Events, In the News

The Mary Lyon Foundation Names New Executive Director, Kristen Tillona Baker.

Photo: Founder Sue Samoriski (left) and Executive Director Kristen Tillona Baker (right).
Photo credit: Ben Tillona

The Mary Lyon Foundation announces today that Kristen Tillona-Baker has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Mary Lyon Foundation, effective January 1, 2021. Tillona-Baker succeeds founder Sue Samoriski who retired as executive director December 31st after 30 years of service. Tillona-Baker has 26 years of experience as an educator and has spent the last 14 years working as an administrator at independent schools. She lives in South Deerfield with her husband Ronald.

“It’s an honor to be entrusted with the responsibility of running the Foundation, which has helped countless students, families and educators in West County and beyond,” said Tillona-Baker. “From the inception of an idea, Sue gathered generous donors and built an impressive foundation. I’m eager to carry that mission forward because the need is greater than ever before.”  

As the foundation transitions to new leadership under Tillona-Baker, the Board of Trustees recognizes Samoriski’s remarkable service and dedication for the last 30 years. “Sue’s vision, leadership, and commitment to supporting student and family needs and innovative teaching in the hilltown communities have been profound,” says Laurie Benoit, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “It has not gone unnoticed.”

In preparation for the leadership transition, the Board of Trustees completed a five-year Strategic Plan in 2019 to ensure the foundation will thrive and grow. The plan creates a road map for the future, with the vision that all students be ready to learn, to succeed academically, socially and emotionally and to thrive in the wider world.

Under Tillona-Baker’s leadership, the board is confident that the foundation is poised for growth and expansion. To that end, the trustees will be launching a Comprehensive Campaign to secure the future of the Mary Lyon Foundation, to support existing and new programs and initiatives, and to ensure that the vision and legacy of the foundation will live on for generations to come. 

“Kristen’s vast experience in educational leadership, fundraising and program development will be strong assets to the foundation,” says Samoriski. “ Under her direction, the foundation’s future will be bright and prosperous.”

The Mary Lyon Foundation serves families and schools in the communities of Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, Rowe, and Shelburne.  


Executive Assistant Job Description

Mary Lyon Foundation

Innovative Support of Local Education

P.O. Box 184, Shelburne Falls MA 01370

Tel 413.625.2555 ~


POSITION TITLE:  Executive Assistant


Reporting to the Executive Director of the Mary Lyon Foundation, this half-time, temporary, non-exempt position supports the work of the Foundation’s Executive Director, Board of Trustees, Sub-Committees, and Business Manager.  He/she assists in organizing, coordinating, and implementing a range of activities to help the foundation achieve its mission of providing innovative support of local education through its programs and services.  Duties include administrative responsibility for the foundation’s day-to-day operations such as maintaining computer/phone systems; processing daily mail and gifts; assisting with online banking; maintaining a presence on the website and social media platforms; interfacing with the MTRSD administration, faculty and students; collaborating with the public; attending board meetings and taking minutes; and executing integrated communications initiatives that highlight student success and promote the Foundation’s visibility and reputation at the local and regional level.


  • Manage day-to-day office operations including, but not limited to, smooth operation and maintenance of computer, internet and phone systems
  • Answer phones, and field or respond to messages
  • Assist with email correspondence and follow up
  • Pick up and process all mail, including checks, at the direction of the executive director
  • Maintain and update all cloud-based data files including, but not limited to, mailing lists, minutes, and all other essential files
  • In collaboration with the Executive Director and Business Manager, organize, maintain and update all of the foundation’s paper files
  • Provide administrative support to the executive director, the board of trustees, and sub-committees (including, but not limited to, governance, finance, and comprehensive campaign committees)
  • Attend monthly meetings of the Board of Trustees and take draft minutes, to be reviewed by the executive director and submitted to the secretary of the board
  • At the approval of the executive director, make all deposits and pay all bills
  • Collaborate with the executive director and business manager in budget preparations, monthly budget reports, and review/maintenance of bank and investment accounts
  • Assist with and attend events as assigned
  • Assist with planning and management of fundraising/campaign initiatives and events as assigned
  • Maintain database of foundation’s donors
  • Maintain the foundation’s online calendar, schedule meetings, and book events
  • Oversee foundation’s correspondence, including donor acknowledgements, bulk mailings (annual and campaign), mail merge, and personal letters generated by staff, board, and sub-committees
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with MTRSD administration, faculty and staff as well as with donors, the public, businesses, and others to promote the foundation’s visibility and advance its positive reputation
  • Prepare reports, presentations, correspondence, etc., as requested by the Executive Director
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director


