Board of Directors

ken aaron

Ken Aaron loves telling a good story – and helping people and organizations find creative, compelling ways to share the things that make them special. He is a partner in GreatRange, a Saranac Lake branding and communications firm, and has done work for Brandeis College, Manhattanville College, The Nature Conservancy, the Wild Center, College for Every Student, and several other clients. After moving to the Adirondacks in 2006, Ken became director of communications for Paul Smith’s College, where his duties included editing the alumni magazine, Sequel. Before that, he spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. His work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Adirondack Life and several others. He is an alumnus of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Johns Hopkins University. Ken lives in Saranac Lake with his wife, Hadley Kruczek-Aaron, and two children. He skis in the winter, hikes in the summer, and is addicted to crossword puzzles and coffee year-round.

doug deneen

After years writing, producing and editing commercials promoting WABC7 in New York City and training writer/producers at TV stations and cable networks throughout the US, Canada and the UK, Doug Deneen recently retired as a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America. Born in Warren, Ohio, he received a BA degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University. An award-winning photographer, he received regional NEA grants and was juried into shows at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Doug and his husband now own TREES Adirondack Gifts and Books in Bolton Landing, a shop featuring authors, artists and jewelers inspired by Lake George. Twice selected for ACW’s Anne LaBastille MemorialWriters Residency, his personal essays can be found in RA Press publications and Adirondack Life magazine.

dorothy federman

Dorothy Federman grew up in Philadelphia, PA. and then attended Barnard College in NYC where she majored in Philosophy followed by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for medical school.  She trained in Calgary, Alberta as a resident, worked in Canada and England and then moved to Saranac Lake in 1975 when she and her husband Jay joined Dr. Frank Trudeau at Medical Associates. They both continue in medical practice.  Her husband’s grandfather came here with TB in 1908, so they feel deep ties through their own family and through Frank Trudeau. She has a lifelong love of reading and writing and of course huge respect for writers and the words they use.  Additionally, she have a strong interest in Public Education and has worked with ACW for some years in local public schools. Her other very strong interests, in addition to her love of the outdoors, are piano chamber music, Planned Parenthood, and the Trudeau Institute.

nancy lester

Nancy Lester taught high school English in public and private schools in New York for thirty years.  She has A.B. from Brown University and an M.A. from New York University; both degrees are in English and American Literature.  She has served on the board of The Mountain School of Milton Academy and has volunteered with numerous cultural and educational institutions in New York City.  Since her retirement from teaching three years ago she has been writing a memoir.  Nancy has been coming to the Adirondacks her entire life and was a camper at Camp Navarac on Upper Saranac Lake in the late 1960s.  She is a “23-er,” having climbed half of the high peaks.  Nancy has one son and a Labrador Retriever, both of whom are avid hikers.  

jerry mcgovern

Jerry McGovern is an adjunct lecturer in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Communications Department. He wrote an award-winning column for the Press-Republican, in addition to coordinating the newspaper’s educational outreach program, and now reviews books for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. His poetry has been published in The English Journal and Scholastic Scope. He has contributed to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and Dick Gordon’s “The Story.” He has judged submissions for the ACW’s literary contest for many years. He lives in Peru, NY, with his wife, Barbara.

Pam Palumbo

In this age of specialization, Pam is proud to call herself a “generalist” with experience in all facets of development and nonprofit management. She has created fundraising programs from the ground up, led capital and annual campaigns, designed both cultivation and fundraising events, supervised development staff, and developed short and long term strategies to build organizational capacity. Pam received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Seton Hall University. She has also achieved the following certifications: Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Association of Fundraising Professionals, Certificate in Leadership & Excellence in Nonprofit Management, University of Wisconsin, Certificate in Human Services Management, Rutgers University, Certificate in Nonprofit Management, Center for Public Service, Seton Hall University. Since 2000, Pam has raised over $25 million in annual fund revenue and $12 million in capital campaign revenue. Pam has been a featured speaker in the AFP – NJ Chapter program series presenting “Growing a Major Gifts Program from the Ground Up,” and has presented fundraising workshops at Drew University and Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center. For her exemplary accomplishments in fundraising, Pam was chosen a 2009 Fundraising Star by Fundraising Success Magazine and received the 2010 Robert J. Smythe Outstanding Professional Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, New Jersey Chapter.

