University of Vermont TKD UVM Taekwondo Club

Club Instructors

Chief Instructor

Grandmaster Ernest Hart

Grandmaster Hart is the Chief Instructor / Head Coach for UVM Taekwondo. In addition, he works full time as a Consulting Teacher (Special Educator). He started his Taekwondo journey at UVM back in 1991 and has been with the club ever since. He currently holds a 7th degree black belt from Kukkiwon—World Taekwondo Headquarters—and is a certified Master Instructor.  Grandmaster Hart also holds national level coaching and referee certification. Taekwondo is about helping people grow and to achieve their potential, whether it be in competition, in training, or in general. He continues to train and learn regularly, including attending the Kukkiwon Master Instructor Course and the International Hapkido Summit in 2022.

Master Instructors

Master Jaime Schulte

Master Jaime Schulte is a volunteer Assistant Coach/Instructor for UVM Taekwondo and has been connected with the club since the fall of 1994, when he started as a white belt and a sophomore. He now holds a 5th degree black belt from the Kukkiwon. In 2010, he became an internationally certified referee and has since officiated many competitions globally. In 2019, he was one of seven Taekwondo referees representing the United States in the referee selection process for the 2020 Olympic Games. He has been Referee Chair of the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference since 2009 and a Director since 2010. Master Schulte has also been Referee Vice Chair or Co-Chair of the National Collegiate Taekwondo Association since 2017. He believes that the best Taekwondo experiences are found in the collegiate realm and continues to appreciate what it has done for him and so many others.

Master Rachel Seigel

Master Seigel is a 5th Degree Black Belt. She started Taekwondo in 2001 and joined UVM Taekwondo in 2013. She started teaching in 2014 and also obtained her National Referee Certification that year. In 2022, she completed the Kukkiwon International Master’s course and was awarded 3rd Class International Taekwondo Master.

Master John Schmidt

Master Schmidt started his Taekwondo career in 2006 under the guidance of Master Matthew Winters at Gentle Dragon Taekwondo in Montpelier, VT. In 2011, as a freshman at UVM, he joined the Taekwondo club where he continued to hone his skills. He has been an instructor with the club since his senior year, sharing his knowledge and passion for the sport with others. In 2017, Master Schmidt attained master rank under Grandmaster Hart and began refereeing at ECTC tournaments.

Master Thomm Buttolph

Master Buttolph is a 4th Dan master instructor. His Taekwondo (ITF) journey began in the late ’80s under the guidance of Master Donnelly. After earning his 2nd Gup (red belt), Mr. Buttolph decided to take some time off from training to pursue other interests.

In late 2010, Mr. Buttolph returned to Taekwondo here at UVM under the instruction of Master Hart and Master Schulte. He was promoted to 1st Dan in the summer of 2013, 2nd Dan in the spring of 2015, 3rd Dan in the winter of 2018, and 4th Dan in the spring of 2023.


Mr. Nirav Daphtary

Mr. Daphtary is a Kukkiwon certified 3rd Dan instructor at UVM Taekwondo. He started with the club back in early 2008 as a graduate student and received his 1st Dan in 2013. Mr. Daphtary is also a USAT certified poomsae and Kyorugi referee and has participated in several regional and international events over the past decade.

Ms. Natalie Tolley

Ms. Tolley is a 3rd Dan black belt. She first started doing Taekwondo in 2005, and joined the UVM Taekwondo club in 2016. She served as the club’s Social Media Coordinator in 2019-2020 and started teaching for the club in 2021. In the fall of 2022, she was promoted to 3rd Dan.

Ms. Katy Czar

Ms. Czar started as a white belt at UVM Taekwondo in 2015, and has remained an active member since. She was elected treasurer of the club in 2017 and became President the following year. In 2017, she also won bronze at NCTA in sparring. In 2018, she was promoted to 1st Dan and began teaching the following year. In, 2020 she was promoted to 2nd Dan and received her referee certification in both sparring and poomsae.

Assistant Instructors

Ms. Katie Neuharth

Ms. Neuharth is a 3rd Degree black belt and is the president of UVM Taekwondo. She began training in 2011 at the Groton gym in Blue Wave and earned her 1st Dan in 2015. She joined the Taekwondo club in 2019 and was promoted to 3rd Dan in 2020.

Ms. Oumaima Sriji

Ms. Sriji started training in Taekwondo as a white belt when they first joined the club in 2018. In 2019, they served as treasurer and then as president the following year until graduating in 2022. They continue to be involved in the ECTC tournament committee.

Skip to toolbar