Location & Facilities

The school is located five miles south of Canton, on the Canton-Russell Road.

1227 County Route 25
Canton, NY 13617

Call us at (315) 379-9474 or write to us at steve@littleriverschool.org for more information.

It is a four-classroom schoolhouse situated in a large open meadow adjacent to Birdsfoot organic vegetable farm and intentional community. The school has access to the facilities at Birdsfoot including organic gardens, a large kitchen and beautiful hiking trails.

Directions: From the center of Canton, take Park Street out of town, past St. Lawrence University, 2.2 miles to the blinking yellow light. Turn right onto County Route 25 and continue another 2.7 miles. Little River is on the right, just after Birdsfoot Farm.


Steve Molnar 

Steve is the director and a teacher at Little River Community School. He has a Masters of Science in Special Education from SUNY/New Paltz and New York State Certification in Elementary Education and Special Education K-12. He has over 30 years of experience in alternative, multi-age classroom settings.  Steve is the Olders teacher and teaches Spanish, swimming, and special topics to the other students.

Steve lives at Birdsfoot Farm, an intentional community and organic vegetable farm adjoining the school.  He and his wife Dulli live with their two children in a passive solar house they built together using hand tools.  Steve has worked for the past twenty years with Peace Brigades International, a Gandhian-inspired group that works in areas of violent conflict providing protective accompaniment to human rights defenders.  

Elena Pignone

Elena is the Middles teacher.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (the “Great Books” school.)  After graduating from college, Elena taught high school mathematics and SAT prep classes in a public magnet school in Baltimore County, Maryland.  She then worked in New York City at the national office of a non-profit devoted to helping at-risk families prepare their children for school. She homeschooled two of her own children through middle school.  Elena also served as the Director of Coaching for Potsdam Youth Soccer Association and was involved in training and supporting local coaches. She holds a National “E” License from United States Soccer Federation.  Elena grew up in a bilingual household and loves sharing her love of language and cultures with her students.  She currently lives in Potsdam with her husband and three children.

Leon Sawyko 

Leon teaches science, math and special classes across all ages. He has a Bachelors degree in Geology from Hamilton College and Masters degrees in Geology and Education from the University of Washington. He taught at Gouverneur Middle School for 7 years before resigning to become an at-home parent for his daughters. After 5 years at home, he got the teaching itch again and started at Little River. He lives with his wife and 2 daughters on 20 acres of brush and trouble in Pierrepont.


Little River staff from left to right: Elena, Aubree, Steve and Leon


Aubree Keese

Aubree is the Youngers teacher.  She has a Master's Degree in Education with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction, and Early Childhood, and an undergraduate degree in Childhood Education with a specialization in English, both from SUNY Potsdam. She holds New York State Certification in Education for Birth through Grade 2. Aubree has 10 years of teaching experience ranging from Pre-K through 12th grade, college internship coordination, and life skills training. She has spent many years working in the not-for-profit sector reaching out to assist with the needs of our local community.
Beyond her work in the classroom, Aubree is learning how to become self-sustaining on 40 acres of property in Brasher with her fiance and three children along with their 13-year-old dog, Bruno. Through this process, she has gained an interest in home improvement and design. She also loves to travel, attend rock concerts and community events, and cooking from her mother's collection of recipes.



Parents play a critical role in the development of their child’s individualized curriculum.

Parent participation is also welcome in field trips, outreach, fundraising activities, and maintenance of the building. The families, teachers and students gather every six weeks for all-school meetings and potlucks.

Satellite Program

Little River's Satellite Program meets the needs of families that would like to do part of their program at home with the support of a school.  Satellite students are integrated into school activities, classes and field trips.  The option includes attending Little River from 1-4 days a week, while studying at home on the other days.  Families studying at home receive support with curriculum development, a consulting teacher, resources and assessments.

Our Satellite Program is recognized by the New York State Board of Regents.


Free busing is provided by the family’s local school district within a 15-mile radius of the school. Families seeking busing need to put in a written request to their local district. Busing request forms are available at the school.

Call us at (315) 379-9474 or write us at steve@littleriverschool.org for more information.

Little River is located 5 miles south of Canton on the Canton-Russell Road, 1227 County Route 25.

The Donkey Paddock

Throughout the years, Little River has hosted many various animals including guinea pigs, rats, goldfish, chickens, sheep, goats, cows, and horses.  Right now, the school is home to Sammy, Beanie, and Lily, three miniature donkeys.

The donkeys were donated to Little River by our neighbor Isis Melhado. Our students care for the donkeys and use them as an opportunity to teach the younger students equine safety and  animal ownership responsibilities. 

Also returning to the Middles’ classroom this year is goldfish, Hamilton Nigel Goldie III.