Who We Are
LightHouse Holyoke is led by a highly qualified group of advisors, directors, and core staff.
Catherine is Co-Director and Co-Founder of LightHouse. Before LightHouse she spent 12 years at North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens as Program Director. Her vision, leadership, and drive were essential ingredients in the growth of North Star, transforming it from a small local nonprofit to an international movement. Catherine serves on the Board of Directors for Liberated Learners, the umbrella program connecting all the centers using the North Star model.
Catherine holds two bachelors degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in Education, Creative Arts in Learning, from Lesley University. She also holds a Montessori Certification from New England Montessori Teacher Education Center.
Catherine is a leader in the international movement in self-directed learning, and also an expert in working with diverse teens. She is one of the chief drivers in bringing personalized learning to Holyoke because she knows first hand that this approach improves student’s lives, which then ripples out into families and into the community. She feels a deep responsibility to create educational options for teens.
You can contact Catherine directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
One-minute intro video filmed in the spring of 2015, pre-LightHouse opening.
One-minute intro video filmed in the spring of 2015, pre-LightHouse opening.
Josiah S. Litant
Josiah is Co-Director and Co-Founder of LightHouse. He has been in the field of education for almost twenty years, as a teacher, mentor, and administrator at all age levels. Prior to co-founding LightHouse Holyoke, Josiah spent a decade working with college-age students at Hampshire College, where he was the Senior Associate Dean of Students until 2014. He has a particular passion for progressive education, with a focus on issues of student identity, inclusion, and advocacy.
Josiah has previously served on the boards of Hampshire College and North Star, the program on which the LightHouse model is based. He is also the Executive Director and Principal Organizational Consultant at J. Litant Consulting, an organizational consulting firm working with educational and nonprofit enterprises. Additionally, Josiah has proudly consulted as a facilitator with the National Conference for Community and Justice of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.
Josiah has Master of Arts degree in educational administration from Goddard College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Hampshire College. He and his family live in Amherst, Massachusetts.
You can contact Josiah directly at email@example.com
Luz is the LightHouse Office Manager and the first face you’ll see when you enter LightHouse. She supports the administrative pieces of our program and also welcomes all guests to our space. Prior to joining our team, Luz worked at Square One in Springfield, MA where she was the Healthy Families Administrative Assistant. Prior to that, she has serve in other administrative support roles throughout Western MA, including in education, health, human service, and business organizations. Luz grew up in the Holyoke area and is delighted to be working in support of area youth.
Carlos leads Friday Community Days at LightHouse. He is a founding staff member and a key contributor to success of the program. Carlos has a degree from UMass Amherst, and is an artist, screenprinter, and poet. He lives in Holyoke and is very involved in the community.
Core Staff. Writer, Actor, Activist, Aurelis Troncoso is a recent graduate of Hampshire College. She taught two blocks at LightHouse last year and is joining the Core Staff team this year as a teacher, mentor, and advisor.
Troncoso’s accomplishments include co-organizing an international exhibition in Cuba entitled Addimú pa’ mi, celebrating neo-African art. She has been a two-time recipient of the Ingenuity Award recognizing her efforts as an exceptional leader within the Hampshire College community and beyond. She believes education can transform lives and is one of the keys to the decolonization of the mind, body and spirit. She resides in Holyoke.
Core Staff. Jon interned full time last year between LightHouse and our sister-program, North Star. Jon is passionate about all things math, as well as programming, building, and tech of all kinds. Jon joins us at LightHouse as a Core Staff member this year.
Treasurer, LightHouse Board of Directors. Entrepreneur, Project Manager, Developer, Systems Administrator. Kelly Albrecht is an expert Linux Server Admin, having been responsible for several servers where over 100 sites and services are run and maintained.
As a Web Developer and Project Manager, Kelly has implemented web-based IT solutions for over 10 years and has extensive experience in all aspects of website design and development.
As an Entrepreneur, Kelly Albrecht has founded several businesses including the left-click IT strategy and consulting firms as well as the Last Call Media web development agency.
He is a regular presenter at Drupal Meetups, Camps and Conferences and stays involved in his local IT industry as the Executive Director of NERDs.
Kelly graduated Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts.
LightHouse Board of Directors. Geb Bailey has been involved in business and non-profit work for 35+ years. After a brief (three year) high school teaching career, Geb spent 19 years as the sole proprietor of Bonducci’s Café in Northampton and Amherst. MA. Following the sale of that café in 1997, Geb went to work for his coffee roaster in Hartford, CT. When he left that position a few years ago, he had spent the past 5 years as VP of Operations and Sales. Geb is the Chair of the Enchanted Circle Theater Board of Directors, and spent 30 years on the Board of North East Center for Youth & Families.
Geb and his wife Marsha moved to Holyoke eight years ago from Northampton. They are pleased to be part of an increasingly progressive and active Holyoke community.
Secretary, Lighthouse Board of Directors. Dan is an alum of North Star: Self Directed Learning for Teens and a Holyoke native. Dan thrived in the personalized education model and started attending classes at HCC at the age of 15 while also working and traveling. He graduated from HCC at 18 years old with an Associates of Liberal Arts and transferred to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. After graduating college Dan came home to work at the Center for EcoTechnology and the MassSave program in Western Massachusetts. He is now thriving at Paragus Strategic IT in Hadley as a network administrator for a variety of organizations and serves on the Paragus Strategic Planning team. Dan currently lives in Northampton but is excited to be moving back to Holyoke in the next few months.
LightHouse Board of Directors. Laurie is the founder and President of RAINMAKER Consulting, a Holyoke based company which specializes in fundraising and organizational development for nonprofit organizations and foundations. The objectives of Lighthouse are very consistent with her commitment to the personal transformation that comes with learning.
