Jess Caruso , Studio Teaching Assistant

Jess comes to Vermont after graduating from UMass Amherst where she studied Architecture. After falling in love with the design/build way during the 2013 semester program, she has been seeking ways to incorporate these principles into her own career and academic pursuits--like building a modern playhaus for toddlers. Jess can’t wait to spend lots of time in the woods, pursuing her new found interest in ballet, and swimming until the water gets unbearably cold.


Eric Cook , Semester Program Director

Eric comes to Yestermorrow from Salt Lake City, Utah where he worked in the design/build arena as both an educator and professional. His love for the design/build process was formally cultivated in a graduate program at the University of Utah but had been kindling in woods and lakes across the country for years. He brings a reverence for precision and planning, technology and modeling, yet embraces the urgent plunge into execution and craft. Eric looks on the art of small-scale design/build as the perfect pairing of the human condition of intellect and action with one of our basic questions of shelter, comfort, repose, and community. eric (at)

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)

Mark Edsell , Operations 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)

Justin Kramer , Woodshop Program Manager

MFA in Applied Design, emphasis in Furniture/Sculpture, San Diego State University; BFA Furniture Design and Ceramics, Herron School of Art and Design

Born and raised in southern Indiana, Justin received traditional training in woodworking and its processes at a young age. His creative work explores the hybridization of science, art and technology, as well as the deepest questions within these fields. Justin’s work can be found in three publications: 500 Cabinets (2011 Lark Books), Mind & Hand Contemporary Studio Furniture (2012 Schiffer Publishing), and San Diego Art Fair Review (2012 San Diego Tribune). Through employing his craft to execute ideas, Justin hopes to engrain students with a cross-disciplinary, open mindset as they engage in the many processes of design-build. Justin’s teaching philosophy is to create a supportive environment for students to explore their own personal talents while gaining new knowledge and inspiration.

Michelle Lee , Kitchen Manager

Michelle grew up in Plymouth Massachusetts where she always loved to cook at home which led her to attend Johnson & Wales University. There she earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management. In 1988, Michelle relocated to Vermont and fell in love with its landscape, culture and "local" food scene.  She enjoys any time spent with her twin daughters, her partner and her cat. She loves hiking, gardening and of course, cooking.

Ryan McHenry , Chef

Ryan grew up on the coast of Maine spending winters skiing and summers living on the ocean. He worked as a organic farmer, boatbuilder and picked up cooking due to a love for local foods and as a way to support a skiing lifestyle in the winter. He's since worked at several well known restaurants on the coast of Maine and elsewhere around the country. Ryan is glad to be back on the east coast and closer to family after spending time in Utah. In his spare time he enjoys reading, disc golf, fishing, outdoor activities with his dog and just about anything involving boats or the snow.

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. 

Meg Reinhold , Chef

Meg Reinhold has been cooking at Yestermorrow since January of 2013. She is a recent transplant to the Mad River Valley, having fallen in love with the area while thru hiking the Long Trail with her husband Nate and their Australian cattle dog, Bubba. She is a painter with a BFA from the Maine College of Art and her kitchen table currently doubles as her studio space.  Although her recent lifestyle could be described as nomadic, she is happy to have found such a beautiful place to settle down and make a home. In her spare time, Meg loves to knit, quilt, garden, go hiking, practice yoga and cook (baking holds a special place in her heart!).  Future goals include mastering a variety of homesteading skills, building her own small house with her husband, and perfecting the art of vegan and gluten free cooking.

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. Kate has served as the Residential Green Building Advocate for the state of Vermont through the US Green Building Council and on the Green Jobs Council at ReSOURCE.   She was a co-founder of the Mad River Valley Localvores, a grassroots group focused on promoting and educating about local food and currently serves on the board of the Urban Death Project. kate (at)

Dave Thurlow , Development and Communications Director

Dave Thurlow came to Yestermorrow with a variety of nonprofit development and program experience. After college he worked as a weather observer on Mount Washington and at the South Pole, and as an educator for Mass Audubon and the Appalachian Mountain Club, before setting out on a career guiding fundraising and management on several  projects. He was the founding director of the Weather Discovery Center Museum, and the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust in North Conway, NH, and the creator and host of a  nationally syndicated radio program called the Weather Notebook. Since coming to Vermont, Dave has done freelance writing and grantwriting, worked for the Vermont Foodbank—where he oversaw the launch of the Kingsbury Farm in Warren—and has been slowly finishing the house he and his wife Judy renovated and live in in East Montpelier. dthurlow (at)

Katie Tomai , Student Services Coordinator

Katie comes to Yestermorrow after five years spent working as an experiential educator in different capacities including leading backpacking trips in CA, working at an outdoor semester school in western NC, and leading a semester program in Nepal. She began taking classes at Yestermorrow in the winter of 2014 and started building a small abode during the Tiny House Design/Build class of that same year. When she’s not at Yestermorrow or finishing the tiny house, she can be found swimming in the river, playing banjo (and telling the requisite jokes about banjo players), or exploring the lovely hills of central VT.

Mike Ulen , Facilities Apprentice

A native of Minnesota, Mike had his eye on Yestermorrow since graduating from Marlboro College, Vermont, in 2012.  Although, his B.A. was in History and Asian Studies he wrote about Danish folk schools, the thinker behind them - N.F.S. Grundtvig, and Chinese timber architecture.  While trying to figure out his life post college he spent ten months in Denmark at a folk school studying just about everything, save making things with his hands.  Having made bows, knives, and wood shavings at North House Folk School in Minnesota and Viking inspired axe heads at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina Mike is eager to explore the design/build process at Yestermorrow.  

Laura Wagner , Woodshop Teaching Assistant

Laura was born and raised in Los Angeles, and studied art and furniture design at San Diego State University. After a few years of working as a retail display artist, she is now pursuing woodworking mastery at Yestermorrow. She is still getting used to Vermont winter.

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)

Kevin Williams , Facilities Apprentice

Kevin grew up in Lawrence, KS but has called his storage unit in Colorado home for the past 12 years.  Ten of those twelve years he found himself traveling to and from Antarctica working for the United States Antarctic Program, an experience that has given him the chance to live a nomadic lifestyle where he enjoys traveling, hiking, bike touring, yoga and any other activities that arise.  He is excited to explore Vermont and hopes to reawaken his creative side in art, craft, woodworking, and design.