This project is driven and supported by three collaborative leadership teams: a Task Force, Regional Facilitators and a Resource Team.
The Task Force is made up of ECE workforce leaders who represent the diversity of Vermont’s geographic regions and ECE settings. The Task Force reviews NAEYC’s Power to the Profession Decision Cycles and Unifying Framework. Their job is to determine how Vermont might choose to align with the Unifying Framework and create consensus recommendations for Vermont.
Regional Facilitators lead conversations about the Task Force’s recommendations. In order to reach as many members of the workforce as possible in person, they represent and are sited in regions throughout the state. Several Regional Facilitators are also Task Force members.
The Resource Team includes representatives from stakeholder agencies and networks, funders and consultants working to make sure the initiative to advance has the financing, strategy, support and other resources it needs to succeed.
Who we are:
Resource Team: VCCPA
Alisha Adams is an advocate for lifelong learning with a passion for young children, their families and the early childhood field. She has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Curriculum Management from UVM and holds a VT Educator License in ECE with an endorsement in ECSE along with a BS in Business Finance and a BA in Psychology. Alisha currently works as an Early Childhood Special Education Instructor for public PreK and Kindergarten classrooms. She has spent over 20 years in the early childhood field and currently is a partner PreK teacher for 3 home based providers, an owner of Alisha’s ABC school home program, and serves on the board of the Vermont Child Care Providers Association as Past President. In the past she has worked as the Franklin-Grand Isle Building Bright Futures Director and Success by Six liaison. She lives in St. Albans, VT with her husband and son. She enjoys VT summers and can often be found at her camp surrounded by her 5 children, 2 son-in-laws, 2 grandchildren, extended family, and many friends.
Regional Facilitator: Orange/Windsor
Sherry Boudro has owned and operated Creative Learning Childcare & Preschool since 1988. Over the years her program evolved as she began taking classes and wanted to provide a program that was filled with educational activities and experiences. She has a bachelor’s degree in human services management, and a MA in Psychology with primary study in Children and Families. She is a personal leadership coach, a mentor, a certified adult instructor, a Starting Points leader, and best of all a mom of two adult children and Grammy of two beautiful grandchildren. She believes that to last in this profession you must balance your life by setting personal and professional boundaries.
Regional Facilitator: Chittenden North
Laura Butler is an early childhood professional with 30 years of experience. She owns and operates Imagination Island Child Care in Milton. Laura serves on the board of the National Association of Family Child Care. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Master’s in Organizational Management and Leadership, both degrees from Springfield College. Laura lives in Milton with her husband, surrounded by their three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Resource Team: Let’s Grow Kids
Sherry Carlson is Senior Program Director at Let’s Grow Kids and holds a M.Ed. and VT Educator License with an endorsement in ECE. Before joining Let’s Grow Kids in 2017, she was an early education consultant working for school districts, local colleges and Vermont philanthropists. She also spent over 20 years as the director of the Greater Burlington (VT) YMCA Early Childhood and Family Programs.
Kathy Cookson is the Executive Director of Morristown After School Program (MASP) and of Clubhouse Kids. In her 20 years working with MASP, Kathy helped the program to grow from serving elementary-age children after school only to adding Clubhouse Kids and now serving children from birth through sixth grade and their families. Kathy earned an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education at New Hampshire Technical Institute where she received her associates degree in Early Childhood Education a Bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in St. Johnsbury. When Kathy is not at work, she can be found spending time with her husband and two children or giving swimming lessons in a local pool.
Stacie Curtis is a dedicated early childhood professional with over 15 years of experience. She is the current Director of Early Education for the Burlington School District. Stacie began her career in early education as a preschool teacher, early childhood special educator and family advocate. She is a 2016 graduate of the Snelling Center’s Early Childhood Leadership Institute. Stacie lives in Montpelier with her husband, two children and two dogs.
Resource Team: Family Child Care
Ellen Drolette is passionate about advocating for children and families, for the early childhood workforce, and equal access to high-quality, affordable child care. The professional roles she has played include owning a family childcare program, being a Global Leader with the World Forum Foundation, engaging as a past Board member of the National Association for Family Child Care, authoring several articles for Exchange Magazine, and authoring a book for Redleaf Press. Ellen is a monthly columnist for local newspapers all over Vermont writing a column called “Positive Parenting,” and was recognized as a Master Leader by Exchange Magazine in 2016.
Resource Team: Family Child Care
Lisa Duncan is an early childhood professional, owning and operating Little Angels Childcare in Derby Vermont for over 23 years. She expanded her family childcare home to a licensed home program. She is President of Regional Vermont Early Childhood Network (formerly Starting Points), has a Child Development Associates Degree and is a member of the Building Bright Futures Professional Preparation and Development Committee. She has been passionately involved with Let’s Grow Kids since 2016, and is currently the Northern Field Organizer with Let’s Grow Kids. She has 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren with another addition soon, and 2 growing puppies living in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom. And on the side … she’s a nationally certified phlebotomist and work per diems when needed. She enjoys spending time with family and watching her grandchildren grow up.
Regional Facilitator: Addison
Kristen Dunne is the Early Childhood Programs Director of Mary Johnson Children’s Center, Inc., including sites in Middlebury, East Middlebury, and Orwell. Kristen began at MJCC as an educator, where she worked with toddlers through kindergarten age children for sixteen years. In the two years following, she was a Universal Pre-K Mentor throughout Addison county. Kristen is passionate about supporting educators and has been greatly inspired by study tours to Italian early childhood programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree and VT Educator’s licence with endorsements in early childhood and elementary education. She lives in Benson, VT.
