Participants & Profiles


2018 Participants & Profiles 

Thomas Alderman, Vermont Agency of Education, retired

Nick Allen, Lamoille Union High School, Hyde Park, VT


Darriell Allick, Griptape Youth Activist

My name is Darriell Allick and I will be a fashion designer with my own company. With the profits I plan to help those in need, build luxury homeless complexes with programs to help them be stable and get the help they need. As well as build schools where students actually learn the truth in the best environments and so much more. I also want to be an activist and change the world!




Jack Anderson, Iowa BIG

Hi, I am Jack Anderson and I am a learner at Iowa BIG! I’m currently on a project called EdRevision that deals with leaner-centered education in local Cedar Rapids schools. I enjoy informing students about this because I believe all learners have the right to learn the way they want to!


Fred Bay, The Bay and Paul Foundations

Fred is a long time advocate, funding partner, ally, and elder.

What are you looking for from this conference?
Inspiration from the work of others. My confident hope is that even some of the “student voice experts” attending the conference will enjoy multiple epiphanies as we together share the astonishing power of youth and adult partnerships in action.

Biggest dilemma confronted in work to amplify student voice and partnership
The tendency, often appearing subliminal, of well-intentioned adults in positions of power to dismiss out of hand the possible importance or even relevance to school improvement of student voice and partnership.

Helen Beattie, UP for Learning


I am the Executive Director of UP for Learning (Unleashing the Power of Partnership for Learning) and the co-founder of Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together. As a licensed School Psychologist and Educational Consultant, I have specialized in strategies to engage youth in school change efforts, often employing action research methods.

I have facilitated numerous student leadership and faculty development retreats, and taught Master’s level courses on school reform and experiential education strategies. I have taken a leadership role in varied civic engagement, service learning, and youth voice efforts in Vermont and on a national level. I hold a Master’s degree  in Public Health from Boston University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

What are you an expert in that you can share with others?
Development of a number of means to create a youth-adult partnership paradigm shift in school cultures, engaging students as agents of change in partnership with adults. Also, engaging students as messengers of the mindset, metacognition and motivation frameworks, in order to support all students becoming empowered and self-directed learners.

What are you looking for from this conference?
Networking and collaboration opportunities; deeper understanding of this complex field; renewed and re-energized by being with like-minded colleagues; identifying means to collectively further this paradigm shift.

Biggest dilemma confronted in work to amplify student voice and partnership
Shifting cultural norms so that the concept of youth-adult partnership is better understood and embraced (e.g. that youth voice is even on the radar).

Marisa Benakis, Elementary Teacher, Ontario, Canada

I am an elementary school teacher in Ontario, Canada. Teaching has been my vocation for ten years now. For the first five years of my career I taught within a Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten classroom where my pedagogy was deeply rooted in inquiry-based learning. This led to my graduate work in the Master of Education program at York University in Toronto. It was through my studies at York that I first learned about the Reggio Emilia Approach to education. I immediately connected to this approach and its understanding of students as protagonists of their learning. The idea that there are a hundred languages in which children learn resonated deeply with me. My earliest understanding of and passion for student voice was conceived out of my deep rooted connection to inquiry and the Reggio Emilia Approach. The most recent five years of my career have been spent teaching at the intermediate level (grades 7 and 8). The image of the child as strong, capable and competent continues to be a core value in my teaching practice. Students as leaders of their learning has been a consistent thread woven between both my early years and intermediate level classrooms. I continue to learn about student voice from my daily experiences and interactions with my students themselves. They are always the inspiration!

Levi Brooks, Eagle Rock School

Tenaj Brown, Camden Big Picture Learning Academy, NJ

I became committed to learner centered education because it was something that I saw every day at school. I remain committed to learner centered education because of the connections you are able to build with people and how you meet new people at every conference. I love to hear people’s views on why they won’t change their schools to the learner centered format and also hear people tell us about the process they’re going through in order to change their environment to learner centered. Additionally, there is so much that we learn at every conference which is helpful for us to take back to our schools to continue our growth as a school community.

Jerusha Conner, Villanova University

Overview of work in the field
My research focuses on student engagement, youth organizing, and youth activism related to school reform/education policy change. Currently, however, I am embarking on a new study, focused on teachers’ attitudes towards student voice.

