Claudia Horwitz, Executive Director: Claudia works at the intersection of practice, community experience, and social change. She founded stone circles in 1995. Her previous work includes developing youth leadership, supporting struggles for economic justice, and strengthening social change organizations. Claudia was a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow and has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University. She is the author of The Spiritual Activist: Practices to Transform Your Life, Your Work and Your World (PenguinCompass, 2002) and serves on the board of the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation. Claudia practices a yogic path of awareness, on and off the mat. She lives on the land at The Stone House with her dog, Zak. In addition to overall organizational strategy and vision, Claudia is responsible for stone circles programs, external and board relations, and fundraising.
Emily Wooldridge, Hospitality Manager: After years of hosting potlucks and other such gatherings in her own home, which is quite small, Emily Wooldridge is thrilled to join stone circles, where she will be able to help welcome guests to this beautiful (and much more spacious) land. Our newest staff member, having joined us in August of 2011, Emily is a recent graduate of the School of Social Work at UNC, and her background is a blend of environmental and social justice work, wilderness education, cultural anthropology, farming, and community gardening. She believes in people, good food, community, collaborative spaces, and going outside to work and play as often as possible. Emily is responsible for hospitality, registration and logistics for all of our rental groups and in-house programs.
Jennifer Jackson, Associate Director: Jennifer joined stone circles in 2010 after 16 years in New York City. While there, she worked for human rights, social service and arts nonprofits such as WITNESS, Safe Horizon and 651 Arts Center at BAM in a variety of roles centered around capacity building and empowerment for individuals, organizations and communities. She founded the NYC Women’s Wellness Society, a networking group of holistic professionals, and as a certified life coach and ordained interfaith minister, enjoys engaging in transformative practice with people and groups. Meditation, yoga, dance, Reiki and singing form the basis of her eclectic spiritual practice. Jennifer received a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Indiana University and Bachelor’s Degrees in Sociology from Oberlin College and Vocal Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She is responsible for operations, finance, communications and in-house programs.
Rachel Cotterman, Development and Program Support: Rachel was born just up the road from The Stone House near Hillsborough and is grateful to be serving the land and community that raised her. She attended Oberlin College where she focused her study on the intersections between social justice, the arts, and popular education. Fundraising for stone circles has taught her about radical possibilities for resource-sharing. Her heart is nourished by mindful movement, courageous conversation, and growing and celebrating food.
Tahz Walker, Land Steward: Tahz Rufus Walker is an African American farmer who has spent the past seven years working on both small farms and in community gardening and community food settings across the South. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Tahz has witnessed a dramatic shift in cultural food traditions as well as access to healthy food choices in many urban and rural communities that he has lived in. This has fueled his work and awareness around sustainable agriculture, ecology based education, and food justice. Tahz strives to grow food that is healthy, affordable, using sound ecological practices. He envisions a food-system where farmers come in many shapes, colors and sizes, where youth have a voice in the food they consume, and where there is honor and justice in putting your hands in the dirt. In his work at The Stone House, Tahz stewards overall land use and animal care, oversees a 2-acre organic farm and works to help youth and adults imagine a new ideas in their relationship to food.
support staff and contractors
Rezell (June) Alston, Groundskeeper: A neighbor of The Stone House, June grew up in Chatham County, NC. He previously worked for the Alamance County schools, the NC Department of Transportation and is also a United States veteran. He lives down the road with his wife, Joyec Mebane Alston, and has many children and grandchildren in the Alamance, Orange and Caswell County areas.
Cristina Rivera Chapman, Housekeeping: Cristina has been working in rural and urban communities around land and food for the past 11 years. She originally came to the Stone House from New York City in 2009, where she had been teaching farming and working with young people to build more just food systems. Cristina believes in collaborative work to address systems of oppression by creating supportive spaces for reflection, healing, and self-determination. She is driven by both a deep need and a sense of responsibility to nurture connections to the land and people around her. Formerly our Land-Based Programs Coordinator, we are grateful to welcome Cristina back in this new part-time role as she pursues her food justice work.
Jay Hamm, Maintenance: Jay moved to North Carolina in 1997 to study permaculture and sustainable agriculture on a small farm in Chatham County. His love of self-reliance and sustainability has led him down many paths, including carpentry. He is honored to be behind the scenes at The Stone House making sure the water flows, the toilets flush, and the lights turn on.
