Board of Trustees

President, Tom James

Thomas James became Provost, Dean of the College, and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Teachers College, Columbia University on July 1, 2007, and is also Professor of History and Education in TC’s Department of Arts and Humanities. Tom was formerly Dean of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Previously, he was Vice Dean and Professor of Educational History at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, and prior to that, a tenured professor at Brown University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. A historian by training, he is the author of Exile Within: The Schooling of Japanese Americans 1942–45.

He also has written on law and the history of education, educational governance and control, and experiential education. As a child, Tom attended the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago, founded by John Dewey.


Treasurer, Matt Stinchcomb

Before heading up the Good Work Institute, Matt was the longest serving employee and the VP, Values, and Impact at In that role he oversaw the stewardship of the company’s vision, mission, and values, and worked to give all employees the means and the desire to maximize the benefit their work has on people and the planet. In 2013, he was named a GOOD Magazine ‘Figure of Progress’. The next year he was named as one of the Purpose Economy 100. In 2016, He became a BALLE Local Economy Fellow.

Matt also serves on the Board of Directors for the Schumacher Center for New Economics (Chair) and Naropa University. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and lives in Rhinebeck, NY with his wife, Benedikta, and their sons, Francis and Lewie.


Alfa Demmellash

Born and raised in Ethiopia, Alfa Demmellash now lives in New Jersey with her husband and two little boys. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Rising Tide Capital, a non-profit organization that provides underserved entrepreneurs with the resources needed to grow successful businesses. Under her leadership for the past 15 years, Rising Tide Capital has run hundreds of Community Business Academies, which provide intensive business management training coupled with year-round coaching and mentorship to over 1,000 entrepreneurs annually. Corporate, foundation, and governmental funders underwrite the cost of tuition for all participants. By building successful businesses, these entrepreneurs meet their families’ basic needs, create opportunities for social mobility, and help transform their local communities into thriving economies.

Alfa is also the co-founder of Future Tide Partners, which equips cross-sector leaders to shift capital, policy, and culture to respond to a new world of work in service to a flourishing future economy.

Alfa has received a number of awards and recognition for her work with Rising Tide Capital. In 2009, she was selected and profiled as a CNN Hero, and recognized by President Barack Obama during a speech at the White House. She was recognized as one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World with Philanthropy in August 2012, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from St. Peter’s University and New Jersey City University.

Major media features include the Suze Orman Show, The Larry King Show, O, The Oprah Magazine,,, The Star-Ledger, as well Essence Magazine.

Danielle Do

Danielle spent the first part of her career as a corporate lawyer, working as an associate and then partner with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. In that role, she advised many large corporations on mergers, acquisitions, and capital markets transactions, as well as on corporate governance and securities law matters. She currently serves as the Chief Corporate & Securities Counsel at Synchrony Financial where she handles corporate governance and securities law matters. Danielle is a graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School. She and her family split their time between New York City and Columbia County.

Stephanie Lazar


Stephanie is a public health policy and advocacy expert with a passion for environmental sustainability, biodynamic farming, and social justice. She is keenly interested in local conservation efforts that promote regenerative agriculture, sustain small farms, and realize an equitable and accessible food system for all.

Stephanie’s work has focused primarily on global health and development issues. Most recently, she developed strategies and implemented programs to improve children’s health on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Agency for International Development, and UNICEF. Stephanie also has experience working to: eliminate gender-based violence in emergency, refugee, and conflict settings; improve maternal health; combat HIV and AIDS; and build the capacity of small, localized non-governmental organizations.

Stephanie’s commitment to public health was catalyzed by her experiences living in a rural desert oasis as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. She has also lived and worked in Kenya, Burundi, and Thailand.

Stephanie was raised in New York City and received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.P.H. from Columbia University. She and her partner, Dave, are bringing up their two children in Brooklyn and in the Hudson River Valley. They spend their weekends and summers working to revive their formerly idle farm while appreciating the natural and agrarian landscape, fresh food, local arts, and warm community of Columbia County.

