Board of Directors

A blue and white image of two different types of images.A Legacy of Leadership: Richard Ader
Founder and Former Board Chair of NJTL of Bennington

The late Richard Ader, a visionary leader and community advocate, stands as the esteemed founder and former board chair of NJTL (National Junior Tennis and Learning) of Bennington. With a passion for both tennis and community development, Richard was dedicated to creating opportunities for youth, fostering a love for the sport, and instilling invaluable life skills in the hearts and minds of countless individuals.

In 2016, Richard founded NJTL of Bennington VT, Inc., a chapter of the national organization dedicated to combining tennis instruction with educational and life skills programs. Driven by a belief in the transformative power of tennis to break down barriers and inspire greatness, Richard Ader worked tirelessly to create a space where young people could not only develop their tennis skills but also grow as individuals.

As a key driving force behind NJTL of Bennington, Richard assumed the pivotal role on the board, providing strategic vision and leadership. His unwavering commitment to the organization’s mission, coupled with a keen understanding of community dynamics, ensured the sustained success and growth of NJTL of Bennington. Richard played a crucial role in facilitating partnerships with local schools, community organizations, tennis enthusiasts, while fostering a collaborative environment that benefited everyone involved.

Under his guidance, NJTL of Bennington has become a beacon of hope and opportunity for young people in the community. Beyond tennis skills, the organization imparts important life skills, such as teamwork, discipline, and resilience.

Richard was a graduate of the University of Vermont where he was a member of the UVM Athletic Hall of Fame. He formerly served on the Board of the University of Vermont Foundation and was Chairman of the Advisory Board to the College of Arts and Sciences. Richard also served on the Board of the USTA Foundation.

He was on the Board of Trustees for Bennington College and served on the Board of Southern Vermont Health Care System and the Owners and Builders Division of the Real Estate Board of New York. In addition, Richard was a member and Co-captain of the U.S. Master Tennis Maccabi Team from 1981-1997 and won a bronze medal in 1985 and a silver medal in 1993 in the Maccabi Games. He previously served on the Board of Women’s Sports Foundation and was co-owner of the New York Hamptons, a World Team Tennis Team.

A blue and white image of two different types of images.Deborah Slaner Larkin
Board Chair

Deborah Slaner Larkin is the former Executive Director of the US Tennis Association’s charitable foundation (USTAF), where she oversaw NJTL programming and grant awards to 350 NJTL chapters and scholarships for high school students. In that capacity she served in senior management of the US Tennis Association.

Deborah served as CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) from 1986-1992 and again from 2014-2017, followed by a one-year position as Chief Advocacy Officer. She served as one of 18 national members of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1994 to 2002, and has more than thirty-five years of executive experience in corporate, government and non-profit leadership.

Throughout her career Deborah has focused her efforts on promoting civil rights, women’s leadership, education for under-served youth and gender equity on local, state and national levels. She received her MBA from the U. of Maryland and serves as a consultant to PAVE in Bennington, VT.  Deborah also serves on the boards of the National Women’s Law Center, International Tennis Hall of Fame, SUNY Purchase and the Advisory board of My Sisters’ Place. An avid tennis player she is a former state champion and USTA League National Champion. She continues to compete in national tournaments and USTA leagues and is a certified USTA official.

A blue and white image of two different types of images.Seth Gabriel
Board Member & Director of the Bennington Tennis Center

Seth Gabriel has been a USPTA Certified Tennis Pro for more than 20 years. He has coached high school and college players as well as new and seasoned players. and is known for teaching positive sportsmanship on and off the court.  Seth coached Mount Greylock Regional High School to its first State Championship in 2001.  He also coached on the collegiate level as the Johnson State College head coach and led his team to the Mayflower Conference Championship in 1999. Seth was recognized by the JSC Athletic Hall of Fame 2009 for his dedication to sports and leadership He served as a Site Supervisor for sports management at Southern Vermont College and served as a part of the Head/Penn Advisory Staff for many years.