Lizzie Jacobs, Cook: Lizzie started her cooking career 10 years ago in the back of a truck in the south of France, cooking for walking meditation retreats for 200 people. Since then the kitchen space has gotten a little bigger. She went on to work as a cook and manager in a retreat centre in the south of France. From there she moved to NC where she began cooking for The Stone House and started an independent study in herbs and nutrition. As well as cooking for The Stone House, she is a personal chef and caters for weddings and other events. Lizzie is passionate about yummy food that makes you feel good on every level. She loves getting creative in The Stone House kitchen, especially when the food is coming directly from the garden, and you will often find her in the kitchen singing and chopping greens. Lizzie loves to surprise people with healthy delicious meals and is about to start a year long training to become a health coach, as well as working as a yoga therapist.
Marilyn Hartman, Grantwriting: Marilyn has been connected to stone circles since she first started attending retreats at The Stone House in 2007. Since then she has gotten to know and love stone circles, continuing to come to events at The Stone House and enjoying the welcoming spirit of the land and the people who work and visit there. A former professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she now works as a consultant, where she combines her love of writing and her commitment to community activism. She has been writing grants for stone circles since the beginning of 2011.
Melanie Wilkerson, Cook: In partnership with Kifu Faruq, Melanie is the Executive Director of Green Space Initiative, a grass roots organization that focuses on food justice in Durham, NC. She is also an amazing chef who specializes in diaspora inspired southern food.
Miriam Biber, Cook: Miriam has been working with stone circles off and on for the last 10 years. She first came to us as a summer intern during her college summers and then began catering for some of our local events. Since The Stone House opened, Miriam has enjoyed cooking for many groups. When she’s not at The Stone House, Miriam is managing the Lotus Center, a Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture clinic in Greensboro. She also works with individuals as a holistic health coach helping them attain their personal health & wellness goals. Miriam is also serving as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Deep Roots Market, a cooperative in Greensboro. Visit her website at www.miriambiber.com.
Noah Rubin-Blose, Cook and Kitchen Manager: Noah is a cook, baker, organizer, gardener, and capoeirista. Born and raised in the North Carolina Piedmont, he works to build a just food system, loving communities, and a world for all of us. He is one of the bakers at Bread Uprising Bakery in Durham, you can check it out online at www.breaduprising.wordpress.com.
Pam Clarke, Bookkeeper: Pam lived on the land that is now The Stone House from 2004 – 2006, when the property belonged to the Human Kindness Foundation (HKF). She is now on the Board of the HKF and continues to volunteer there. Pam lives in Mebane and works as a full-time in-house accountant for Freedom House Recovery Center in Chapel Hill. She has one son, Gabriel, who moved to NC last year.
Rezell (June) Alston, Groundskeeper
Teddy Oliver, Groundskeeping Support
Justin Robinson, Cook
Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey is a teacher of Vipassana (insight) meditation and other practices from the Theravadan Buddhist tradition. His teaching aims to inspire the skills, determination and faith necessary to realize the deepest human freedom. He worked alongside Claudia Horwiz at stone circles for 6 years and was a co-founder of The Stone House with her, focusing his energies on stone circles programs, land-management and good vibes. Jesse’s teaching schedule can be found at www.dolessforpeace.org
Margie Hattori worked with stone circles and The Stone House for seven years, starting as a bookkeeping consultant and then taking on various staff roles in office management, documentation, operations, and volunteer and program support. One of her favorite memories of The Stone House is having so many remarkable people come for programs and visits and seeing them in pairs or small groups talking, laughing and sometimes crying together, forging a powerful connection. Margie is currently pursuing her masters degree in social work at UNC and is looking forward to starting a career in hospice work and bereavement counseling.
Mike Dolan Fliss is a lifetime martial arts student and sometimes teacher, Masters in Social Work, heading back to school soon for a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Mike provides consulting services with various nonprofits on the intersection of program measurement, management and technology, recently working with the NC Department of Social Services and Orange County Department of Health. Mike worked on staff and as a consultant at The Stone House in similar capacities.
Tricia Lindley is originally from West Texas, and after moving to North Carolina for a year of service, couldn’t bring herself to leave the the amazing people and beautiful land of North Carolina. So, she came to work for stone circles at The Stone House as Hospitality Coordinator from from 2009 – 2011. Community and relationships are the foundation for her life and work, practicing a path of Servant Leadership as she goes. Tricia is enjoying friends and family back in Texas as she contemplates her next move, which may include graduate school.