Sara Johnson, Interim Executive Director
Significant Elements and Work Preserve Job Training Manager

Sara has served as Significant Elements and Work Preserve Program Manager since 2011 and Interim Executive Director beginning September 2015. At Significant Elements, Sara leads Historic Ithaca’s Work Preserve program, which provides hands-on training in traditional trade and retail skills to youth and adults with barriers to employment. An upstate New York native, she first joined Historic Ithaca as an intern from 2007-2008 and in 2010 rejoined the organization as a Preservation Associate. Sara received a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and in 2009 completed M.A. coursework in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell.

Christine O’Malley, Preservation Services Coordinator

Christine in actionChristine leads Historic Ithaca’s efforts in education, advocacy and community engagement and consults with home and property owners, businesses, city and county government officials, and educators. She holds a Ph.D. in architectural history from the University of Virginia and served as a volunteer member of the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission. Previously she served as assistant director of the Carol Tatkon Center at Cornell University and held visiting faculty appointments in art and art history at several colleges and universities.


Peter Walz, Work Preserve Traditional Skills Educator

walz photo editedPeter is devoted to the cause of fine craftsmanship and high-quality woodworking as well as to passing on the traditions of classic workmanship for the modern era.  He is a graduate of the prestigious Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, and owner of P.T. Walz & Co., a high-end furniture workshop in Ithaca, New York. His work covers a wide range of styles from medieval coffers to modern boardroom conference tables. He has worked both in restoration and conservation workshops as well as in modern cabinetmaking shops. Peter lives in Candor, New York, with his wife, Ivy, and his son, Thomas.


Karen Coleman, Work Preserve Education & Outreach

Karen brings to Historic Ithaca three decades of experience in working with children and youth. As a program management specialist  at Tompkins County Youth Services, she focused on youth employment and saw a need to offer hands-on training opportunities to young people who have not succeeded in school or work environments. She joined Historic Ithaca in January 2011 after learning about its unique Work Preserve program.

Board of Directors

  • Julee Johnson, President
  • Ethan Mancil, Treasurer
  • Randi Kepecs, Secretary
  • Lisken Cordes
  • Rod Howe
  • Nancy Medsker
  • Caitlin Schickel
  • Dennis Stein
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