Executive Director

Lesley Williamson

Lesley, center, with 2015 Fellows, writer Heidi Diehl, left, and photographer Bernie Yenelouis.


Lesley began her tenure at Saltonstall in November, 2011. Prior to her move to Ithaca, she lived in Chautauqua County (NY) for ten years during which time where she worked as a program coordinator for Chautauqua Institution’s signature lecture series and, more recently, as the director of the North Shore Arts Alliance, a grass-roots organization representing professional visual artists in all media.


Lesley earned her Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She brings a wealth of not-for-profit organizational experience in addition to a passion for the arts and a deep understanding of the importance of supporting art at its source.


Lesley lives in downtown Ithaca with her husband David Coester, a classical guitarist.


Assistant to the Executive Director

Suzanne Onodera


Property Manager

David Pealo


Dave Pealo came to us in 2006 and is a true Renaissance man. When you hold the title Property Manager you have to be.


Dave plows in the winter and mows in the summer, maintains our hiking trails, fixes just about anything that breaks, and helps us brainstorm solutions to all manner of facility- and property-related challenges.


Dave owns Quality Property Maintenance and manages multiple properties throughout Ithaca.


Colony Chef

Denise DeCesare


 Denise, right, with 2014 poetry Fellow Elana Bell.


It was a happy day when Denise agreed to take on the role of Colony Chef. Her passion for good food, innate culinary talents, and easy-going personality have made her presence in the kitchen a delight to our Fellows.


Denise has lived in Tompkins County for 40 years. Many people remember her from her bartending days at the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg in the late-1970s or from her 13 years as a waitress at the DeWitt Cafe in downtown Ithaca. She then started a small business, “Eat at Home,” cooking for people in their homes.


Denise seems to have the perfect life, spending winters in Florida and returning to Ithaca in the spring.