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LRCS Staff


Steve Molnar 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.  

Kelly Newman Burnham teaches the Middles and works as the Administrative Assistant at Little River.  She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus on Child Development, and a Master of Science in Teaching, both from SUNY Potsdam.  After teaching in various public schools, Kelly and her husband Todd made the commitment to homeschool their three children.  Kelly homeschooled for 14 years, teaching two of their children right through high school.  Kelly brings 20 years of teaching experience to our school.

Kelly is a 200 hour registered yoga teacher, with special certificates in Little Lotus for Kids yoga ages 18 months through 18 years.  She is currently working toward her 500-hour RYT.  She offers classes to the Little River students at all grade levels, sharing her passion for yoga with the school.  Kelly has worked as a professional photographer, photographing weddings, family and pet portraits, and has sold images to a veterinary clinic for use in their advertising.  She was the acting Editor in Chief for the book Hands on Health: Taking Your Vibrant, Whole Health Back into Your Healing Hands by local author Paula Youmell.  Kelly’s love and faith in natural holistic healing made this project a joy for her, and she looks forward to more editorial work in the future.  In her "free" time, Kelly enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, power walking, riding her Harley, and caring for their menagerie of animals.

Aubree Keese 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.

Leon Sawyko 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.