2 years at the Antrim Girls Shelter School in New Hampshire. She's worked in outdoor and adventure programs and has worked and traveled in many parts of the world. She joined Four Rivers in 2013.

Jeanne Milton, Nurse (Part Time)

RN, St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing, Providence , RI. Ms. Milton is experienced in all aspects of nursing and knows the local community health resources well. Her 27 years of practice in the local community includes 12 years as an emergency room and ICU nurse. She joined Four Rivers in 2007.

Andy Patari, 11th and 12th Grade Science

B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Pittsburg; M.S. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England. Mr. Patari comes to Four Rivers after teaching experiences at the Compass School in Vermont and two years with the Peace Corps in Guatemala. Mr. Patari is fluent in Spanish and rock climbs, among other interests. He joined Four Rivers in 2012.

Leah Plath, 11th and 12th Grade English

M.A in English Literature, B.A. English, University of Massachusetts. Ms. Plath has teaching experience at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield and is College Board trained in Advanced Placement Instruction for English. She joined Four Rivers in 2007.

Dovrah Plotkin, Division 2 Teacher Assistant

B.A. from Umass Amherst's University Without Walls program, concentrating in the connection between education and psychology with a minor in psychology. She worked as a paraprofessional in both a special education school, and at Brookline High School in Brookline, MA working mostly with students on the autism spectrum. She is also the coach of Girls Varsity Ultimate at Four Rivers, and has been coaching ultimate since 2011. She is also an experienced drummer, and a Four Rivers Alumna. She joined Four Rivers in 2017.

Terry Plotkin, Athletic Director, 7th and 8th Grade Sports

B.A. Economics, University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Mr. Plotkin has worked for several years as a coach of Ultimate Frisbee, and has also run after school programs in Greenfield schools. He joined Four Rivers in 2003 and serves as our Athletic Director.

Rebecca Rice, Spanish

B.A. Spanish Language and Literature/Education, Guilford College. Ms. Rice is a graduate of the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, MA and after leading inter-cultural educational programs in Central and South America, she completed the Parker School’s teacher certification program and taught Spanish there for two years. She joined Four Rivers in 2011.

Lisa Ritchie, 9th and 10th Grade English.

B.A. in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an M.Ed. in English Education from Georgia State University, and an M.S. in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College. Ms. Ritchie returned to Four Rivers after earning her second masters degree. She taught in the Exercise and Sport Studies department, as well as coaching cross country, at Smith College. Ms. Ritchie taught 7th grade humanities at Four Rivers for 2 years and a short stint later filling in for half a year. Before that, she taught high school English and coached at an independent boarding school in Georgia. Lisa also worked three summers with Outward Bound, and 1 year as an Americorps member in Washington state. Lisa returned to Four Rivers in 2014.
Elizabeth Rodriguez Salas, 7th and 9th grade Spanish.

B.A., Spanish, UMass Amherst. Having grown up in Chile, Ms. Salas taught four years at the Academy of Charlemont and several years before that at Mohawk. She joined Four Rivers in 2018.

Jessica Roll, 11th and 12th Grade Learning Specialist

B.A. in Spanish , Bates College ; M. Ed in Spanish and ESL , Boston College ; M.Ed. in Special Education, UMass Boston. Ms. Roll taught special education at the Mystic Valley Charter School in Malden, has taught at Boston International High School and at Brookline High School and also has taught for two years at the Shackleton Expeditionary High School in Ashby , MA . Ms. Roll worked as an assistant farm manager and led at-risk youth repairing trails in the mountains of Oregon . She joined Four Rivers in 2010.

Shuyang Sun, 9th and 10th grade Math

B.S., Math, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; M.A., Math Education, Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from China, Ms. Sun student taught at a high school and middle school in New York City and was a math specialist at the Acera School outside Boston. She joined Four Rivers in 2018.

Robin Sidel, Div 1 Assistant Teacher

B.A. Cultural Anthropology, with a focus on Social Justice and Community Development, UMass-Amherst; Certificate in Human Services, Holyoke Community College. She most recently served as the Project Manager within the Program Development Dept. at the Center for Responsive Schools. Much of her work there was directly involved with the research and development of their new middle school programs. Prior to that she served as Intake Coordinator at the Center for Human Development and also as an Assistant Teacher and Special Needs Coordinator at CAPACIDAD in Amherst (a Cultural Awareness Program in the Arts for Children). She joined Four Rivers in 2017.


Laura Stamas, 9th and 10th Grade Science

B. A Biology, Bard College; M.A. Environmental Studies and Teaching High School Biology, Antioch New England Graduate School. Ms. Stamas has been a Science and Math Teacher at Eagle Mountain School, and a High School Biology Student Teacher at Northampton High School. She joined Four Rivers in 2005.

Andy Stenson, College and Guidance Counselor

B.A. Leeds University ; Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Bristol Polytechnic , England ; M.A., Education, Smith College . Mr. Stenson has extensive teaching experience in technology and special education, and he has also worked as an Outward Bound instructor. He joined Four Rivers in 2004.

Leslie Taylor, Registrar

B.A. American Studies and English, Colby College. Ms. Taylor has worked for many years in non-profit and educational settings in Franklin County, including high school and college admissions, as Executive Assistant at a regional history museum, and as leader an area performing arts center. She joined Four Rivers in 2003.

Amy Wales, Director of Finance and Operations

B.A. Environmental Studies, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA; MBA, UMass Amherst.  Ms. Wales takes over for the retiring Harlan Smith who had been in this position from the beginning of the school.  Ms. Wales spent 11 years working as an auditor and the past 2 years as Finance Director for United ARC.  She also serves on the Finance Committee for the Town of Charlemont.  Amy joined Four Rivers in 2016.

Alex Wilson, 11th and 12th Grade Social Studies

B.A., Political Science, Bates College; M.A. in Teaching, Lewis and Clark College. Mr. Wilson has five years teaching experience, most recently at Conard High School, West Hartford, CT. He also has had some years’ experience playing basketball, coaching, and managing basketball teams and clubs in secondary schools, colleges, summer camps and overseas with an emphasis on athletics as a means for character development. He joined Four Rivers in 2011.

Perri Wexler, 7th and 8th grade Learning Specialist

B.A. and MEd. in Special Education, University of Florida. Ms. Wexler has worked for the past 16 years as an English teacher and Education Coordinator at the Seaport Academy in Charlestown, MA. She has additional years of experience as a Learning Specialist and writing teacher. She joined Four Rivers in 2016.

Carolyn Wood, School Secretary

B.A, English, Boston College; Ms. Wood has many years experience in office management and advertising research and teaching at Full Circle School in Bernardston. She joined Four Rivers in 2004 and subsequently developed the SPED Secretary role. She assumed the role of School Secretary in 2009.