What are you an expert in that you can share with others?
I have expertise in how involvement in youth activism (particularly around education change) affects participants’ developmental outcomes and how it can and has affected institutional decision-making processes and influenced policy change.

What are you looking for from this conference?
I am eager to connect with fellow student voice scholars, particularly those who focus on the secondary school policy context. I’m eager to hear from practitioners about what research would help them to strengthen their work and to see if anyone might be interested in a joint research proposal.

Sam Chaltain, 180 Studio


Sam Chaltain (@samchaltain) is a partner at 180 Studio, a global design collaborative dedicated to advancing people’s understanding of the future of learning — and what it requires.

Sam’s writings about his work have appeared in both magazines and newspapers, including the New York TimesWashington Post, and USA Today. A former speechwriter for each of President Obama’s U.S. Secretaries of Education, Sam has also written for Oscar and Grammy Award winning artists. A periodic contributor to CNN, Sam is the author or co-author of six books; a co-producer of the PBS documentary film, 180 Days: Hartsvilleand co-creator of the 10-part online film seriesA Year at Mission Hill.

Sam has a Master’s degree in American Studies from the College of William & Mary, and an M.B.A. from George Washington University, where he specialized in non-profit management and organizational theory. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he graduated with a double major in Afro-American Studies and History.

Doug Cullen, Pinkerton Academy

Doug Cullen currently spearheads career and workforce development functions at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire as the Manager of Career Services. This role enables him to provide short- and long-range career and college planning assistance in partnership with Pinkerton’s School Counseling and Career and Technical Education staff for Pinkerton students across 5 distinct New Hampshire communities. Doug was a 2015 recipient of the Pinkerton Academy Alan B. Shepard Award for exceptional contributions to the Pinkerton school community and in early 2017 was nominated for the New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunity Coordinator of the Year Award by the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Awards. In August 2017, Doug was selected as the newest member of the national Association of Career and Technical (ACTE) Middle School Advisory Group, a national gathering of professionals that provides input on appropriate career development support for middle school career and technical education programs throughout the country.  Most recently, Cullen was selected to grow the college and career readiness curriculum depth and breadth of Access Academy, an innovative program led by Saint Anselm College students for high school students of refugee, immigrant and underrepresented families in Manchester, N.H.

Alex Dombi, South Burlington High School, VT

Demi Edwards, Education ReImagined

Demi Edwards is the Chief of Staff for Education Reimagined. She is a recent magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, where she double majored in Government and Economics and minored in English. Demi has a passion for ensuring that all children receive an excellent education and is thrilled to be involved in re-imagining the system in which that can happen.

She has previously interned with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. At Georgetown, she tutored high school students in math and worked as a writing tutor for the Georgetown Writing Center.

Marc Fernandes, Youth Development Consultant

For over eighteen years, Marc Fernandes has been deeply involved in the organizational, programmatic, policy, and advocacy sides of youth development and community engagement efforts, within both the public and non-profit sectors. His graduate studies in Urban Policy and Leadership, undergraduate work in Clinical Psychology and Multicultural Counseling, and his passion for education, equity, and positive youth development, has provided Marc with the abilities to successfully connect with youth as authentic partners in program and organizational processes.

On a grassroots level, Marc was a Coalition Organizer and Facilitator for Thurston County Study Circles on Race in Olympia, WA.  For eight years, Marc worked as an educator and reproductive health counselor within the field of adolescent sexuality and teen pregnancy prevention.  He has worked for Planned Parenthood of Western Washington as a Community Educator, The Children’s Aid Society as a Family Life and Sexuality Education Specialist, and as a Street Outreach Coordinator in Quito, Ecuador.

Marc uses both Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre as tools of engagement and empowerment.  For six years, Marc was Youth Development Coordinator for Multnomah County’s Office of Diversity and Equity in Portland, OR.  He had the great privilege to provide extensive positive youth development training and consultation to government jurisdictions, school districts and community-based organizations within the region. In addition, Marc provided management, program development, and leadership to the Multnomah Youth Commission (MYC) and staff. The Multnomah Youth Commission is the official youth policy body for Multnomah County and the City of Portland.  Marc specializes in using youth-adult partnership theory and practice as a framework for youth development and organizational and community change.  Currently, Marc is a youth development consultant in New York City. He lives in Queens with his wife Ivette and sons Luca and Johan.

Ben Freeman, Vermont Learning for the Future

Ben Freeman has been working as a teacher and administrator promoting education for positive change for over 20 years.  Equity, sustainability, and empowering youth through transformative learning have all been critical elements of his values and practice.  Ben’s experiences include five years each at The Island School, as Dean at the Putney School, and as Founding Director of Burr and Burton Academy’s Mountain Campus.  Recently, Ben shifted from school-based administrative positions to engage in systems-level change as Network Coordinator for Vermont Learning for the Future.

Pat Fitzsimmons, Proficiency-Based Learning Team Leader, Vermont Agency of Education

Pat is currently responsible for leading the Proficiency-Based Learning Team at the Vermont Agency of Education. She also coordinates the Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) projects that include the Vermont Mathematics Initiative as well as the Vermont Science Initiative. She has designed and taught an undergraduate elementary science education course for the University of Vermont and a graduate level course for the Higher Ed Collaborative. Before moving to state-level work, Pat was the Science Specialist for the Barre Supervisory Union. She also fondly remembers her first fourteen years in public school as a kindergarten teacher and was the first kindergarten teacher in Vermont to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Education.

Harry Frank, UP for Learning

From the time I began teaching thirty some years ago – actually, well before I was ever paid to teach – I have tried to create the circumstances for everyone to thrive. That aspiration comes from my own experience and the belief that every voice is essential to the learning process. Last year, I joined the staff at UP for Learning as Program Director. It’s really a homecoming for me as I worked with UP in its early years and will again focus on Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together (YATST). Prior to this position, I served as the Director for Education Services at the Vermont School Boards Association where I worked with school boards on everything from planning to evaluation – and collaborated with a number of youth and adults around the state to develop a Guide to Student Voice in Education Governance.

Over the past thirty years, I have worked as a classroom teacher, building administrator, and program director. I have worked in public, private, and alternative schools as well as education focused non-profit organizations, and I have managed a number of education grants and projects in the Vermont.

And finally, I earned my undergraduate degree in English at Wesleyan University and have a Master’s degree in Education from Saint Michael’s College.

Emma Grove-Griffith, Lamoille Union High School, Hyde Park, VT

Hi, my name is Emma Grove-Griffith and I will be a senior at Lamoille Union High School next fall. At school I am Student Council co-president, NHS President, a member of our Peer Support team, YATST member, cross-country/track runner and a Student Representative on the School Board. I enjoy doing all of these extra curricular activities that give me an ability to be apart of our school in a more in depth way. I am looking forward to learning new techniques and skills at this conference from everyone to make my school have an awesome next year!

T. Elijah Hawkes, Principal, Randolph Union High School, Vermont
 T. Elijah Hawkes has been a public school principal for thirteen years. He is currently principal at Randolph Union, a 7-12 school in Randolph, Vermont. He was founding principal of the James Baldwin School in New York City.  His writings about adolescence, public school and democracy have appeared in various publications, including Huffington Post, Ed Week, Kappan, Schools: Studies in Education, and in two books published by Rethinking Schools, The New Teacher Book and Rethinking Sexism, Gender and Sexuality.  Follow on Twitter @ElijahHawkes

Roger Holdsworth, University of Melbourne, Australia

Roger is a lifelong ardent advocate and international activist for student-centered school transformation. Since 1979, he has published Connect, a bi-monthly practice journal that documents and supports examples of active student participation in primary and secondary schools in Australia. Roger has been a secondary school teacher, youth sector policy worker, curriculum officer and university researche



Bob Jarvis, University of Pennsylvania

For the past 17 years Bob has served as the Director of K-12 Outreach and Equity Leadership Initiatives for the Penn Center for Educational Leadership in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

He has brought to this role nearly forty years of distinguished experience in educational leadership and organizational change in K-12 education through district-wide leadership development, educational equity policy development and targeted systemic district/school organizational change initiatives.

