Anthony Davidowitz, Board Chair, Director of Legal Affairs and Operations, Storm King Art Center, brings legal expertise to Hudson Valley Seed. Anthony is passionate about wilderness and the natural world, and is a strong advocate for Hudson Valley Seed.
Jess Conway, Vice Chair and Secretary, has worked for 12 years alongside high school-age youth, English teachers, and teacher candidates in New Mexico, New York, and Arkansas. She is a doctoral student and part-time instructor in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and her research focuses on understanding youth literacies beyond traditional paradigms of reading achievement. Jess believes in the mission of Hudson Valley Seed and the value of ecological literacy! She and her husband live in Beacon with their little one Louise, who loves collecting rocks and sticks on adventures in the Hudson Valley.
Bill Gehris, Treasurer, is a patent attorney with Davidson, Davidson & Kappel, working primarily out of New Paltz. He also holds a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton, and helps design products in green technology such as fuel efficient jet engines, solar panel technology, electric vehicle batteries and fuel cells, often dealing with patent issues that arise during the design process. A parent of two and long-time volunteer with children's programming, Bill has an enduring interest in public elementary education.
Seamus Carroll, has over twenty years of experience in the design, production and marketing and strategic planning of industrial electronic equipment and software. He graduated from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. He has worked in leadership positions with companies including Agfa Gevaert NV, Bayer AG, and AFP Imaging. He founded PointMedia Corporation, through which he holds several U.S. patents.
Will Vranos’s longstanding passion and appreciation for the outdoors was only amplified by his undergraduate experience in rural New Hampshire. Since graduating, he has applied his technical background in both the business world and as a tutor. His previous philanthropic work includes Mustard Seeds International and Shelter for the Homeless in Norwalk CT, near his childhood home.
Jennifer Rutledge is an Associate Professor in Political Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice - CUNY. Her research focuses on the connections between food and agriculture policy and the welfare state. Her first book, Feeding the Future: The Emergence of School Lunches as Global Social Policy (2016) is a global history of school lunch programs and focuses on their emergence as a result of gender politics, security concerns and agricultural policy. Her current research considers the role food riots played in laying an ideational legacy for both the welfare state and certain agricultural policies that structure the global food supply. She lives in Beacon with her wife and two children and they spend as much time as they can outside, hiking and gardening.
Vanessa Agard-Jones is a faculty member in Anthropology at Columbia University, where she serves on the Executive Council of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and is affiliated with the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. Her first book Body Burdens: Toxic Endurance and Decolonial Desire in the French Atlantic (forthcoming), addresses questions of environmental contamination, endocrine disruption, and food sovereignty in postslavery societies. Previously, she taught at Yale University, in San Quentin State Prison's Postsecondary Education Program, and for three years in elementary education in Atlanta Public Schools. Outside of academe, she is the former coordinator of Oakland’s Prison Activist Resource Center and the former Board Chair of New York City’s Audre Lorde Project: A Community Organizing Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color Communities.
Melissa Ptacek has worked in the field of education for over 25 years.With a Masters degree from Bank Street College of Education, Melissa has experience as an early childhood teacher, school administrator, and adjunct professor. She currently works with early childhood centers and cultural institutions to assist in the development of a program to help increase literacy and family engagement in schools and museums. She is passionate about healthy living and thrilled to be working with Hudson Valley Seed!
Zanne Early Stewart worked at Gourmet Magazine from 1972 until 2008, the majority of that time spent in the test kitchens as food editor. She has been privileged to work alongside some of the world's finest cooks and chefs, Marcella Hazan and Jacques Pepin among them. The importance of quality ingredients has underscored her work as a chef and she has long been an enthusiastic shopper at local growers markets. A passionate teacher, Zanne believes that a good meal is made from the ground up and she believes in sharing that knowledge and enthusiasm with Hudson Valley children.
Carl Jack, is Program Director at NHS Newburgh, farm manager at the Downing Park urban farm in Newburgh and a owner of an organic farm in South Carolina. Carl brings expertise with project management and farming to Hudson Valley Seed, as well as many years of experience working with young people on farms. Carl is also deeply connected in the Newburgh community, where the majority of Hudson Valley Seed’s students reside.
Ari Bauer, is a legal partner at Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider, PLLC. He brings legal expertise to Hudson Valley Seed. Ari has valuable experience working with the Newburgh City School District and Orange County businesses, and loves gardening and fresh food. Ari and Catania, Mahon, Milligram & Rider are committed to serving in their communities.