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Meet the Advancement Team

The Advancement Team

Responsible for Northwood's fundraising activities, alumni and parent programs, and events; the Advancement Team enjoys working with our constituents to advance the mission of Northwood School.

Alexander Niefer
Alexander Niefer, Director of Advancement

Alex believes that supporting education can be a truly transformational experience for both the recipient and the donor. A native of western New York, Alex received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and his master's degree from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass, Amherst. After spending a decade in various fundraising roles at the University of Massachusetts and the College of Charleston, Alex joined the Northwood advancement team in July of 2015 to help connect alumni and parents with Northwood programs and projects that change lives. Alex and his wife Mara live in Lake Placid with their two young children, Ryan and Anna.

Stephanie Colby
Stephanie Colby, Assistant Director of Development

Pairing Northwood’s alumni, families, and grant-makers with the programs, projects, and people that inspire their support — that’s how Stephanie Colby, associate director of development, views her role at Northwood School. It’s a form of matchmaking that is incredibly rewarding. Stephanie joined Northwood’s advancement team in 2010 after 10 years in development and communications at nearby Paul Smith’s College.  A native of the Adirondacks and graduate of Middlebury College, Stephanie is passionate about education and also loves the comfort and familiarity of small towns like Lake Placid and Middlebury, making Northwood a perfect fit. Having grown up on the ice, Stephanie can’t wait for Mirror Lake to freeze each year, so she can skate the perimeter with her family -- and welcome alumni and parents back for Northwood’s Annual Pond Hockey Tournament!

Christine Ashe
Christine Ashe, Director of The Northwood Fund

For Christine, it is all about stories and connections.  From hearing memories of a funny antic or seeing a well of emotion surface when speaking about that teacher who made all the difference to their teenage self, she feels privileged to learn about Northwood through the very real and emotional stories of our alumni and parents.   The Northwood experience transcends all those fashion trends and haircut styles tucked away in the Epitome yearbooks lining the shelves in the advancement office — it is the common thread of teenagers discovering who they are in this beautiful Adirondack setting that connects the greater Northwood family over the decades. Watching this Northwood family come together to generously support the experience for teens here today is what makes her job as director of The Northwood Fund so rewarding. After graduating from UMass Amherst, Christine lived out west working for an independent bookstore in Denver for nearly two decades before joining the advancement team in 2008.

Michael Aldridge
Michael Aldridge, Creative Director

Always looking to capture that authentic "Northwood Moment" on camera, Michael brings the Northwood Experience to life. Prior to joining Northwood, Michael worked as a freelance photographer / graphic designer. His client list included: Hilton Resorts, Miller Sports Group, IMG, SBC Media, Aruba Publications, Golf Digest, P3 Vodka, Olympic Regional Development Authority, Crowne Plaza Resorts, and New York ByWays. Capturing all aspects of the Northwood family through images and video remains as challenging and fun today as it was when he joined Northwood in 2002. 

Mara Niefer
Mara Niefer, Event Coordinator

Mara loves the excitement and anticipation of a great event - especially an event that includes Northwood alumni and parents. After a career as an equestrian coach and trainer, Mara joined the advancement team as event coordinator. Responsible for events both large and small, such as Annual Reunion, Winter Weekend, and Family Weekend, Mara enjoys the challenge of keeping each event organized, fun, and always growing. Mara lives in Lake Placid with her husband, two children, and two dogs.