Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying Prevention Advisory Council

Council Bios

Rebecca Holcombe joined the Agency of Education in January 2014. Prior to joining the Agency, Rebecca taught at the middle school, high school and university levels. She taught social studies and science before becoming the principal at the Fairlee School. While at Fairlee, she helped lead the district through the formation of the Rivendell Interstate School District. Rebecca researched issues related to high stakes testing and worked on projects related to organizational learning, school leadership and principal development while pursuing her doctorate at Harvard. More recently, as Director of Dartmouth College's Teacher Education Program, she worked with pre-service teachers and taught a course on Education Politics and Policy. Rebecca holds a BA in History from Brown University, a MBA from the Simmons School of Management and a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently working on her Doctorate. Rebecca also completed coursework for her principal certification at Lyndon State College and received her preparation as a teacher at the Upper Valley Educators Institute. After a decade away from Vermont, Rebecca was thrilled to move back and place her two children in Vermont schools a few years ago. She appreciates the high levels of public involvement and debate about how to improve education for our children that characterize Vermont schools.

Dana Kaplan is the Director of Education at Outright Vermont, a statewide non-profit working to create safe, healthy and supportive environments for LGBTQA youth age 13-22. Dana does all things education related in Vermont schools and community organizations, from student and staff ally development trainings to queer & trans* 101 workshops. They are currently launching a peer education program with high school students to bring anti-harassment and identity development workshops to middle schools. Dana is also the Vermont GSA Network coordinator, working closely with school GSA's (advisors and students) to ensure best practices, skill development, and community networking opportunities. Prior to working at Outright Vermont, Dana was at UVM working as an Assistant Director in the Center for Student Ethics and Standards. Dana holds a Masters in Mediation and Applied Conflict Students from the Woodbury Institute at Champlain College, and a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Vermont.

Bernice Garnett, MPH ScD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont, in the College of Education and Social Services. Dr. Garnett's background is in public health and social and behavioral sciences. Her major research interests include childhood obesity and eating disorders prevention, bullying, discrimination and harassment, youth health disparities, food access and food insecurity and comprehensive school health. As a public health prevention scientist, school/community-based health promotion and data driven-policies and programs to promote social/behavioral and academic health of youth are central to her work. Bernice received her master's in public health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and her doctorate in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Curtiss Reed, Jr. is the executive director of Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity. He also serves on the governing board of Vermont Independent Media, publisher of the award-winning newspaper, The Commons, and its Media Mentoring Project. Curtiss is a faculty member of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute in the area of diversity, race, and public engagement. He is former chair of the Vermont State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Henri Sparks is the equity director for the Burlington School District (BSD). Throughout his career, Henri has served as an advocate for youth and families, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring social justice for all. Prior to joining the Burlington School District, Henri was the Neighborhood Planning Assembly Coordinator and Youth Advocate for the City of Burlington. Since 1996, Henri has worked for the Burlington School District as the Coordinator of Student and Family Support Services, and as the Director of the Alternative Day Program. Over the years he has developed several successful programs including, BHS Alternative Day program, Homework Center, Summer Transitions Program and Shades of Ebony (co-director). Henri holds a Master’s Degree in Community and Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, and he completed the Upper Valley Educators Institute program for aspiring Principals.

Jeff Fannon is general counsel for Vermont-NEA, the union that was instrumental in promoting anti-bullying and harassment programs statewide. Prior to joining the educators' union, Jeff was a lawyer representing non-profit organizations, including labor unions and Taft-Hartley trusts, for eighteen years in Washington, DC and Vermont. He was former counsel to the Vermont Health Care Administration under former Governor Howard Dean. Jeff holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Vermont, and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Georgetown University.

Jeff Francis is the executive director of the Vermont Superintendents Association (VSA). In that capacity, Jeff works with Vermont's educational leaders on a wide array of issues related to public education including the improvement of the overall climate in schools and the prevention of, and response to, the societal issues of hazing, harassment, and bullying. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University.

