Elizabeth Carivan



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.

Karece Powers, Teacher

Karece Powers

Karece Powers

Karece Powers has worked at HTDHS in a variety of capacities for six school years. She earned her Associates in Science and is currently enrolled to earn her Bachelors in Art with a minor in English at SUNY Albany. Before coming to HTDHS, Karece had been a tutor at the NYS Museum, and also at the Astor Home for Children, working in residential care with emotionally disabled children. Her summers were spent as a counselor at a YMCA overnight camp where she led a cabin group, ran group activities, and taught skill classes. Karece is a self-proclaimed “free schooler.” She believes deeply in self-education and has applied that principle throughout her life. She has worked with children from diverse backgrounds and does not believe that a more fulfilling career exists. Karece aspires to free the minds of children and can find no better place to do so than at HTDHS. When she is not “working” you might find Karece dancing, writing, drawing, crocheting, knitting, listening to music, reading, painting, or watching a good movie.

Craig Evans


Craig Evans, Teacher

Craig graduated with 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 and part-time teacher. Outside of teaching 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. When he first started with us as an intern in 2012 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.”

Chris Mercogliano

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).

Advisory Board:
Ellen Becker
Larry Becker
Tom McPheeters
Chris Mercogliano

Board of Directors:
Beth Hodos
Betsy Mercogliano
Nancy Ost
Karece Powers
Alexandria Speller


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