Heidi Benjamin , Head Chef
Heidi Benjamin had been catering for Yestermorrow for over 10 years before coming onto the team full time in 2007. We affectionately call her our "favorite lunch lady" as she also did a spell of said job at a local elementary school. During her time as a lunch lady, she helped change the palates of most of the kids to appreciate local and organic whole foods. Before that, she did the same for glider pilots and ride takers alike up at the Dinersoar Deli at Sugarbush Glider Airport. She has worked in cooking for the past 22 years since she finished up at UVM in Burlington, Vermont, majoring in social gerontology and French. heidi (at) yestermorrow.org.
Heidi is the mom of a delightful plethora of 5 step kids and 2 "out of body experiences", and married to her husband, John. She also has two young grandchildren. She enjoys being with her family while either skiing, fishing, camping, cooking, just hanging out and more. An Ipswich, MA native, she now lives in Warren, VT.
Taylor Burt , Chef
Taylor landed in Vermont three years ago, teaching elementary school students about nutrition and local agriculture up in the Northeast Kingdom. Although his academic background is in geology, his true passion lies with all things food, and in particular, rebuilding the relationship between the farmer and the consumer. This passion and a love for the kitchen kept him here where he continued an already diverse culinary career. Now at Yestermorrow, he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to continue building those community connections while cooking up tasty, nourishing food for the students, staff and interns. Outside the kitchen, you’ll find Taylor either climbing around on rocks, running up mountains or digging in the garden with local elementary school kids.
Rachel Cohen , Community Outreach Intern
Hailing from the flatlands of Chicago, Rachel is excited to be surrounded by some trees and mountaintops! While studying engineering at Swarthmore College, she became enraptured by natural and alternative building materials and methods. After spending her post-graduate life working as a structural engineer, Rachel is looking forward to exploring her passions natural building, creative design, and working with her hands.
Susan Davidson , Development and Communications Director
Susan is a fundraiser, writer, dancer, and enthusiastic student of the arts of relationship building and diplomacy. She comes to Yestermorrow with extensive experience in program development and project management from her work in fundraising, book publishing, and grassroots organizing. Having grown up in Chicago, Susan cultivated an early appreciation for architecture on both grand and neighborhood scales. The creative energy and enthusiasm of Yestermorrow interns and students is as inspiring and delightful as a steaming cup of coffee on a sunny morning. Susan is a longtime practitioner of yoga and other movement arts. susan (at) yestermorrow.org.
Paul Denison , Design/Build Intern
Born and raised in Texas, Paul now lives in Northern Ohio where he earned a bachelor's degree at Oberlin College. In addition to studying physics and environmental studies at Oberlin, he found a love of design, woodworking and music. He continued to study woodworking and instrument making both in and outside of school. Since graduating, Paul has taught sailing to inner-city youth in Boston, worked as a carpenter building furniture from reclaimed wood in Cleveland, and taught a gourd banjo building workshop. Paul is excited to be in the hills of Vermont and hopes to explore the intersection of sustainable design/building and urban regeneration during the coming months.
Dan Eckstein , Curriculum Director
BA Literature and Rhetoric, Binghamton University
Dan came to Yestermorrow after a decade working in high schools as a teacher of literature, journalism, and creative writing. He has also worked as a journalist, been involved in the promotion of arts events and festivals, and enjoyed a brief stint as a carpenter. His love for music prompts him to moonlight as a DJ on the Mad River Valley’s community radio station. He lives in Warren with his wife and son.
dan (at) yestermorrow.org
Mark Edsell , Enrollment Director
Mark joined Yestermorrow in 2012 after helping to run a 37 acre organic vegetable farm in a small Vermont village. Prior to that Mark spent the better part of a decade as an activist working on a variety environmental, civil rights, public interest, and corporate accountability campaigns. His interests include hiking, snowshoeing, gardening, world travel, and good socks. He lives in Montpelier with his wife. mark (at) yestermorrow.org.