Nancy Rosenthal

Nancy Rosenthal served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Lake Placid Center for the Arts and is currently a member of the LPCA and an NCPR underwriter.


Gary Smith has spent his working life in the Hotel Business.  After living in Ithaca, New York, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, Albany, NY, Lake Harmony, PA, Marco Island, FL, and back to Albany.  Gary and Kathie purchased a vacation home in Lake Placid in 1999, and they moved permanently to Lake Placid in 2015. Gary has served on the boards of numerous not for profit organizations including as Chair of the Eastern NY Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and as a Director of WMHT Public Television.  Gary currently serves on the boards of the New York Archives Partnership Trust, is on the Community Advisory Board of WAMC Radio, as well as Treasurer of the Adirondack Film Society where he is also serving as the Director of the 2018 Lake Placid Film Forum.  Since moving to Lake Placid, he has also been closely involved with John Brown Lives and is the Co-Producer of The Blues at Timbuctoo. He currently lives with his wife Kathie in Lake Placid and on Upper Saranac Lake.

Previous board members

  • Rob Carr
  • Michael Coffey
  • Betsy Folwell
  • Dr. Rich Frost
  • Amy Godine
  • Tony Holtzman
  • Craig Milewski
  • Marilyn McCabe
  • Rachel Person
  • Deborah Roedel
  • Mary Sanders Shartle
  • Chris Shaw
  • Izzie Worthen

Advisory Board

Russell Banks

Russell Banks is the internationally acclaimed author of eighteen works of fiction, including the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, The Book of Jamaica and Lost Memory of Skin, and six short story collections, as well as several works of non-fiction, most recently Voyager: Travel Writings.  Banks has been a PEN/Faulkner Finalist (Affliction, Cloudsplitter, Lost Memory of Skin) and a Pulitzer Prize Finalist (Continental Drift, Cloudsplitter).  Banks is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was New York State Author (2004-2008).  He lives in upstate New York with his wife, the poet Chase Twichell. Website.

Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne is a California born, Brooklyn based writer, educator, activist, mentor, and curator. While Mahogany L. Browne was coordinating the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam at New York’s Brooklyn campus of Pratt InstitutePBS NewsHour featured her poem, a Brief But Spectacular take on “Black Girl Magic” and the struggles facing African-American women in modern society.

Joseph bruchac

Joseph Bruchac, Abenaki writer and traditional storyteller, lives in northern New York in the house where he was raised by his grandparents.  Author of over 130 books, his experiences include running a college program in a maximum security prison and teaching in West Africa.

adam falkner

Dr. Adam Falkner is an artist, researcher and educational consultant. He is the author of Adoption, winner of the 2017 Diode Editions Chapbook Award, and his work has appeared in a range of literary and academic publications as well as on programming for HBO, NBC, NPR, BET, Upworthy, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, and Special Projects Director for Urban Word NYC, a nationally acclaimed youth literary arts organization. A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam has toured the United States as a guest artist, lecturer and trainer for thousands of students, educators and culture workers, and was the featured performer at President Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Education from Columbia University, and B.A. in Creative Writing & Sociology from the University of Michigan.

Sue halpern

Sue Halpern’s sixth and most recent book, A Dog Walks Into A Nursing Home, was published in May, 2013 by Riverhead. She has written for any number of magazines–from Rolling Stone to The New Yorker and everything in between: The New York Times Magazine, Glamour, The New York Review of Books, Good Housekeeping, Mother Jones, and Conde Nast Traveler to name more than a few. At Middlebury College, where Sue is a scholar-in-residence, she runs the Narrative Journalism Fellowship, and at The New York Review of Books, she is the editor of NYRB Lit, the electronic imprint of NYR Books.  She is also the human half of a therapy dog team, was a Rhodes Scholar and a Guggenheim Fellow, and remains hopeful that ice cream is the key to world peace.

