Sunday, October 1, 2023

Adirondack area school district, non-profits welcome new hires


Loon on Adirondack lake

Several Adirondack area non-profit organizations and school districts have recently welcomed new staff members including The Adirondack Council and Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the Adirondack Sports Council, and the Raquette Lake Union Free School District. Please see below for details on these new hires and look for another roundup of new staff announcements on The Adirondack Almanack website tomorrow.



Rebecca Sutter named new Raquette River Watershed Coordinator

Rebecca Sutter is New Raquette River Watershed Coordinator

Rebecca Sutter. Photo provided by John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council.

Raquette Lake, NY- The Adirondack Council and Northern Forest Canoe Trail are happy to announce that Paul Smith’s College professor Rebecca Sutter has been hired as the Headwaters Coordinator in the Raquette River Watershed.



Sutter will be working with both NFCT and the Council to build capacity among local stakeholders such as lake associations, government officials, business owners and environmental groups to best address pressures to watershed health that span across many jurisdictions. She will be reporting to Council and NFCT staff in a position funded through a New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program grant.



Raquette River is one of the major watersheds originating in the Adirondack Park and connecting Adirondack communities like Blue Mountain Lake, Raquette Lake and Long Lake on its way to the international St. Lawrence River and Seaway. Water quality issues in the headwaters can have adverse impacts on communities, people and nature hundreds of miles away, and the Headwaters Coordinator is meant to bring a sense of camaraderie and mutual support to invested people across the region.



Sutter will maintain her position at Paul Smith’s College and work part-time as the Headwaters Coordinator.



“The waterways of the Adirondacks form the nexus of our ecology, economies and culture. Likewise, recreation occupies a very similar space,” said Karrie Thomas, Executive Director of NFCT. “Becky’s background, connections and passion for paddling will help us find commonalities and positive outcomes in this effort to build the capacity of the lake associations at the headwaters of the Raquette River watershed.”



“Becky’s knowledge of hydrology and Adirondack history means she deeply understands the value of water to Adirondack communities and ecology,” said Jackie Bowen, the Adirondack Council’s Director of Conservation. “We are thrilled she will bring this expertise and passion to the Campaign to facilitate increased support and management of the Raquette River Headwaters alongside dedicated Lake Associations and partners.”



“The thousands of lakes, ponds, and miles of streams found in the Adirondacks are the lifeblood of the many human (and non-human) communities here,” Adirondack Council Clean Water Advocate Blake Neumann said. “The Headwaters Campaign is focused on creating new partnerships in these communities to enhance collaboration and ensure that the groups working to steward these critical resources have the support they need. We are thrilled to welcome Becky as our Headwaters Coordinator and are confident that her lifetime of experiences living, working, and recreating in the Park will be of immense benefit to the region in this exciting new role.”


“I believe we all have a role in protecting our waters,” Sutter said. “As stewards, we find the power to affect change in our own lives and in our communities. The Raquette River has given me so much. So I have a responsibility to give back to these communities. It’s very important that we understand our history of resilience will be tested with changing climate patterns and more directly, that it will affect our fragile watershed economies and ecosystems. In fact, we are being tested already. For our children, there is so much at stake. We must act quickly to teach them their role as stewards so it is a great opportunity to bring together the Lake Associations to face these challenges as a collective force for positive change.”


About the Adirondack Council:

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks. The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests and vibrant, diverse, welcoming safe communities. Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States. To learn more, visit

About the Northern Forest Canoe Trail:

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. The trail showcases the mix of landscapes and communities currently lining the traditional routes used by indigenous peoples, settlers and guides. It is the longest in-land water trail in the nation and consists of 23 rivers and streams, 56 lakes and ponds, 45 communities and 75 portages. To learn more, visit



Adirondack Sports Council names new Chief Executive Officer

Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith named Adirondack Sports Council’s new Chief Executive Director. Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Sports Council (ADKSC).

Lake Placid, NY- The Adirondack Sports Council (ADKSC) announced today that Tracy Smith will become its new Executive Director. Smith succeeds Ashley Walden, who after five years leading the ADKSC, was named the President and CEO of NYS Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) on Aug. 21, 2023.

