Location & Facilities

The school is located five miles south of Canton, on the Canton-Russell Road.

1227 County Route 25
Canton, NY 13617

Call us at (315) 379-9474 or write to us at steve@littleriverschool.org for more information.

It is a four-classroom schoolhouse situated in a large open meadow adjacent to Birdsfoot organic vegetable farm and intentional community. The school has access to the facilities at Birdsfoot including organic gardens, a large kitchen and beautiful hiking trails.

Directions: From the center of Canton, take Park Street out of town, past St. Lawrence University, 2.2 miles to the blinking yellow light. Turn right onto County Route 25 and continue another 2.7 miles. Little River is on the right, just after Birdsfoot Farm.


Parents play a critical role in the development of their child’s individualized curriculum.

Parent participation is also welcome in field trips, outreach, fundraising activities, and maintenance of the building. The families, teachers and students gather every six weeks for all-school meetings and potlucks.

Satellite Program

Little River's Satellite Program meets the needs of families that would like to do part of their program at home with the support of a school.  Satellite students are integrated into school activities, classes and field trips.  The option includes attending Little River from 1-4 days a week, while studying at home on the other days.  Families studying at home receive support with curriculum development, a consulting teacher, resources and assessments.

Our Satellite Program is recognized by the New York State Board of Regents.


Free busing is provided by the family’s local school district within a 15-mile radius of the school. Families seeking busing need to put in a written request to their local district. Busing request forms are available at the school.

Call us at (315) 379-9474 or write us at steve@littleriverschool.org for more information.

Little River is located 5 miles south of Canton on the Canton-Russell Road, 1227 County Route 25.

The Donkey Paddock

Throughout the years, Little River has hosted many various animals including guinea pigs, rats, goldfish, chickens, sheep, goats, cows, and horses.  Right now, the school is home to Sammy, Beanie, and Lily, three miniature donkeys.

The donkeys were donated to Little River by our neighbor Isis Melhado. Our students care for the donkeys and use them as an opportunity to teach the younger students equine safety and  animal ownership responsibilities. 

Also returning to the Middles’ classroom this year is goldfish, Hamilton Nigel Goldie III. 


Steve Molnar

Steve is the director and a teacher at Little River Community School. He has a Masters of Science in Special Education from SUNY/New Paltz and New York State Certification in Elementary Education and Special Education K-12. He has over 30 years of experience in alternative, multi-age classroom settings.  Steve is the Olders teacher and teaches Spanish, swimming, and special topics to the other students.

Steve lives at Birdsfoot Farm, an intentional community and organic vegetable farm adjoining the school.  He and his wife Dulli live with their two children in a passive solar house they built together using hand tools. Steve has worked for the past twenty years with Peace Brigades International, a Gandhian-inspired group that works in areas of violent conflict providing protective accompaniment to human rights defenders. 



Elena Pignone

Elena is the Middles teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland (the “Great Books” school.)  After graduating from college, Elena taught high school mathematics and SAT prep classes in a public magnet school in Baltimore County, Maryland.  She then worked in New York City at the national office of a non-profit devoted to helping at-risk families prepare their children for school. She homeschooled two of her own children through middle school.  Elena also served as the Director of Coaching for Potsdam Youth Soccer Association and was involved in training and supporting local coaches. She holds a National “E” License from United States Soccer Federation.  Elena grew up in a bilingual household and loves sharing her love of language and cultures with her students.  She currently lives in Potsdam with her husband and three children.



Aubree Keese

Aubree teaches the Youngers class and Middles’ Art. She graduated from SUNY Potsdam with her Master's Degree in Education with a focus in Curriculum and Instruction and Early Childhood. She received an undergraduate degree in Childhood Education with a specialization in English, and is Certified as an Elementary Teacher. Aubree has 15 years of teaching experience ranging from Pre-K through 12th grade, college internship coordination, and life skills training. 

Aubree has been an educational advocate for people navigating the special education system through the Massena Independent Living Center. She is a 2018 graduate of the St. Lawrence Leadership Institute and has spent many years working in the not-for-profit sector reaching out to assist with the needs of our local community. Aubree lives in Norwood with her husband and three children that continue to help her grow as a teacher and person every day. 



Leon Sawyko

Leon teaches science, math and special classes across all ages. He has a Bachelors degree in Geology from Hamilton College and Masters degrees in Geology and Education from the University of Washington

. He taught at Gouverneur Middle School for 7 years before resigning to become an at-home parent for his daughters. After 5 years at home, he got the teaching itch again and started at Little River. He lives with his wife and 2 daughters on 20 acres of brush and trouble in Pierrepont.


Ola Aldous

Ola works with the Olders teaching art and physical education. She emigrated from Ukraine as a child in 1991, where she had studied in the Kharkiv Special School of Music for Gifted Children, a rigorous school for young musicians. Ola received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Crane School of Music and her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree with concentrations in painting and drawing at SUNY Potsdam.  

Ola’s oil paintings have been shown in numerous juried shows in NYC, and she has won various awards including 1st place in the 43rd Annual Juried Art Exhibition in Lebanon, PA, 1st and 3rd place in the 14th Annual Juried Art Show in Sackets Harbor, NY, and Best in Show in the Juried Landscape Show in Lancaster, PA .  She has completed residencies at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY, and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT, among others.  

Ola has released multiple experimental music albums in Europe, both as a solo artist and with her partner. She illustrates the experimental music publication Deft Esoterica and contributes regular illustrations to the British experimental music publication TQ. She maintains an active practice as both a visual artist and a musician.



Nuala Woods

Nuala is a teacher assistant at Little River working primarily with the Youngers and Middles. She received her bachelor's degree in Sociology with a minor in Gender and Sexualities studies from St. Lawrence University. She has a range of experience with child care and education through her work at various summer camps and alpine ski instruction. This is complemented by her leadership experience at her family’s business, Woods Valley Ski Area, and within the St. Lawrence University theme house community. 

Along with Nuala’s excitement surrounding education, she also loves live music, cooking, movies and discovering new passions. Nuala enjoys outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking, alpine and Nordic skiing, and tennis. She currently lives in Potsdam with two other St. Lawrence University alumni.



Katrina Hebb

Katrina is a student support service teacher tutoring students that need extra help. She works with students to build bridges to understanding in their minds when they struggle to cross over the rivers and streams of knowing on their own. In her time outside of tutoring at Little River, Katrina works part-time as the minister of the Potsdam Presbyterian Church.  She is a social justice advocate and enjoys knitting and watching movies in her free time.



Susanne Saunders

Susanne is working part-time in the school’s administration and bookkeeping, assisting Steve with daily tasks around the office and school. She has a business administration degree from the Steinbeis Academy Berlin in Germany.  She moved with her husband to their farm in Gouverneur in 2011 from Germany, which she is slowly transforming into a viable organic beef farm. Her daughter is a student at LRCS and brought up bilingual and outdoors.  Susanne loves her dog, spending time outside, working with her hands, and seeing things come to life.

Sarah Oakley

Sarah teaches yoga and health.