She is a veteran fundraiser and organizational development consultant. In this role she has provided fundraising training for boards and development professionals, coaching on capital campaigns and planned giving programs, executive coaching and strategic planning. Laurie has been responsible for raising tens of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S.
Laurie was the founder and President of Coast to Coast Distributors, a multimillion-dollar wholesale distribution company. Her involvement in the not-for-profit world was initially focused on activism dedicated to ending the root causes of hunger and poverty.
Laurie has her B.S. from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. She was trained by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Al Gore in influencing policy on climate change and Muhammad Yunus in replicating the Grameen Bank microlending model. She established Syracuse, New York’s first microlending program.
In her spare time Laurie likes to blow glass, run and hike wherever she goes, and spend time with her family.
LightHouse Board of Directors. Intiya is a Development Project Manager for Home City Housing, a Springfield-based non-profit affordable housing developer. On the job, she aspires to improve not only the real estate stock in the community, but the lives of residents. She focuses her volunteer time on education and the urban environment. She is an Alumni Interviewer for Harvard College Admissions and an active alumna of Telluride Association Summer Program. She was appointed to the Holyoke Planning Board in early 2016. She grew up in a family committed to social work and activism in W Mass and is thrilled to be back in the area.
Intiya holds a BA from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she completed self-directed, inter-disciplinary “special concentration” in Urban Studies. During her time as a student she was committed to educational issues – working as a Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Officer and as a term-time tutor and summer camp teacher for ESL and immigrant students in Boston’s most economically-challenged neighborhoods. Intiya is a proud Latina and is bilingual. She is also a studio artist who exhibits and does commissioned work.
Vice Chair, LightHouse Board of Directors. Joan’s mission is in supporting teens and adults to live from a place of self-worthiness. Formerly a therapist, Joan now focuses her practice on coaching and consulting for healing professionals, including counselors, coaches, nurses and spiritual leaders. Prior to coaching, Joan served as the Director of Counseling Services for The Parker Charter Essential School and as a Grants Administrator for non-profits.
Joan’s passion for progressive education began as a student at Hampshire College, where she also served on the board of trustees. In addition to her private coaching practice, Joan facilitates workshops and webinars based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. She is a passionate gardener and committed to living with her whole-heart.
Joan has a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College. In addition, she received her coaching certification from The Coaches Training Institute.
Chair, LightHouse Board of Directors. Diana personally recognizes the importance of creating opportunities and access for our underrepresented and underserved communities. She is committed to bridging the educational gap and encourages learners to pursue their passionate spirit.
She has been part of the Hampshire College community since 1999 where she currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the College – a role that has the broad mandate for leading and advocating for developing partnerships across the divisions to promote diversity as central to the mission of the College.
Previous roles Sutton-Fernández has held at the College include Interim Dean of Students and Chief of Staff– roles where she has served as a member of the senior leadership team and worked with colleagues to facilitate integration of their efforts across different areas of operation. Prior to moving to the Pioneer Valley, she worked for a not-for-profit historic preservation agency in Ithaca, NY where she managed all facets of the office and supported the organizational and leadership team.
Sutton-Fernández holds an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix and a B.A. in History from Ithaca College. She has served on the board of the Care Center in Holyoke and the Latino Scholarship Association. She currently serves on the board of the United Way of Hampshire County and is a member of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public and Impact.
She and her family live in Holyoke.
LightHouse Board of Directors. In November of 2016 Aaron Vega was elected to his third term as State representative for the 5th Hampden district which is made up of the entire city of Holyoke. In April of 2017 Aaron and his wife Debra celebrated the nine year anniversary of their Yoga studio and then transformed the business model into a Mobile Yoga Studio.
For the past 10 years Aaron has been involved in a number of boards, volunteer projects and is committed to the city and people of Holyoke.
Aaron was born in South Holyoke, attended Morgan Elementary School and eventually followed his parents’ footsteps by attending Holyoke Community College. He graduated from Keene State College with a dual bachelor degree in film and psychology. Aaron soon became a film editor, working on projects such at for Ken Burns, PBS, TLC and HBO.
During his time in office, from being elected in 2010 as an At Large Holyoke City Councilor to his time as State Rep, Aaron has continued his focus on providing great constituent services, education policy and economic development.
Aaron has served on the boards of the Holyoke Health Center, and the Morgan School turnaround team, the Homework House and the Connections Afterschool Program. He is also a member of the Holyoke Taxpayers Association, Friends of the Council on Aging, Friends of the Holyoke Public Library and was a Rotary Club member for 3 years.
In 2010 he was named one of the “40 under 40” by Business West magazine, a recognition given out to young civic and business leaders in the Pioneer Valley.
As a proud parent of daughters in the early 20’s and a young son I know how important education and opportunity is for all students and I am excited to serve on the Lightouse board.
We are fortunate to have an array of talented and knowledgeable advisors guiding us along the way. Our Advisory Group, which is still growing, consists of mentors who have offered to provide us with ongoing feedback on all aspects of LightHouse.
Theodore Agranat, serial entrepreneur
Delcie Bean, CEO, Paragus Strategic IT, and founder of Tech Foundry
Joseph Berger, Associate Dean, School of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Kip Foley, President, Cover Technologies
Jim Fitzgerald, President & CMO Wheelhouse Strategy, Inc
Andrea Kandel, Executive Director, National Conference for Community and Justice
Farid Khelfaoui, Executive Director, SPARK
Gus Lyn-Piluso, Professor of Education, Goddard College and Seneca College
Conor White-Sullivan, Entrepreneur
Lauren Wolk, Feldenkreis Institute, NYC
“We cannot solve our problems with the same
thinking we used when we created them.”
thinking we used when we created them.”