Haven Leadership Team

Executive Director Sara Kobylenski has been leading the organization since March 2009. Sara came to the Haven from her role as a Field Services Director for the Vermont Agency of Human Services. Before that she served for 20 years as the Vermont Division Director for Casey Family Services and 15 years as a supervisor and direct practice social worker with other child and family services organizations. She earned her BA from Simmons College and an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a board member of the NH Center for Nonprofits, steering committee of the Team of Teams for Health for the region, and a Director of Mascoma Savings Bank. She also participates in local and state level groups addressing poverty, housing and homelessness. Occasionally she teaches a course for Community College of Vermont.


Director of Operations Jennifer Fontaine joined the Haven in 2008 after twelve years in the for-profit business sector. Jennifer earned her BA in Social Work from Bridgewater State University and holds an MS in Human Services with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Capella University. She is the co-chair of the Hunger Council of the Upper Valley, a steering committee member of Upper Valley Strong, former Board member at Dismas House and works with the Hartford Community Coalition on their food programs. Jennifer is also a 2017 graduate of Leadership Upper Valley.

Director of Development & Communications Laura Gillespie joined the Haven in 2016 after ten years in development at The Aloha Foundation. Laura is a graduate of Dartmouth College with an MS in Nonprofit Management from Marlboro College. Laura is on the board of Hartford-Norwich Holiday Basket Helpers, volunteers with Hartford Dismas House and coaches high school rowing with Upper Valley Rowing Foundation.

Director of Volunteer Services Amber Johnston joined the Upper Valley Haven in June 2014. A native Vermonter, Amber received her BS from Union College and graduated from the MALS program at Dartmouth College. Amber returned to the Upper Valley after spending five years working with refugees and displaced populations in East Africa and the Middle East. Amber has a background in mental health and social service program development has overseen and developed programs in the United States, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Egypt.

Director of Organizational Development & Learning Leslie Rimmer joined the Haven in August 2017. Prior to joining the Haven, Leslie spent 24 years at RSG, a transportation, environmental, and market research consulting firm in White River Junction. She transitioned to the non-profit sector in 2011 where she worked in program at the Student Conservation Association then in operations at the Upper Valley Land Trust. She received a BS in Biology from Penn State University. Leslie previously served as a guardian ad litem in the Windsor County family court. She currently serves on the Norwich Public Library board, the Vital Communities finance committee, and as a volunteer with Aging in Place Norwich.


Director of Clinical Services Renee Weeks is the Director of Shelter & Clinical Services at the Upper Valley Haven.  She holds a MA in Clinical Psychology and a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Business Management.  Renee is also a Certified Yoga Teacher.  She has worked in the human services field in VT for the past 18 years.  Her experience ranges from direct clinical care to clinical supervision, training, and program development in the areas of substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, specialized correctional treatment, homeless shelter management, and trauma informed systems. For the past six years, she has overseen the clinical programs and shelter operations at the Upper Valley Haven.  She is active in program development, team building, and working to improve systems of care for people experiencing homelessness and vulnerabilities.  In her free time Renee enjoys yoga, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and skiing.