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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.  He serves on the governing board and travels internationally for meetings.

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’s degree 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.  Her youngest is in the Olders room at Little River.  Kelly brings 20 years of teaching experience to our school.

Kelly also works as a photographer.  She photographs weddings, senior and family portraits, pet portraits, and macro and nature images.  Kelly’s most recent professional endeavor was acting as 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 gardening, practicing yoga, power walking, riding her Harley, and caring for their menagerie of animals.

Carrie Chandler is the Youngers teacher.  She attended Clark University in Worcester, MA and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Race and Ethnic Relations as well as Spanish, which gave her the opportunity to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain. One year later, she also received her Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from Clark. Carrie has seven years teaching experience working with students from economically, culturally and linguistically diverse populations.  She also has six years of experience working with the Open Circle curriculum, meeting with students to discuss skills such as giving and receiving compliments, including one another, confronting mean teasing, navigating social relationships and solving interpersonal, as well as intrapersonal problems.

Carrie is thrilled and grateful to call herself the next-door neighbor of Birdsfoot Farm. She enjoys spending time with her close friends, includingher two tuxedo cats, King Louis and Leo the Lion. Carrie has a passion for reading, gardening, cooking, and quilting, though much of her free time is spent training, playing and teaching the Afro-Brazilian Martial Art of Capoeira..

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.