Elizabeth Carivan, Director/Teacher
Elizabeth attended the Albany Free School as an elementary and middle school student; later working there as an intern and teacher. She also grew up as a child member of the Free School Community. This experience, combined with her twelve years of work at a YMCA residential camp, instilled in her a deep love of working with children in a strong and supportive community. After her four years at Hofstra University studying English Literature and History, Elizabeth stayed on Long Island to pursue a career in administration. She is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful school, and to have found a job which naturally combines so many of the things she enjoys. Elizabeth loves reading, film, theater, contemplating humanity, laughing, and spending time with her family and friends .Laura Welch, Teacher
Laura Welch first became involved with HTDHS by teaching sociology as a volunteer, and during that time discovered a great love for teaching. She received her BA in American Studies and Sociology from Marlboro College and has just completed her Masters degree in Information Science and History at SUNY. She believes that students should be active participants in their educations and feels that HTDHS truly enables young adults to develop and pursue their academic aspirations.
Craig Evans, Intern
Craig is a senior earning a double major in music and philosophy at SUNY Albany. He has been a long time proponent of alternative and self-education, and recently discovered democratic education. His early academic experience included both public and private schools, and he graduated high school from The Adirondack School where he is now a board member. Outside of school Craig juggles a variety of hobbies and activities including composing and recording music, skateboarding, drawing and painting, parkour, video editing, and studying subjects of interest including politics, technology, and computer security, among other things. Craig is very excited to be working at HTDHS. About his internship he said, “I wish I had known about this school years ago. I hope to get into teaching because I had a rough time through much of school and hope to make it better for the kids who are there.”
Jonathan Dunn, Intern
Jonathan Dunn chose a circuitous college path before receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities from Harvard University. During this journey he discovered that alternative education was the most conducive to his own learning. Now he is interested in making other students aware of the options available to them so that they can make the best choices based upon their personal learning styles. He is a PhD student in Curriculum and Instruction at SUNY Albany. He believes that students should drive their own education rather than being chauffeured around to destinations that they are not interested in and feels that HTDHS gives high school students the freedom to design and pursue their own routes. He teaches courses in Mathematics, English, History, and Psychology. His other interests include skateboarding, hip hop music, and yoga.
Chris Mercogliano, Math Teacher
Chris Mercogliano recently concluded a thirty-five-year career at the Albany Free School, the oldest inner-city alternative school in the United States. His essays, commentaries, and reviews have appeared in numerous newspapers, journals, and magazines, as well as in six anthologies. He is also the author of Making It Up As We Go Along, the Story of the Albany Free School (Heinemann 1998), Teaching the Restless, One School’s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed (Beacon Press 2004), How to Grow a School: Starting and Sustaining Schools That Work (Oxford Village Press 2006), and In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids’ Inner Wildness (Beacon Press 2007).
Board of Directors: