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Our Team

Jane Swift

Jane is an accomplished leader, speaker and mentor who has made history as a political leader, and has served her state and nation as an education leader and advocate. She is fiercely loyal to her hometown of North Adams, Massachusetts where she learned the values, attained the skills and was given the opportunity to create a life of purpose. Over three decades working in the public, private and non-profit sectors, she has striven to provide those same pathways to her neighbors in the Berkshires, the residents of Massachusetts, and young people across the country.

Jane founded Cobble Hill Farm Education and Rescue Center, serving as the Board President and its strategic leader. The Center is located on the farm where she and her late husband, Chuck, raised their three daughters. In establishing the non-profit Jane seeks to draw on the connections and knowledge she has garnered through three decades of leadership on education and public policy issues. Her goal is to create a Center to serve the community she and her family love - the Northern Berkshire region. Jane has always attracted top talent to her teams and the Center at the farm will benefit from her ability to inspire others, to give them leadership opportunities and to provide them with the tools and support to succeed. The Center will be a place where students come to explore opportunities, where residents and visitors are able to better understand and support small family agriculture, and where farm animals in need of rescue find respite. 

Jane is an accomplished manager, strategic thinker, fundraiser and most of all a hard worker. Each of these skills will be leveraged as the Farm builds out its ECCO Summer and After School Programs, its Animal Rescue, and its AirBnB and farm products businesses which will provide both programming for the Center and revenue to sustain its operations. Jane served for fifteen years in state government, including holding the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and State Senator. She served as the youngest woman ever elected to the Massachusetts Senate, as the first woman in United States History to give birth (to twins) while serving as Governor. Since leaving public office, she has held roles as a chief executive officer; a board chair, member and committee chair to public, private and not-for-profit institutions; an adviser to entrepreneurial education companies; and as a partner in a venture capital fund. She brings to each new challenge a transformational leadership style, a passion for educational excellence and innovation and deep experience and success in leading mission-focused organizations.

Jane is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford where she also received an honorary Doctorate degree. She has taught Leadership Studies at Williams College and at the Rappaport Center at Boston College Law School. Jane is most proud of her three daughters, Elizabeth, Lauren & Sarah.

Renee Dodds

Renee runs the premiere dog (and cat) daycare and boarding business, Love Us and Leave Us (or lulu) in Berkshire County and is passionate about the difference animals can make in the lives of people. She is also a highly successful, self-made businesswoman creating vocational careers in pet care for her neighbors in the region. Lulu has two facilities in Pittsfield and Lee, offering exceptional services for animals and employing over twenty employees in benefit eligible positions. Renee and her team are trained and certified in pet care and ensure that each new employee commits to a regimen of on-boarding and training for their own professional growth and to maintain the high standard of care expected by the satisfied customers of her fast-growing business. Love Us and Leave Us was established in 2006. Renee’s love and affection for animals is palpable in every interaction she has with them. It is matched by her commitment to her team and their ability to find meaningful work in the Berkshires.

Renee is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of Cobble Hill Farm Education & Rescue Center in Williamstown, Massachusetts and the leader of the animal rescue operation.  The animal rescue operation on the Farm fulfills a dream Renee has long had to give back to the community through a non-profit serving animals and families in the region. Renee is committed to finding opportunities for students from all backgrounds to explore opportunities and discover pathways to convert their interests into a career. She serves as an exemplary role model, having built a successful business based on her passion for the joy and comfort that animals can bring into peoples’ lives. Renee will draw on her education, her many connections to the veterinary and animal welfare community in the Berkshires and beyond and her entrepreneurial spirit to guide the operations of the Rescue Center and to support its integration with the overall mission and programming for the Farm.

Renee attended the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and received her certification as a Pet Dog Trainer in 2011 from the Animal Behavior College in California. She is a certified member of the IBSA, the International Boarding and Pet Association, and a member of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. She chairs the City of Pittsfield’s Animal Control Board. Renee, a resident of Lanesborough, has a daughter, Piper, who shares her love of animals and the Farm.

Sue Wells

Sue is a highly experienced educational leader who creates transformative learning environments for children of all backgrounds. Sue is committed to ensuring every child’s unique talents, abilities, and interests are seen and honored. By instilling in every constituent group a belief in the impact of an extraordinary educational experience – academically, socially and emotionally – Sue has harnessed people’s innovative spirit and connected it to their philanthropic interests in unprecedented ways.

Sue is the Founding Executive Director of the Education Center at Cobble Hill Farm Education & Rescue Center in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In this role, Sue will draw from her three and a half decades of experience in education, her commitment to community, and her passion for ensuring equal access to academic excellence for all students. For twelve years, Sue served as the Head of School at Pine Cobble School in the Berkshires, a Preschool-8th grade co-educational, independent, day school.

During Sue’s leadership at Pine Cobble: enrollment grew from 108 to 156; significant gifts were secured to take the school’s endowment from under $300,000 to $10 million, while other major gifts paid down the large mortgage on the 20-acre campus to under $300,000; the first ever full-tuition scholarships were established; a one-year fellowship program was started that attracted young college graduates to teaching; and innovative programming in the outdoors and social emotional learning were added to an established character education program. Additionally, she led the school through the challenges of COVID, reopening September of 2020 and demonstrated her innovative spirit by successfully utilizing outdoor spaces and young alumnae/i to work with Pine Cobble students during outdoor activity blocks.

Before her work as Head of School, Sue served as the Director of Development, understanding that a strong financial foundation is critical to supporting access to excellence in education for all students from diverse backgrounds. During her tenure at Pine Cobble, she also continued to coach the girls’ field hockey & lacrosse teams and act as faculty advisor to the student council, using her athletic and leadership skills to mentor young people and interact directly with students on a daily basis. She also developed and ran a unique summer experience for a decade for local teenagers with the creation of the Female Athlete, Strong Teammate (F.A.S.T.), a girls’ leadership program with an emphasis on communication, hard work, and commitment to others.

Sue is a graduate of Williams College and received her M. S. Ed. from Simmons College. She was awarded a Klingenstein Head of School Fellowship through Columbia University’s Teachers College and has led an Association of Independent School’s of New England (AISNE) accreditation team. She serves on the Stoneleigh Burnham School Board of Trustees and has served in a variety of volunteer, leadership roles in the Berkshires. Sue and her husband, Pete, have three daughters.

Community Partners 

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Gundrum, Rynard G. Logging & Lumber

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