His current professional interests and activities have involve working with national professional and advocacy organizations, researchers and educational equity policy leaders to build school districts’ capacities to better serve the learning and developmental needs of their increasing numbers of challenged and underperforming diverse learners.  The quest has been to eliminate the historic and pervasive gaps we observe in student achievement, attainment and opportunity most often defined by race/ethnicity and poverty.

To this end, Dr. Jarvis’ efforts have focused in the past fifteen years on building collaborative networks of district and school leaders throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.  Over this time, he has developed multiple Excellence Through Equity Consortia that have served well over 200 urban, suburban and rural school districts throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Michigan.

He is currently supporting the development of the Dr. Clarence B. Jones Institute for Social Advocacy that is dedicated to serving as a critical resource to the region by providing multiple opportunities for our diverse youth to serve as informed, empowered, and active citizen leaders who will promote a more just and equitable society.  Its purpose is to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s “dream” alive: invoking and cultivating human dignity, respect, valuing of difference, empowerment, compassion and unity.

Gigi Klipa, Somersworth High School and Career Technical Center, New Hampshire

Sharon Koller, UP for Learning

As the “Getting to Y” Coordinator, Sharon brings a passion for empowering youth which comes from 30 years working and volunteering with children, teens and young adults in mental health, education and prevention fields.   After starting her career as a licensed mental health counselor working largely with youth, Sharon became deeply involved in school programs, implementing student engagement and leadership initiatives at the elementary school level for almost ten years in partnership with the Foundation for Excellent Schools and the Vermont Principal’s Association.   For the past ten years, she has served as the Student Assistance Program counselor at the Mt Abraham Union Middle and High School, where she has implemented Getting to ‘Y’ since 2008.  She has provided many opportunities for middle and high school students to find their voice and to see themselves as agents of change through authentic avenues for engagement, including “Getting to ‘Y’”, student leadership clubs, facilitation training, and peer mentoring programs. 

Spencer Lanier, Eagle Rock School

Jemar Lee, Iowa BIG

Jemar Lee is a youth voice activist, educational entrepreneur and learner at the Iowa BIG high school program in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is an active member of Education Reimagine SparkHouse and has become a national spokesperson for learner-centered learning, fueled by his own powerful experience navigating his education.



Clara Lew-Smith, Hazen Union High School

Clara Lew-Smith is a high school graduate from Vermont and has been involved in school change efforts since her freshman year. In that time, she’s both participated in and co-taught classes with UP for Learning and co-facilitated trainings, presentations, and workshops on topics ranging from discrete instances of school change to the neuroscience that supports the move toward proficiency-based and individualized education. Clara is constantly learning about the many facets of school change from her own positions as student, teacher, school board member, and community member, and this year she’s really taken an interest in the topic of equity and agency as it relates to progressive education.

Lindsey Lyons, TransformA-Education Collaborative

Michelle Maseroni,  UP for Learning 

I am currently a senior at the University of Vermont where I am majoring in Health and Educational Policy with a double minor in Special Education and Educational and Cultural Diversity. I am an intern and on the Board of Directors for UP for Learning.I am also a self-contractor for the Adolescent and Young Adult National Resource Center where I am working with colleagues to better help establish patient and provider relationships in the healthcare system. I am very passionate about bridging the gap between Health and Education and intergenerational collaboration.


Megan Matson, Iowa BIG

My name is Megan Matson and I am a third-year learner at Iowa BIG in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am the co-lead of EdRevision, a project that amplifies the growth of learner-centered education through the power of students. I plan to work in some form of education someday, with the goal of creating an even bigger change in the way students learn!

Leland McGee, Social Justice Matters

Dana Mitra, Pennsylvania State University

Dana L. Mitra is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Education Policy Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She currently is a Students at the Center Distinguished Fellow with Jobs For the Future/the Nellie Mae Foundation. She is the founding editor of the International Journal of Student Voice and the co-editor of the American Journal of Education. Dana also works with professionals as a leadership and personal coach.

Dana has published over 30 papers and two books on the topics of student voice and civic engagement. She has recently published a book entitled, Civic Education in the Elementary Grades: Promoting Engagement in an Era of Accountability from Teachers College Press.

