Program Managers

Farm Program Manager

Margaret Coulter is the Founder and Director of Road To Independence (RTI). A native of Washington, DC, she came to NH to attend Colby-Sawyer College in 1980 and has made her home in the area ever since. With her widely varied life interests, she has an eclectic work history including snowmaking, Lodging Bureau Manager and everything in between at Mt. Sunapee Ski Area; Shelter Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at Turning Points Network; photographer, customer service and darkroom printer at Sierra Photographic Services in Newport; co-management of Young Horizon’s Children’s Shop in New London; as well as many waitressing stints throughout the area. Underlying all of these has been a lifelong connection to equines and a strong commitment to the interests and care of her younger brother with developmental disabilities.

 

Wanting to reconnect with horses, after the birth of her daughter, Stella, in 2003, led her to Penny de Peyer of Goshen. British by birth, Penny had relocated here in 2000 to breed Cleveland Bay Horses and donkeys. This friendship, mentorship and mutual love of donkeys led them to creating Road To Independence in 2011. Penny’s belief that “you don’t know until you try” carried them forward on many donkey adventures.

 

Margaret has overseen all the programs for RTI’s farm program – making connections with area schools, elder residences, funding sources and a wide range of community members.

With the passing of Penny de Peyer in June of 2021, Margaret has assumed the care and management of the RTI donkey herd of 5 as well as the overall direction of RTI.

 

Margaret strives every day to ensure that the joy and confidence that the donkeys and Aurora Bakery have brought to all those with whom we interact – program participants and their families; residents of senior living sites; customers at the Farmers Markets and bakery as well as the broader community – can continue through her thoughtful and sustainable direction for many years to come.

 

We are fortunate that Margaret has chosen to live in Newport, NH with her husband and daughter, her mom and brother, two dogs, and five donkeys.

Bakery Program Manager

Megan Walker has been the Aurora Bakery Manager since before it opened its doors. She proposed the idea of a retail bakery and cafe that would offer training and employment opportunities for teens and adults with differing abilities as well as a place for the public to obtain delicious and unique, made from scratch baked goods.

 

A native of Sutton, NH and a graduate of Kearsarge HS, Megan came to RTI with training in Baking and Pastry Arts from the New England Culinary Institute, as well as in Small Business Entrepreneurship from Trident Technical School. She had six years of hands-on baking experience both in New England and South Carolina. In addition, Megan had direct experience working with those who are differently abled through Special Olympics and Therapeutic Riding Programs. Of particular note, is the genuine, ongoing friendship that started in elementary school with a challenged peer that highlighted the lack of opportunities in our rural area.

 

For the past four and a half years, Megan has demonstrated her versatile skills as a creative baker, a small business manager, and a teacher and mentor to all who have been part of Aurora. She has an uncanny ability to estimate how many cookies, pastries and bread will be needed for a particular event. She has created a place where all feel welcome and productive no matter their abilities.

 

As the program at Aurora has grown, so have Megan’s confidence and talents. She is able to balance the needs of customers, volunteers and staff while always keeping her attention primarily on meeting the needs of our participants. We are so fortunate to have her unique blend of skills and positive outlook working with us at Aurora Bakery.