  • Associate degree with a minimum of 3 years’ experience in high-level executive/administrative support
  • Proof of strong writing skills with the ability to accurately proofread and edit correspondence and produce sophisticated and effective emails, letters, event correspondence, gift proposals and agreements, and other communications relevant to the position
  • Superb attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills including the ability to interact effectively and create and maintain harmonious relationships with a diverse population of board members, volunteers, district staff, faculty, students, and off-campus constituents
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure and varying situations with a high degree of independence and initiative, competent judgment, confidentiality, and discretion
  • Advanced computer skills, including but not limited to, Microsoft Office Suite, cloud-based Google Suite, Quickbooks, Facebook, and prospect management software, with the ability to produce documents, reports, and mail merges 
  • Skill in maintaining the website and graphic design
  • The ability to master new software applications and technologies
  • Advanced expertise in the functional use of Excel (formulas, graphs, etc.) and Word are required (mail merges, report generation, etc.)
  • Advanced project management and organizational skills. Excellent problem-solving skills and collaborative work style
  • Highly organized, detail oriented, with the ability to work independently and efficiently in a multi-task environment to carry out assignments in a timely manner, balancing the demands of concurrent and potentially competing projects
  • Must be focused, motivated to learn, and flexible to change
  • Initiative, good judgment and sensitivity to confidential information required


The Mary Lyon Foundation is seeking a temporary, part-time Executive Assistant.  The position is 20 flexible hours per week at home/in the office for 6 months with the potential for renewal. Self-starter, experienced individual needed to manage operations and programs for busy non-profit office. Some evening and/or weekend work required. Associate degree and 3 years of experience required.  Computer competency, social media skills, working knowledge of cloud-based software applications, e.g., MS Office Suite, Google Drive and File Stream, and QuickBooks required.  Sales or prospect management software experience a plus. Rolling application until position is filled. Salary commensurate with experience. Email letter of application, resume, and three professional references to – For a full job description and additional information about the Mary Lyon Foundation, please visit


Seussical the Musical

Cabin Fever?

Get out, and join us for a fabulous night.



Suessical the Musical

Come see Seussical the Musical! A musical that is based on at least 15 works by Dr. Seuss. The story weaves together his most famous tales and characters into an exciting journey of musical fun! Come meet The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, The Grinch and many more fantastical creatures at Mohawk Trail Regional High School!

March 6&7 @ 7:00p.m.
March 8th @ 2:00p.m.

Adults – $10
Students/Seniors – $5
Children under 2 – free

CALL FOR RESERVATIONS: tickets sell fast!
413.625.9811 ext. 1364


WOW! The places to go during vacation week are endless.

Berkshire East

       With so much snow, it’s a great  place to go!

 Fun for the whole family.

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Check out their web-site for best dates with cheapest rates!

WOW Frozen Yogurt

 145 Federal Street, Greenfield

flavors galore

plus add  your own favorite toppings

You can mix and mash, but your special treat won’t last.


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The Art Garden


local, creative fun!

Cowell Gym


check out the activities on there FACEBOOK page:

Shelburne Falls Bowling


vacation special 2:00-6:00 p.m. only $2.50 per string

open bowling hours

Red Gate Farm

Fire and Ice


February 21, 2015 at 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Join us for this super special winter bonfire night at the farm . We will have a grill and food for dinner, so bring your appetite. Warm your hands by the bonfire before you go sliding down the hill under the li ghts. Climb back up to enjoy some cocoa, roasting marshmallows and company and…

The Red Gate Farm also offers great summer programs for students of all ages.



 The Globetrotters will be at the Mass Mutual Center, Springfield MA. on the 17th, 18th.

check here for times, and ticket availability.

Springfield Museums


Sights and Sounds of the Rainforest:


 Eric Carle Museum: 

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