Dana holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis. She has served as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in 2012 to study child participation and educational reform in Bangalore, India. Her prior work experience includes teaching elementary school in the Washington, DC area and serving as the coordinator for two White House Conferences on Character Education.

Christian Mock, Southern New Hampshire University

I have just completed my twentieth year of teaching elementary school in the state of Vermont.  I have taught at Richford Elementary School, Bridport Central School, and Milton Elementary School.  I recently joined Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Education’s Vermont Campus as the Associate Director of Graduate Programming

I am passionate about student-centered education and finding ways to meet the individual needs of all students.
I am currently working on the best way to bring field based graduate programming directly into schools throughout the state.

Alexandra Muck, recent graduate of Middlebury College

Alex Muck is an insatiably curious person who thinks a lot about learning, stories, and life. Her missions include: A) Helping people feel less alone, more cared for, and better understood. B) Helping people learn things that they find meaningful and valuable. C) Helping people solve interesting problems, and have meaningful adventures. This fall, she is seeking a position that would allow her to do any of the above, perhaps as: a faculty or staff member at a school that emphasizes student autonomy and active, intrinsically motivated learning; a tutor working with families to facilitate self-directed learning; or a consultant doing research/outreach for those who work toward the above missions. She enjoys reading, swing dancing, whitewater kayaking, talking with loved ones, walking in the woods, writing thank you cards, and/or making puns. If you want to strike up a conversation with her, just start talking about your favorite subject, the one that makes your eyes light up, or ask her a question you don’t think she’s heard before.

Mark Murphy, GripTape

Mark Murphy leads GripTape, an initiative to empower our youth, helping them to become true drivers of their learning and seize great opportunities to grow, lead, and serve. Before joining America Achieves, Mark was the Secretary of Education in Delaware. During his tenure, Delaware youth significantly improved their academic achievement, college going rates soared, high school dropout rates reached the lowest level in history, and the graduation rate grew to a record high. Mark has also spent a considerable amount of his career directly developing and supporting hundreds of school leaders across the country as the Executive Director of multiple organizations. Mark’s contributions across the country are significant, and he has served on many boards, including the Council of Chief State School Officers and Chiefs for Change. He began his career as a teacher, and then went on as a principal to lead the dramatic turnaround of a low performing school. Mark’s true passion is guiding youth to uncover their potential. He is committed to paving the way for student voice and empowerment in the learning process. 

Sharon Myrick, Educator and Novelist

Sharon grew up in the U.S. Deep South, trying to figure out why she was not the image of a white southern belle. School was no help in understanding that problem or any other, until a college professor finally taught her to think. After doctoral work in sociology of education, Sharon’s passion for eighteen years became teaching, experiencing again every level of school, preschool through college. Related work experiences, managing community educational programs for thirteen years, revealed how change is possible through an “it takes a village” approach.

August 14, 2018 is the publication date for Sharon’s novel, School Tales. Teenagers tell their stories of what’s wrong, and what could be right, about high school. When the hierarchy of school is flipped and student needs are the focus, students thrive by learning to: express their personal interests, engage in self-directed inquiry, and build supportive friendships which nurture each to develop a sense of purpose.

Follow-up to the novel is, a website for interaction among high school students who want to be involved in school transformation. The website is a place to get ideas of how to strengthen student voice in decision making at their school, learn what changes other schools are making, and develop a vision of what school could be. An open forum is the incubator of ideas. Students form a change team at their school, assess areas to improve their school to meet diverse student needs, and report what works. The site will be up and running any minute now….

Hannah Nerenhausen, Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison, WI

Bruce G. Perlow, UP for Learning 

I partner with schools and youth-adult teams throughout the state of Vermont working to raise student voice and youth-adult partnership to redesign education.

What are you an expert in that you can share with others?
Facilitating schools and youth-adult teams working to raise student voice and youth-adult partnership to redesign education.

What are you looking for from this conference?
A broader, deeper understanding of the work being done to amplify student voice and partnership.

Biggest dilemma confronted in work to amplify student voice and partnership
Getting schools to prioritize this work and our approach, and dedicating time to achieve this.

