Sterling’s Office of Professional Studies Hires Video, Audio Experts 


Sterling’s Office of Professional Studies Hires Video, Audio Experts 

Building a Team to Enhance Ground-Breaking Online EcoGather Program


CRAFTSBURY COMMON, Vt.––June 9, 2020––Sterling College’s Office of Professional Studies announces the hiring of two audio and video production specialists––Will Casela of Sharon, VT and Dakota LaCroix of Hampton, NY––to expand and enhance the staff dedicated to EcoGather, a first-of-its-kind course platform offering place-based education connecting communities around the world.

Casela, the newly named Director of Video and Audio Production, was born and raised in London and moved to Vermont in 2017, where he founded Eight8 Creative, a video production company.  During the course of his career, Casela assembled a varied client list which included Samsung, the English National Opera, and Peugeot. Here in Vermont, he has worked for such local organizations as Wild Apple Graphics in Woodstock, Athena Advocacy in Hartford, and the Vermont Law School.  He is also a certified FAA Part 107 Drone pilot.

He brings to EcoGather extensive international experience, including working with production teams based in other countries and a desire to create video and audio content “of the highest standard for online learning applications.” 

“I am delighted to be joining the EcoGather team and look forward to producing exciting and informative video and audio content for this one-of-a-kind higher education platform,” Casela says. “I’m thrilled to be a part of bringing these skill sets and tools to communities around the globe as we work together to imagine and build a better future.” 

Philip Ackerman-Leist, Dean of Professional Studies and Director of EcoGather, says that Casela “brings extensive experience in video production and post-production, branding, and high-end online course content creation. 

“Not only does he bring a high-altitude vision to EcoGather and advancing Sterling’s mission,” he added, “but as a licensed drone pilot, we welcome his bird’s-eye view and portrayals of Sterling’s future!”

LaCroix, the newly hired Assistant Director and Podcast Specialist, has a background in audio documentary and podcasting. His interdisciplinary approach to his podcast “Curious Lightning,” included interviews, music composition, sound design, writing, editing, and collaborating with community members. 

LaCroix held several  positions at Vermont’s now-closed Green Mountain College, including working as Assistant Director of Admissions in the early 2000s and as Freelance Director/Editor/Director of Photography in 2015. In 2001, he co-founded Hike for Hope, a non-profit  that sponsored a hike to raise funds and awareness for Oxfam America; the nonprofit was featured in several national publications including  Backpacker Magazine, National Geographic Online and The Boston Globe. Raised in Vermont, he currently lives just over the border in Hampton, NY.

“I continue to be inspired by Sterling’s passionate mission and the infinite ways that its spirited and dynamic community values ‘working hands, working minds,’” says LaCroix, quoting Sterling’s motto. “I hope to further explore ways to co-create, while fostering deeper relationships to nature and one another through the power of story.”

Ackerman-Leist calls LaCroix “a storyteller in film and audio.” 

“Dakota has lived Sterling’s mission for decades,” he said. “Leading and documenting an awareness campaign for Oxfam by hiking from the Florida Keys to Canada, and also by artistically gathering stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things for his podcast. We’re glad he’ll be helping to tell the Sterling story to intenational audiences.”

Casela and LaCroix join a team using EcoGather as a tool to turn traditional “distance learning” into place-based community-focused education that is dedicated to the regeneration of ecosystems, communities and local economies around the world. Communities in Vermont, Bhutan, India, Puerto Rico and England will collaborate with EcoGather staff to co-create online educational courses and tools that can best serve their specific needs and audiences.

The first EcoGather course ran this spring and attracted more than 200 students worldwide. 

The first three years of the project is funded by an anonymous $1.5 million grant.


About Sterling College:

Founded in 1958 in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, Sterling College advances ecological thinking and action through affordable experiential learning, preparing knowledgeable, skilled, and responsible leaders to face the ecological crises caused by unlimited growth and consumption that threatens the future of the planet. Sterling College is home to the School of the New American Farmstead and the Wendell Berry Farming Program, is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and is one of only nine colleges and universities recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a “Work College.”