Meet the Board of Trustees

Laurie Benoit is retired and lives with her husband, Barry, in the hills of Western Massachusetts.  She holds a BS in Non-Profit Management from UMass Amherst.  Her entire career was spent working for non-profits and covering all aspects of fundraising and management in higher education.  Volunteering locally has always been a priority throughout her adult life.  Currently she serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Mary Lyon Foundation and as President of the Buckland Union Cemetery Association.

Karen Blom recently joined the MLF board and now serves as the Secretary. She is currently the Town Clerk for Buckland after serving on the town Finance Committee for 10 years. She was co-owner of a local outdoor recreation business, Zoar Outdoor for 31 years before semi-retiring. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and an M.S. in Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She also serves on the Finance Committee and Diaconate at the Charlemont Federated Church.

John Cornman recently retired as a career advisor at Berkshire Community College after serving ten years in similar positions in higher education. He spent 25 years in the business world as a corporate recruiter, HR manager and HR consultant in the manufacturing, financial services, auto rental and computer industries. He also founded and managed an HR consulting firm to assist high-tech startups.  Additional work included 10 years as a college admissions counselor for high school students. He holds a B.A. from Parsons College, Iowa, and an M.S. from Illinois State University.  John serves on the board of the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls and has several grandchildren attending schools in the Mohawk Trail District. He was elected to the MLF board in 2019. John is chairing the Search Committee for the new Executive Director of the MLF>

Karen Fairbrother has served on the board of the Mary Lyon Foundation for over a decade. She was on the board of the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association for 20 years.  Karen was in the banking profession for 41 years and retired three years ago from Greenfield Savings Bank after 25 years of service. She is an alumna of Mohawk Trail Regional High School, as are her four siblings and her daughter. She resides in Buckland with her husband Steve. Karen has been Treasurer of the MLF, serving currently as Assistant Treasurer.

Bev LaBelle is the newest board member of the Mary Lyon Foundation. She and her wife, Janet Rogers, spend half their time in California golfing and participating in multiple organizations that help feed the poor and homeless. She attended Concordia College in Bronxville, NY. She is a retired Ashfield Police Officer as well as a co-owner of two local convenience stores and catering business. She worked in special education at the Mohawk Trail School District, where her children also attended. Her last business consisted of giving pedicures to the homebound and elderly. Bev is also a Trustee of the Congregational Church in Ashfield. She and Janet have started the Rogers LaBelle Student Emergency Fund at GCC. Currently, you can find her on either of the Ashfield Golf Courses.

Katherine McKay has served on the Mary Lyon Foundation Board since 2016.  She founded its Putnam Hill Society, a group of individuals who have thoughtfully included the Foundation in their estate plans with gifts of any size.  Mary Lyon’s birthplace is located on Putnam (or “Puts”) Hill. A graduate of Granby High School (MA) and Mount Holyoke College, Katherine is the Director of Gift Planning at College of the Holy Cross.  Formerly of Upton, MA, she and her husband moved to Shelburne Falls in 2015. Katherine is Secretary of the Board of the MLF.

Sylvia Orcutt is a retired banker who graduated from New England College of Finance with a degree in Business Management. She has served on the board of the Mary Lyon Foundation for seven years, with four years as President.  She works currently with the board of the local Senior Center Foundation and chairs the Finance Committee. She is a former board member and Finance Chair of the Greater Shelburne Area Falls Business Association and also volunteered on a team for “Put A Roof On It”, the successful campaign to improve and renovate the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls.

Jana Standish has worked in the Mohawk District for over thirty years as an elementary school counselor. She tells students she has the best job in the world. She gets to connect on a deep level with students and their families about their lives, their strengths, their needs and their dreams. She lives in Colrain, on a farm with Bill, her husband and has raised three great kids on the working farm which has been farmed by local farmers. She has 6 grandchildren. She loves Colrain; the farm the beauty of land and consider ourselves immensely fortunate.

Peter Stevens spent his professional years first as a high school teacher, and then as a Head of School at two American international schools in Europe, and two independent schools here in the States, followed by a decade serving young people and families as an educational consultant. He earned his B.A. from Williams College and his M.A. from the University of Chicago before serving 30 months with the U.S. Peace Corps in upriver Malaysian Borneo.  A 20-year Shelburne resident, Peter served on the board of the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls, is currently a member of the board of the Academy at Charlemont and chairs the board at the small, alternative boarding Oliverian School in New Hampshire.  Peter is Vice-Chair of the Board of the MLF.