“The ADKSC is excited to welcome Tracy Smith as its new Executive Director,” states James McKenna, Chair of the ADKSC board. “Tracy’s leadership, experience and passion will lead the Sports Council to new levels using sports tourism as an economic driver throughout the Adirondacks and beyond. We  thank Ashley Walden for her leadership with the ADKSC and the World University Games as we eagerly look forward to working with her as CEO of the NYS Olympic Regional Development Authority.”

Smith takes on her new role after serving as the ADKSC’s Director of Brand, Marketing and  Communications for January’s Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games. In that role, she was responsible for developing and overseeing the Games’ strategy, planning and delivery of seven functional areas to include brand look, communications, marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and merchandising, ceremonies and sustainability and legacy. She was also a primary senior-level interface with the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and other local, state, and national authorities related to the planning and delivery of the multi-sport winter competition and cultural festival. The long-time Lake Placid resident is also the principal for Smith Creative, a digital design and marketing company she’s owned since 2013 and prior to that she was the creative director for Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc., based in Cohoes, N.Y.

As Executive Director, she will be responsible for leading the ADKSC’s continued efforts to attract and  assist national and international sporting events in the Adirondack Region and throughout New York State. This will serve to drive international exposure and interest in New York State and bolster the growth of the state’s economy with sustainable employment and business opportunities.

“I consider it a great honor to step into the role of Executive Director of the ADKSC. Inspired by Ashley’s remarkable track record, I am eager to advance her legacy of success. It is my goal to ensure that the north country region and the State of New York continue to serve as a beacon for national and international sports events,” said Smith.

Last winter, the ADKSC served as the local organizing committee to the 31st winter edition of the FISU World University Games. Between January 12-22, 2023, collegiate-athletes (ages 17-25) and delegates from 50 nations and almost 600 universities participated in 12 winters sports and 86 events throughout  Lake Placid and New York State’s north country region. Since then, the ADKSC (501c3) has become the official organizing committee to the Empire State Winter Games and the Wilmington Whiteface 100k and 50k Mountain Bike Race. Most recently, the Council is partnering with Schroon Lake’s Adirondack  Marathon Distance Festival, to provide an updated website, additional marketing and promotion strategies, organization of volunteers and during the Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2023, event, the Council will assist with on-site activities.

For more information about the Adirondack Sports Council go to

About the Adirondack Sports Council:

Powering sport sustainability in the Adirondacks and beyond through Save Winter, the Adirondack Sports  Council (501c3) served as the official organizing committee to the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games. The Adirondack Sports Council is also the official organizing committee for the Empire State Winter Games, the Wilmington Whiteface 100k and 50k Mountain Bike Race and the Adirondack Marathon.


Raquette Lake Union Free School District hires new superintendent


Raquette Lake, NY-  The Board of Education for the Raquette Lake Union Free School District hired a new superintendent of schools at their Monday night [Aug. 28] meeting.


The new district leader is Stephen Shafer, a retired educator from Malone. He is set to start work on Sept. 1.


He’s been in contact with current Superintendent Richard Rose about coordinating through the transition. Rose announced this spring his plans to retire.


Shafer currently works as a part-time curriculum coordinator for the Malone Central School District. His last full-time position before his retirement was 12 years as district superintendent for Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES. Prior to that, he served as assistant superintendent and then superintendent for Malone CSD, and he also has experience as a principal, school improvement coordinator and teacher.


The school district sends its 10 students to classes at the Town of Webb Union Free School District. The superintendent position takes an estimated 12 to 20 days of work each year, and it consists of budget and documentation duties, as well as overseeing the school building and staff who work there. The school building is mainly used as a community center and houses some municipal offices.


On July 26, board members interviewed three candidates for the position. Contract negotiations with Shafer happened throughout the last month, and the board officially appointed Shafer to the position on Monday night.


Current FEH BOCES District Superintendent Dale Breault Jr. assisted with the job search, one of the core duties a BOCES provides to the school districts it serves.


Photo at top courtesy of the Raquette Lake Union Free School District.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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