Bill Preble, New England College and the Center for School Climate and Learning

Bill is a Professor of Education at New England College (NEC).  Bill was the 2015 Faculty of the Year Award Recipient from New England College’s Education Division and the 2011 Kilgore Award-winning Professor of the Year at NEC. Bill is a former elementary teacher, middle school social studies teacher, and school principal. Bill’s major areas of research are youth leadership, voice and empowerment and school climate leadership and change. He is the founder of the Center for School Climate and Learning ( which provides schools, organizations, and government agencies with school climate and culture research, evaluation and professional development services. Bill has worked in hundreds of schools throughout the US to help school leaders, teachers, and students improve school climate, safety, respect, student leadership, and respectful and engaging teaching and learning practices.

Bill is the father of two wonderful children, Christopher and AnnaLi, husband to his tirelessly supportive wife Holly, and a motivated, ever-hopeful and available drummer.

Stephanie Ratmeyer, University of Vermont

For the past 16 years, I have worked with K-12 educator professional development programs, primarily focused on mathematics and science, in Vermont and Massachusetts that support a shift away from attempts to transmit knowledge to students and toward instructional approaches that empower students to construct deep conceptual understanding. My research related to these programs is primarily through external program evaluation, which has included classroom observations in many schools and school systems. I have seen and reported on tremendous range in student opportunity to actively engage with or make decisions about their learning. As a current student in the University of Vermont’s Education Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral program, I have also explored how school policies and practices support or hinder teachers who are trying to lead school-wide change.

Brittany Ray, TREE-Transforming Rural Experience in Education

Michele Reaume, Ed.D, Ministry of Education, Ontario, Canada

As a veteran of thirty-one years in the elementary school system in Ontario, Canada, I am a passionate supporter of student voice. I believe children are capable and competent and no matter what their age, they are able to have a voice in their education. I taught elementary school for 20 years, where I engaged with a wide variety of students and learned that students have a lot to say! When I became an administrator; a vice-principal for 2 years, and then a principal for 9 years, I endeavored to hear the voice of all of my students and to enact change based on their input.

As a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, OISE, I brought a practitioner lens to my studies. Early in the program, I became interested in the academic world of student voice and particularly the role the principal plays in facilitating student voice. Eventually my interest led to my dissertation: Listening, learning and relationships: An investigation of how principals facilitate student voice. It can be accessed below: D_thesis.pdf

I currently serve as an Education Officer for the Ministry of Education in Barrie, Ontario where I proudly assist eleven public school boards with their portfolios of special education and mental health.

Martha Rich, UP for Learning

As a member of UP for Learning’s leadership team, I work with school-based programs supporting the organization’s mission to Increase student engagement by developing youth-adult partnerships in learning. As a former English teacher, director of teacher education at the university level, and Vermont high school principal, I’ve worked to amplify student voice throughout my career, with a particular focus on social justice and community service learning. Since joining the UP team five years ago, I’ve discovered the power of full partnership; I often say it took me 40 years to recognize that students can be my colleagues. I now focus on helping other educators and youth themselves as they explore the potential of shared responsibility for learning.

What are you an expert in that you can share with others?
I have extensive experience with the facilitative leadership and professional development practices of the School Reform Initiative, as both a trainer and practitioner in school and organizational settings. Designed for improving instruction through professional dialogue, SRI work can also be powerful structure for youth-adult partnership.

What are you looking for from this conference?
I hope to expand my knowledge of youth-adult partnership models beyond Vermont, especially examples of sustained successes in public schools. I’m also interested in ways teacher preparation can foster a commitment to partnership among those entering the profession.

Biggest dilemma confronted in work to amplify student voice and partnership
Our most persistent dilemma is widespread promotion of student-centered learning FOR students rather than WITH them: even progressive, well-meaning adults have a limited vision of the critical role youth have to play in shaping their own learning.

Kendra Rickerby, Educational Consultant

Kendra Rickerby is an educational consultant.  Currently, she is working with a few school districts in Vermont as their Proficiency-Based Learning coach.  This past year she also assisted in the research process for iNACOL’s national scan of personalized learning. She offers insight from a variety of environments including a charter middle school, progressive public high schools, a higher education consulting firm, and a state education agency. She helped facilitate the professional learning of district leaders during the initial implementation of Vermont’s Education Quality Standards and the Act 77: Flexible Pathways Initiative. 