Herbert Dreiseitl
Herbert is a sculptor, artist, landscape architect, and interdisciplinary urban planner. World renowned for his groundbreaking contemporary designs in the fields of urban design, urban hydrology, water art, storm water management, planning, and landscape architecture, Dreiseitl founded the firm Atelier Dreiseitl in 1980. A hallmark of his work is the inspiring and innovative use of water to solve urban environmental challenges, connecting technology with aesthetics, and encouraging people to take ownership for and care of places.

In 2013, Dreiseitl merged his firm with the Ramboll Group, and he is now responsible for the Liveable Cities program within the Danish engineering consultancy. As the director of Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab, he runs workshops and pilot projects to encourage cities to implement better solutions to current urban challenges, helping them become more resilient.

Dreiseitl is also a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore. He lectures worldwide and has authored many publications including three editions of Recent Waterscapes, and Waterscapes Innovation: Planning, Building and Designing with Water.

Alex Sierck

Alex is Hawthorne Valley parent and civil rights lawyer with several decades of experience as a public defender representing individuals in state and federal court. A graduate of Carleton College and The University of Michigan Law School, Alex has worked at The Legal Aid Society of New York City as a trial and appellate lawyer, as an appellate lawyer at the New York State Capital Defenders Office, representing individuals sentenced to death in New York State, a capital defense lawyer in California, and was the founding director of The Center for Holistic Defense at The Bronx Defenders.  Currently, Alex is a fifth-year psychoanalyst-in-training at The Jungian Psychoanalytic Association in New York City. He is the former Chair of the Board of Directors of The Brooklyn Zen Center.

President Emertis, Ellen Condliffe Lagemann
Ellen is the Levy Institute Research Professor at Bard College, a Senior Scholar at the Levy Institute, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative. She previously served as Charles Warren Professor of the History of American Education at Harvard University, where she was also Dean of the Graduate School of Education, and as president of the Spencer Foundation, in Chicago, Illinois. In addition, Lagemann has been a professor of history and education at New York University, where she was founding chair of the Department of the Humanities and the Social Sciences and director of the Center for the Study of American Culture and Education in the School of Education. Before that she served on the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she was also Director of the Institute of Philosophy and Politics of Education and Editor of the Teachers College Record and a member of the faculty of the Columbia University (Faculty of Arts & Sciences) History Department.

Lagemann is the author or editor of many books, articles, reviews, and book chapters. Her principal publications include: An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Education Research (2000); Philanthropic Foundations: New Scholarship, New Possibilities (1998); The Politics of Knowledge: The Carnegie Corporation, Philanthropy, and Public Policy (1992); Jane Addams on Education (1985) and A Generation of Women: Education in the Lives of Progressive Reformers (1979); What is College For? The Public Purpose of Higher Education (2011); and her most recent book, Liberating Minds: The Case For College In Prison (2017).

Lagemann has been president of the National Academy of Education and of the History of Education Society. She chaired the National Research Council’s Committee on Teacher Preparation, whose report, Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy, was published in 2010, and was a member of the Teaching Commission, chaired by Louis Gerstner. She has been a trustee of the Russell Sage, Greenwall, and Markle Foundations; vice-chair of the board of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral and Social Sciences in Stanford, California; and chair of the Social Science Committee on Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector. She also served on the boards of the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy and of the District Management Council, both in Cambridge, MA.

Lagemann is a former high-school social studies teacher. She received her A.B. from Smith College in 1967 and her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1978.


Ex-Officio, Martin Ping
For the past eight years as Executive Director, Martin has balanced his time developing the synergies amongst the Association’s diverse enterprises and the 150 co-workers who carry those initiatives while cultivating collaborative relationships between Hawthorne Valley and other organizations in the Upper Hudson Valley/Berkshire region as well as like-minded initiatives nationally and globally. Read complete bio here.