Jose Galarza , Director of Semester Programs
José Galarza is an architectural designer, builder, and educator whose main interest is to produce work that seeks to reveal the primordial, enduring, and essential character of human shelter. José was the 2010 Program Director for Yestermorrow’s Natural Building Intensive, where he lead a group of ten students to build one of our most ambitious student projects yet, enabling a young couple to become first time homeowners. Before that, as our Community Outreach Coordinator through the VHCB AmeriCorps program, he was able to coordinate class building projects with valuable community clients, such as the Vermont Foodbank’s Kingsbury Farm. jose (at) yestermorrow.org
José enjoys using advanced computer modeling coupled with a rigor towards craft; and, when at all possible, tries to apply systems based thinking at the intersections of regenerative design, fine art, and equal opportunity. He brings to Yestermorrow experience that spans design, planning, project management, information technology, and construction. Before starting his own practice he helped to design an assortment of iconic buildings for two well known and highly acclaimed firms in Europe and the United States. Before that he apprenticed as a fine wood worker producing high end custom pieces, while at the same time receiving a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas in Austin. Through his undergraduate education, he received a Bachelor in English Literature with minor studies in Art and Philosophy. Currently he runs an architectural design studio based out of central Vermont called José Galarza Building Workshop.
Galen Macdonald , Woodshop Intern
Galen comes to Yestermorrow fresh from four years of college at McGill University in Montreal, where he studied Geography with a concentration in Urban Systems. While he's at Yestermorrow he hopes to hike some of the Long Trail, tour the Mad River Valley's swimming holes, and learn to play the guitar. Galen is excited to learn the ins and outs of the Yestermorrow woodshop, and to collaborate with the talented interns, instructors, and students here.
Lisette Paris , Housekeeper
Born in Chicago, Lisette and her family moved to Vershire, VT when she was twelve. She left home to go to Antioch College for three years, majoring in film and minoring in Poly Sci. Afterwards she worked for Loney Construction, Hutch Concrete, Wright + Morrisey and EF Wall until the age of 28 when she became a cabaret performer. She formed Club St Laveau Productions + Kit Kat Klub – An African American takes back the ‘K’, and produced 36 shows in the New England area. She is now producing her third volume of the television show Celluloid Mirror, Comments on the Silver Screen, and her first volume of St Laveau’s House of Horror, a horror movie TV show. She has thirteen nieces and nephews, works very part time at Gendron Building as shop/office/field assistant and is working on an encyclopedia of Royal Houses of Europe and a separate work dealing with modern day saints. She is a self described Midwestern Yankee who also links to think of herself as a Secret Agent Spy.
Lisette Elise Paris, also known as Betty St Laveau, is the eldest of eight children. Her mother was Ochazania Klarich, nee Sharon Ardella Warfield Paris, a dance teacher who brought the djembe to Vermont. Her mother was also an accomplished lecturer of metaphysics, and installed iton sculptures along the Banks of the Upper Connecticut River Valley.
Emily Rice , Design/Build Intern
Emily comes to Yestermorrow from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she's been studying mechanical engineering & dabbling in furniture-building & wood-working. She loves design and loves building and is thrilled to spend some time exploring the intersection of the two. She's particularly interested in historic preservation & adaptive reuse, and hopes to put the skills she learns at Yestermorrow to work in that realm someday!
Leah Stargardter , Design/Build Intern
Leah comes most recently from Madison Wisconsin where she works and lives as a carpenter, a cyclist, an artist, a gardener and a cook. She found her way to Yestermorrow in pursuit of finding a sustainable carpentry niche.
Kate Stephenson , Executive Director
MS, Management, Antioch University New England
BA, Anthropology and Environmental Science, Haverford College
Kate came to Yestermorrow in 2002 with experience planning and facilitating workshops on sustainability education, restoring historic gardens, researching bioenergy projects in developing countries, and promoting land conservation. She is an experienced non-profit manager focused on providing post-secondary educational programs with an emphasis on experiential, collaborative learning environments. Kate is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. Her interests include intentional communities, local foods, preserving rural landscapes, baking, historic preservation and frolicking in the snow. kate (at) yestermorrow.org
Tom Timmel , Operations Manager
Tom is most recently from Alaska, with a stop off on the way to Vermont in upstate New York to get a masters degree in education. He hopes to use his many years of experience in administration to help Yestermorrow continue to provide a high-quality experience to its students. He spends his free time outdoors hiking, skiing, sailing and playing Ultimate. His most memorable wood-working project was a seven foot long, solid-oak kitchen table that was sadly left behind on his cross-country move. tom (at) yestermorrow.org.
Dave Warren , Facilities Manager
With a firm belief in the importance of a creative collaborative relationship between design and building, Dave has found a home at Yestermorrow. He has over 35 years experience in residential and light commercial construction in Oregon as owner/operator of a custom building company and most recently in Vermont as carpenter to project manager for a couple of local contractors. In addition to the use of hand tools and the employment of responsible building practices, Dave enjoys making music, sailing, and politics. dave (at) yestermorrow.org