Beatriz Salazar, Eagle Rock School

Christopher Schmid, Southern New Hampshire University

Over the past decade, I have worked with fifth and sixth graders at Milton Elementary School in Milton, Vermont.  I am a big believer in students guiding their own learning within a Project-Based setting. Additionally, I work as an Adjunct Professor for Southern New Hampshire University’s School of Education Vermont Campus.  I currently facilitate graduate students through the Action Research process for their Capstone. Moving forward, I will be working with the Programming Team at the Vermont Campus to bring innovative practices to various field-based programs.

Anna Schwarz, Lamoille Union High School, Hyde Park, VT


Anna Schwarz is a sophomore at Lamoille Union High School. In her free time, she plays on the soccer and lacrosse teams as well as competing for the Nordic ski team. She also is a member of LUHS’ Scholar’s Bowl team and jazz band.



Halima Scott, MetEast High School

I am a rock. I have a strong will to succeed and do well when others wish me ill. I am stubborn, outspoken and rarely fazed when others attempt to bring me down. I am a rock because I stand tall in the face of suffering and hostility. I am a rock. Halima, one who is a leader, helper, and independent. Something you should know about me is that I am very active and an athlete. I am a well rounded person and I take part in almost everything that is put before me. Any obstacle that I encounter isn’t just a barrier or boundary line. It is a motive. I play basketball and run spring track for Woodrow Wilson High School located in Camden, NJ which goes to show that I am also extremely competitive. But the most important thing that you should know is… I am a reflection of myself. A mirror reflects only what you place before it. And before every mirror there is me. Finally, I have graduated from MetEast high school. Fall of 2018 I will be attending The University of Delaware to pursue nursing.

Karen Scott, UP for Learning 

I have had the pleasure of serving as the Administrative and Program Director at UP for Learning for the past year.  Prior to that, I worked for many years in TRIO Talent Search and Educational Opportunity Centers, and coordinated the first GEAR UP program in Vermont at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. I have extensive experience establishing community partnerships with a wide variety of nonprofits organizations, school administrations,  state agencies, and community entities, all  ​working ​to improve the quality of and access to education in Vermont. ​I am a candidate​ ​for Ed.D. in Education Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont, with an emphasis on organizational leadership, program evaluation, comparative education, and qualitative and quantitative research techniques. My current areas of research include ​student motivation and engagement in summer programs, flexible pathways and personalized learning, integration of expanded learning opportunities, and ensuring equity and access to high quality education for all students.​ My husband John and I live on top of Maple Hill in Plainfield with our three crazy dogs and enjoy being outside doing anything, especially camping. ​

Anya Smith-Roman, Georgia Institute of Technology

Anya is a 2017 graduate from the inaugural cohort of the Innovation Diploma at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, and is now a learner at the Georgia Institute for Technology studying to become a social entrepreneur. Since high school, she has been striving to forward the Education Transformation Movement by networking with thought leaders around the world, speaking and coaching at education conferences, and being a pioneer of innovative learner-centered education practices. Anya dreams of a future where “school” consists of students working side by side with community leaders to design for pressing issues in the world.

Susan Stancampiano, Education Reimagined

Susan is the Operations Manager and Senior Associate for Education Reimagined and has been at Education Reimagined for two years. Following graduation from the University of Oklahoma, she entered the Peace Corps where she served as an educator in Malawi. She has a diverse background in the education field, having tutored literacy and ESL to elementary students and adults, working in Operations for Teach For America at their Institute in Atlanta, and working on a campaign with the NEA during her time as a field organizer. For fun, Susan is exploring the world of competitive races and loves to bake gluten-free treats for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Arthur Stauff, Manchester High School West, NH

Donnan Stoicovy, Retired Educator, Director of the League of Democratic Schools

Working for the past 41.5 years as a public school educator, I have retired a year ago although I do not consider myself retired. I started my career working as a van driver taking special education student to their work study sites sometimes remaining with them to help them become engaged in what they were supposed to be doing (ask me about the pheasant farm experience).