Christine jerome

Christine Jerome is a former managing editor of Car and Driver and New England Monthly magazines. Her work has also appeared in Boston Globe Magazine, Outside, Adirondack Life, and Countryside.  She is the author of An Adirondack Passage: The Cruise of the Canoe Sairy Gamp, now in its third edition. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Christine McDonald

Christine McDonald was the Director at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls for 33 years and in her time initiated and coordinated the library’s popular film program in 1980. She applied for and received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, as well as increased business and foundation support for the program. She started the Black History Month Film Program in 1999 with the cooperation of the Glens Falls Chapter of the NAACP. She served as the treasurer for the New York State Library Association through 2013, and is athe secretary for Saratoga Opera (formerly the Lake George Opera), as well a as a member of the board of the Glens Falls Medical Mission and is a Glens Falls Rotarian.

Bill mckibben

Bill McKibben is the author of a dozen books on environmental issues, and the founder of, the world’s main grassroots global climate campaign. He recently was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel prize.’

Ellen Rocco

Born and raised and schooled in Manhattan, Ellen Rocco moved to the North Country farm she still lives on in 1971. She has been at the station since 1980; station manager since 1985. Ellen served six years on the NPR Board (tenure ended about 18 months ago), and has been a panelist for CPB, the NYS Council on the Arts, and other media and cultural organizations. She’s at NCPR because it’s great to do good work…in this place. She has never had ambitions to climb the ladder to bigger, better known stations. She works there because she lives there, and is part of that community.

JOn sands

Jon Sands is a writer known for electric readings, and the author of  The New Clean (2011, Write Bloody Publishing). His work has been featured in The New York Times, published widely in various journals, and anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2014. He starred in the award winning web-series Verse: A Murder Mystery from Rattapallax Films, is the co-founder of Poets in Unexpected Places, and a facilitator with the Dialogue Arts Project. He is a Youth Mentor with Urban Word-NYC, and teaches creative writing for adults at both Bailey House in Harlem (an HIV/AIDS service center) and the Positive Health Project (a syringe exchange in Manhattan). He tours extensively, but lives in Brooklyn.

Bill Smith

Bill Smith, who’s also well known as a traditional Adirondack ash splint basket maker and storyteller, learned old songs as a boy from his mother and from the radio.  Here he talks about his early life on the Featherbed section on the northwestern foothills of the Adirondacks, his early musical influences, getting his first guitar as a boy, how itinerant local men shaped his love of stories and storytelling, his career as a performer of old   songs and stories in the last 30 years, writing his own songs, and planning for a show— for local audiences and for outsiders.

Chase Twichell

Chase Twichell’s most recent book is Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon, 2010), which won both the Kingsley Tufts Award and the Balcones Poetry Prize. A new book, Now’s Dream, is forthcoming in 2018. She lives in Keene with her husband, the novelist Russell Banks.

Lauren Whitehead

Lauren Whitehead is a writer, performer and MFA recipient in Dramaturgy (Columbia University). She writes in several forms including poetry, nonfiction, adaptations and drama. Her writings have been published in Apogee Journal, Winter Tangerine, HEArt Online Journal and in selected anthologies including Break Beat Poets, Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. Most recently, Lauren adapted Ta-Nehisi Coates’ award winning memoir, “Between the World and Me,” for staging at the Apollo Theater and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (Dir. Kamilah Forbes). Lauren teaches dramaturgy and playwriting at The New School in New York.

Fran Yardley

Writer, retreat director, storyteller, and workshop leader, Fran is committed to exploring diverse ways to use storytelling for healing. As co-founder and Executive Director of Creative Healing Connections for sixteen years, she led retreats for women with cancer and chronic illness and women veterans. Currently she is writing a book, Finding True North: A history of one small corner of the Adirondacks. She has four recordings of stories.

Let’s look forward to the future together.

Help ACW continue to support you through the coming months. The future might feel overwhelming, but ACW is committed to infusing joy into your life with upcoming programming! With your continued support, ACW can offer new online classes every month, story nights, a discussion series, writing workshops for teens, and more for all ages.

Make this winter amazing for the ACW family. Be a part of ACW. Give now.