Kathy Johnson is an equity and diversity leader dedicated to social justice through adult education, youth development, and systems change. She specializes in working with adults and students to create welcoming, respectful environments free of bias, stereotyping, harassment, and discrimination. Johnson has worked with schools and organizations across Vermont to improve gender equity, and bullying and harassment prevention and response for the last 20 years. She is a self-employed senior training consultant with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute. Johnson is former Director of Equity Initiatives at Vermont Institutes. She holds a Master’s Degree in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies from Champlain College.

Karen Richards is the executive director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission (VHRC). The Commission has four primary responsibilities: education and outreach, investigation and enforcement of complaints of discrimination, conciliation of complaints and public policy initiatives around human and civil rights. The VHRC investigates complaints of discrimination in housing, public accommodations (including schools) and state government employment. Prior to becoming the VHRC director, Karen was the Director of the Poverty Law Project at Vermont Legal Aid for fourteen years. Upon arriving in Vermont from Connecticut, where she was a staff attorney at Connecticut Legal Services for ten years, Karen served as legal counsel to the Vermont Department (now Agency) of Education for five years. While there, she monitored and assisted school districts and the agency in compliance with civil rights laws and prosecuted educator misconduct cases.

Ken Page is the executive director of the Vermont Principals Association (VPA). He has been a teacher for 15 years, a principal for 21 years, and is now in his fourth year at the VPA. As a teacher, Ken's passion was student engagement and middle level education; as a school leader, he brings a wide perspective to his work having worked for most of his career in central Vermont, at U-32 High School and Calais Elementary School before having the chance of a lifetime to start Crossett Brook Middle School serving the communities of Waterbury and Duxbury. Ken brings experience and perspective to his role on the council. He holds a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Vermont.

Kim Brittenham is the community access coordinator for the state-wide disability rights organization, the Vermont Center for Independent Living. As Vermont’s ADA technical assistance and training provider, Kim works with state and local government to improve access to programs, services, and facilities. She also works at the intersection of violence and disability, serving on Vermont’s Governor’s Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force and the National Council on Independent Living’s Task Force on Violence and Abuse of People with Disabilities.

Lucie Garand is the government relations specialist at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, the state’s largest law firm. Lucie manages the health care practice within the government and public affairs group, representing hospitals, the Brattleboro Retreat, and other health care entities at the statehouse and with state agencies. Lucie advocates on behalf of the interests for the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In addition to her legislative work, Lucie is a member of the firm’s Health Law Group. Prior to joining DRM, Lucie worked at the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems for more than 20 years, including six years as the director of state legislative affairs and emergency preparedness. Lucie has a keen interest in creating a culture of safety and acceptance in schools, including schools that serve children with special needs.

Mike Dreiblatt is the president of standuptobullying.net and a national speaker on bullying and violence prevention, healthy relationships, effective communication and discipline of students with special needs. He is an authority on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Mike is the author of numerous magazine articles and co-author of the books, The Wallop Story: How I Learned to Stop the Bullying and How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression – Activities and Lessons to Teach Empathy, Friendship, and Respect. He is also the author of the bullying prevention Head Start curriculum from www.imsafe.com. A former teacher, Mike is also an experienced grant writer and trained mediator.

Mill Moore is the executive director of Vermont Independent Schools Association (VISA) representing the Vermont independent schools community which includes 127 schools with an enrollment of approximately 9800 students or 11% of the K-12 enrollment in the state. Mill is also a marketing research consultant, providing business-to-business and business-to-consumer research services to regional and national clients in for-profit and non-profit sectors. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Middlebury College, and a Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Vermont.

Emily Simmons is the director for legal and policy services at the Vermont School Boards Association (VSBA). In that role she assists in providing legal services to the Association and legal information, training, and support to school board members. She also administers the Vermont Education Policy Service, which offers model policy documents to school boards on a wide range of issues including the prevention of harassment, hazing and bullying in schools. Prior to joining the VSBA, Emily worked in the criminal justice field dealing with solutions for issues of poverty, child protection and substance abuse. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and human rights from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Law Degree from Vermont Law School. 


Bernice Garnett, MPH ScD, UVM, College of Education and Social Services, at mailto:bgarnett@uvm.edu or (802) 656-2187

Page Last Updated on December 15, 2015