Seth holds a BS in environmental education from Northern Vermont University and was tapped as the head tennis pro at such resorts as Topnotch in Stowe, Vermont, The Equinox in Manchester, Vermont, and the Brodie Mountain Racquet Club in New Ashford, Massachusetts. For his athletic and sportsmanship qualities, Seth was inducted into both his high school and college athletic halls of fame.

A blue and white image of two different types of images.Rob Woolmington

Rob Woolmington recently retired as managing director of Woolmington, Campbell, Bent & Stasny, P.C., a law firm based in Manchester, Vermont.  A graduate of Colgate University and the Harvard Law School, Rob’s trial practice focused on environmental, energy, and land-use law. He also advised tax-exempt organizations and municipalities.

Rob currently serves as vice-president of the Board of Vermont Journalism Trust, Ltd. (Publisher of VTDigger) and as President of The Fund for North Bennington.  He previously chaired the boards of the Vermont Community Foundation, Castanea Foundation, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. He continues to struggle with his tennis serve.

A blue and white image of two different types of images.David Kelso

David Kelso brings a wealth of experience and expertise to NJTL of Bennington in his role on the board. His remarkable journey from former teacher to financial wizard showcases a unique blend of educational acumen and financial prowess. With stellar careers in both professional paths he seamlessly transitioned from shaping young minds to reshaping financial landscapes.

David consistently demonstrates leadership, strategic vision, and a commitment to excellence. Known for his collaborative and forward-thinking approach, he is committed to fostering innovation and driving sustainable growth. David is zealous about NJTL of Bennington’s mission and value and is dedicated to contributing his insight and expertise to guide the organization towards continued success. He believes in embracing and improving our community with a focus on health, education, while building communities. This resonates with the strategic vision of Bennington Aces.

David is actively involved in a multitude of community organizations, philanthropic efforts, and leadership roles. His leadership style, marked by visionary thinking, is a driving force behind his ability to chart new paths and overcome challenges. He believes in giving back and making a positive impact beyond his immediate professional sphere.

When David isn’t moving our community in an encouraging direction, he can be found perfecting pizza in his outdoor wood fired oven.


A blue and white image of two different types of images.Sandra Foster
Executive Director of Bennington ACES

Sandra Foster, M.Ed., former principal of Woodford Hollow Elementary School, began her involvement with the NJTL of Bennington by bringing her students to the Bennington Tennis Center for Physical Education classes.  She chose tennis for her students for the exercise, social and developmental benefits and because she wanted the children to learn a sport they could play throughout their lives. A year after Bennington ACES began, Sandy was hired as its first Executive Director. Her role began by providing enrichment opportunities for the students and has expanded to also provide academic and nutritional programming, strategic planning and public outreach to the Bennington community. She was instrumental in developing the comprehensive curriculum for the full-day, five-week summer program at Bennington College.

In addition to her work with NJTL, Sandy is an active member of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Policy Committee and the Food Advisory Committee and was a previous School Board President of St. Mary’s Academy. When she is not on the tennis court, Sandy is outdoors hiking, biking, skiing or driving a Kubota tractor on the family farm in North Pownal.

A blue and white image of two different types of images.Seth Gabriel
Bennington ACES Tennis Director & Director of the Bennington Tennis Center

A blue and white image of two different types of images.Dan Rowe
Assistant Tennis Director

A native Vermonter, Dan Rowe started playing tennis at age seven, taking group lessons at the town park. He went on to play four years of collegiate tennis at Northern Vermont University, where he competed in singles and doubles, was co-captain of the team and received NAIA regional honors. He majored in Environmental Science with an Education minor.

Tennis was not Dan’s only sport.  For twenty years he worked for ski schools instructing snowboard instructors how to teach and trained them for examinations. He also worked for the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) traveling throughout the Northeast teaching instructors.

Dan taught tennis at the Equinox Resort and Spa and at the Manchester Country Club before joining the Bennington Tennis Center. Now, as Assistant Director, he teaches students at all levels and oversees the adult and Junior programs. He helped develop the foundation of Bennington NJTL, and has been integrally involved in planning and implementing the program ever since. At the Bennington Aces summer camp, he serves as the Assistant Director of Tennis and oversees all tennis programs. Dan also serves on the Advisory Staff for HEAD Tennis.