I quickly transitioned to teaching 6th grade in a middle school when the Director of the Special Services learned that I was a certified teacher. The principal took the 16 struggling and challenging 6th graders  (14 boys and 2 girls) and put them into a classroom with me. They quickly informed me that they hated school, couldn’t read and didn’t care. They quickly gave me my goals in being their teacher in spite of the principal loading me down with a stack of 6th grade textbooks.

In true “new teacher” form, I believed that I needed to do the District’s “curriculum” as charged by the school’s principal. I went home every evening, cried and soul searched. I eventually came to terms that I needed to listen to their voices and created a curriculum that would honor where they were and yet encourage them to become learners. That became my challenge and my goal which ultimately led to powerful and engaging learning experiences through service learning and partnership opportunities within the community and strongly influenced my amplification of student voice, engagement of learners and community partnerships.

Erica Stypinski, Camden Big Picture Learning Academy, NJ

I was born and raised in Riverside, New Jersey and attended Rowan University where I earned a B.A. of Science in Education. A few months after graduating with my degree in the fall of 2010, I began my teaching career. On May 1, 2011, I began this amazing journey with the Camden City Board of Education as a Pre-K- 5th grade Health and Physical Education Teacher. I was a passionate and driven educator that had the best interest of my students as my priority. A few years later I was transferred to MetEast High School, a Big Picture Learning school, where I worked part-time with grades 9th – 12th as a Health and Physical Education Teacher. I had the opportunity to grow in my profession and learn about this school and its unique, different, and challenging format; but I am always up for a challenge!!! I did some research on the school and the Big Picture Learning model and I became more intrigued and could not wait to learn more.

I now teach 10th – 12th grade Health, Physical Education,Driver’s Education and swimming  as well as having an  now graduated Advisory. This is my third full year at the school, now known as Camden Big Picture Learning Academy. I never thought that, after 8 years of educating students, it would get better and better every year. I have learned so much from my students and have built great relationships with my Advisory as well as their families. As a Health and Physical Education Teacher you rarely get to build relationships and feel that you are a part of a school community, but here at CBPLA, you always feel as if you are a part of the students’ educations and watching them grow from year to year!!!

James Tedesco, Hazen Union High School

Gabrielle Thomas, TeenSHARP Delaware

Gabrielle Thomas is the Founder of the Youth Advocacy Council of Delaware. The YAC provides education policy and advocacy training to high school students, empowering them to initiate campaigns and create high quality schools. She is also the Site Manager of TeenSHARP, a competitive college access program for Black and Latino students. If you can’t tell, she loves to cultivate within youth a passion for social justice and civic engagement!

Angel Velez, Camden Big Picture Learning Academy

I first became committed to learner-centered education when I entered high school. All the doors that being in a learner-centered environment opened were amazing. It got to the point where I started asking myself, “why would I want to be selfish with it?” I want students all over the nation to have access to a learner-centered environment if the “traditional education environment” isn’t good for them. What keeps me committed to a learner-centered education is the relationships that are sparked in these kinds of environments that aren’t usually seen in a traditional


Marcus Wade-Prince, Eagle Rock School

Wenzdae Wendling, Lamoille Union High School, Hyde Park, VT

I’m a junior at Lamoille Union High School. I love playing soccer, nordic skiing, playing lacrosse, and the saxophone. I’m involved with many clubs at my school and enjoy being a part of my school community.



Beth White, Big Picture Learning

The great John Dewey believed that we “learn best what we live,” that first-hand experiences offer opportunities for individuals to develop interests. For me, an ideal learning environment is where transdisciplinary partnerships support personalized learning. These are places that offer experiences, events, and situations that inform, encourage, and reinforce self-conceptualizations of future possibilities. Prior to Big Picture Learning, I worked in a variety of New England schools, including The Met High School in Providence, RI (the “mother ship” of the Big Picture Learning Network). After 10 years as a high school teacher, I returned to the classroom and earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont. My first-hand experiences include designing and running advisory programs, supporting democratically-oriented schooling, building service-learning and internship programs, teaching teachers and pre-service educators, and the designing and implementing alternative forms of assessment. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies with New Hampshire teaching certificates in biology and earth and space sciences from Antioch New England University. I am a volunteer doula, artist, and working on my pilot’s license.

Becky Wigglesworth, St. Michael’s College, Vermont

Khalif Williams, Bay and Paul Foundations