Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Partners with Fine Arts Boosters to Host Teacher Retreat: Teachers Announced

The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, in partnership with the Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG), an affiliate of IPEI, is offering a creative retreat for teachers of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) teachers and other districts in Tompkins County during the February and April school breaks. The program is designed to provide residency-type retreats for local teachers in the following disciplines: creative writing, photography/film/video, and painting/sculpture/visual art. The program is totally free to attend. Teachers were selected through a lottery system.

February session teachers:

  • Edna Brown, social worker at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School
  • Brooke Burnett, third grade teacher at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School
  • Benjamin Eckley, librarian at Ithaca High School
  • Kari Krakow, ENL teacher at Ithaca High School
  • Elizabeth Rechtin, art teacher at Dryden Central Schools

April session teachers:

  • Kathryn Cernera, English teacher at DeWitt Middle School
  • Judy Cogan, art teacher at Fall Creek and Enfield Elementary School
  • Shawn Goodman, school psychologist at Ithaca High School
  • Spencer Hill, third grade teacher at Cayuga Heights Elementary School
  • Karen Jordan, ENL teacher at Ithaca High School

The teachers will focus on creative writing and visual arts. For more detailed information, visit or

One teacher noted, “”I’m very appreciate of the retreat … The job (of teacher) today is so demanding and unrelenting, that there’s simply no room or energy left at the end of the day for creative pursuits. I think the teachers suffer for this loss, and, ultimately, so do their students. Giving teachers a chance to rediscover their own creativity will ultimately carry over into extra enthusiasm and creativity in their teaching.” And another, “When I paint, all I want to do is paint. I want to close out the world and all its distractions. Saltonstall provides the space and time for this kind of deep focus. Time slips away, and you have the luxury of doing only what you love. I attended Saltonstall two years ago and it changed my life. I can’t wait to return.”

The Saltonstall Arts Colony offers a quiet studio, a beautiful setting and time for inspiration in Ellis Hollow. The Saltonstall Foundation and FABG support teachers in their creative work inside and outside the classroom.

Lesley Williamson, director of the Saltonstall Foundation, was inspired to create the teacher retreat program by a similar one at a Florida arts colony. “This is a very mission-specific way for us to support a group of local artists and writers who don’t often get the chance to be artists and writers. We are so pleased to offer this opportunity to local teachers with the help of the Fine Arts Booster Group.”

An affiliate of IPEI (Ithaca Public Education Initiative), the Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG) works in partnership with the Ithaca City School District to advocate, support and celebrate all the arts for all the kids.

The Fine Arts Boosters support district programs and staff, and advocate for increased student access, participation and equity in the arts programs. Formed in 2001, the boosters believe the arts – music, dance and visual, literary and theater arts – are a central part of every child’s public school education.

IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that believes the education of every ICSD student is enhanced through community connections and support facilitated by IPEI for students and teachers through engagement, collaboration, gifts, and grants. Visit

Ongoing FABG initiatives include printing of all the performance booklets for concerts and drama productions in the middle and high schools; fundraising; Play It Again, Ithaca, the collection of used musical instruments and monies to purchase new instruments for use in the schools; and various advocacy efforts in support of arts in the schools.

FABG is open to all K-12 staff, parents, students and community members. Join the group in working on goals – communication, advocacy, community connections, and instrument recycling. Join the listserv to hear about our meetings and other arts announcements. Subscribe by emailing . For more information about advertising in the performance booklets, contact To explore more about the boosters, visit .