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.
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
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 agecny 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
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.
is the associate director for legal services at the Vermont
School Boards Association (VSBA). In that role she provides
general counsel to the Association and legal information,
training, and support to school board members. Prior to joining
the VSBA, Nicole served as research director and senior policy
advocate at Voices for Vermont's Children, where she focused her
research on identifying strategies to ensure our local systems
have the resources and support they need to provide an excellent
education to all our young people, particularly those who
struggle due to barriers created by disability, poverty, or
language. Nicole holds a Law Degree from the University of
Pittsburgh, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management
from Carnegie Mellon University.
Stephen Tavella joined the Agency of Education in November of 2014 as the Safe Schools and School Climate Coordinator. He has nearly thirty years of international and domestic experience in program development and management, strategic planning, training, business analysis, monitoring and evaluation. His experience extends to developing countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific, having lived in numerous cultures for extended periods of time. Most recently his efforts have been focused on project management, needs assessment, strategic planning, donor relations and interagency coordination in humanitarian relief operations in restive Rakhine State, Myanmar, and southern Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Steve has navigated cultural landscapes throughout his life. His professional career in international development assistance was kick-started as a four year Peace Corps volunteer in the countries of Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. Since then, Steve has worked primarily with educators, health professionals and engineers to improve quality of life, provide access to education, establish basic water and sanitation infrastructure, develop livelihood initiatives, ensure fundamental protections for children, and advocate for freedom of movement, democratic expression and inclusiveness for the world’s most under-served populations.
At the Agency of Education, Steve will work to develop and implement a new vision for comprehensive and collaborative improvements in school safety, culture, climate and inclusiveness.
Nicole Mace, VT School Boards Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 223-3580
Page Last Updated on March 25, 2015