Regional Facilitator: Brattleboro
Kim Freeman currently works as an Education/Human Resource Coordinator for Early Education Services in Brattleboro Vermont. Kim has been in the field of early childhood education for over thirty years holding several roles, including; family childcare provider, center director, VCCICC Mentor, Head Start and Early Head Start teacher, site supervisor and practice- based coach. Kim strongly believes that children are only cared for, as well as the adults who care for them, are cared for. Thus, positive child outcomes are directly linked to early childhood educators who are intentionally supported and well compensated.
Dawn Gieske has worked in the childcare field for 35 years. She started as a home care provider in Virginia and continued after her move to Vermont in 1988. Dawn joined Rainbow playschool in 1994 as a teacher, stepping into the director’s position in 2003. She has volunteered in library children’s programs and many community functions with an emphasis on children and families. Recently, she has moved Rainbow Playschool to a larger property and building, reconstructing to add infant programs, outdoor classrooms and room for community and family events. The new site also offers the possibility of an after school program.
Regional Facilitator: Chittenden/Burlington
Christina Goodwin is the Executive Director at Pine Forest Children’s Center in Burlington. An early childhood educator for over 15 years, she has filled many roles—from infant/toddler and preschool teacher, to food program manager, to assistant program director. She is a UVM alumnae with a degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Development & Family Studies. She has a Master’s in Education and certification in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Christina is part of the Burlington Area Shared Services Hub and a VTAEYC board member. She is excited about the momentum of this project and the future of the early childhood profession.
Alyson Grzyb is Director of the Bennington Early Childhood Center, has 22 years of experience in early childhood education. A licensed teacher with an early childhood endorsement, she holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Central Connecticut State University and has taught classes at Community College of Vermont since 2015. Allison is a 2017 graduate of the Early Childhood Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center for Government. She serves as an Early Childhood Network grant coordinator and facilitator and as a member of the Quality Task Force of
Bennington’s Building Bright Futures Council.
Regional Facilitator: Washington
Kelly Hayes is a dedicated Early Childhood Professional with over 20 years of experience. She has worked as a Lead Infant Teacher, a Toddler Teacher, a live-in Nanny, an Early Interventionist, a Home Childcare Provider and is now the Owner and Director of a small Child Care Center. Kelly received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Plymouth State College in 2000. Then she received her Master of Science degree from Wheelock College in 2006 after completing two more years of intense work in a program called Birth to Three: Development and Intervention. Kelly is actively involved in a local Starting Points network and recently graduated from Vermont’s Early Childhood Leadership Institute. Kelly lives in Waitsfield with her two children, Daniel and Lily, and their dog, Bailey.
Tammie Hazlett provides early childhood education services to eight families in her registered family childcare home. Constantly striving to improve her program, she recently obtained her Child Development Associate credential and a 4-STAR rating for her program. Tammie co-leads the Early Childhood Professionals Network, based in Hartford. She serves as the facilitator between that group and the Bradford-based Connections group. She manages Facebook pages for both of these professional networks and serves as lead coordinator for the Annual Car Seat Safety Event. Tammie lives in Thetford with her husband and enjoys spending time with her two children and their families.
Rachel Hunter has been an advocate for young children in Vermont for 20 years. She was owner and teacher of a Registered Family Child Care program for 17 years. She has been on many state committees and advisory boards, including a gubernatorial appointment to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care, and led two regional Starting Points groups focused on leadership development, creating initiatives and peer support. She has authored several articles and regularly serves as a facilitator and instructor for local and regional conversations. She continues to support Vermont’s children and families through both the public and private sectors of the early childhood field.
Rachel’s passion for supporting children and families goes beyond child care. She serves on the board of Vermont Center for the Book and is president of a non-profit organization that supports children and families throughout their school years. When Rachel is not working or volunteering she is traveling or playing board games with her wife Denise and their 5 amazing children, or spending time with their pups, Rocky, Rosie and Finn.
Marla Ianello is the Early Education Service Coordinator for the Orange East Supervisory Union. Coordinating publicly-funded pre-kindergarten programs for 160 children from eight towns in 15 programs provides her with a great opportunity to visit a whole variety of early education settings. Previously, she worked for over a decade in a parent child center, managing Childcare Financial Assistance and working with Resource & Referral. During a stint in the public health system, she provided training and coaching around healthy food and healthy environments. Marly has taught almost every age from pre-kindergarten through college.
Meghan Meszkat is an early education administrator who has worked in corporate, nonprofit and public education systems. Currently, Meghan is the Associate Director of Early Education for the Southwest Vermont SU in Bennington, supporting public preschool programs and early childhood special educators. Meghan is a graduate of the Snelling Center’s Early Childhood Leadership Institute and is enrolled at Castleton University to receive her Vermont Principal’s endorsement. Meghan is also a trainer for Vermont Northern Lights at CCV. She lives in with her husband and two sons in Londonderry, where they enjoy skiing, camping and sailing.
Regional Facilitator: Bennington
Laurie Metcalfe has been a professional in the field of education for over 19 years. She is the Executive Director for Northshire Day School in Manchester Center, VT. Laurie has experience in early education, teen parent education, social work, home visiting, residential treatment, school-age care and special education. Laurie is dedicated to supporting teachers in offering high quality care and learning experiences to young children. Laurie holds a B.A. in Psychology and Special Education and a M.A. in Education. She has a sincere interest in trauma-informed care, strengths-based practices, child advocacy and leadership.
Jennifer Olson is a Mentor Teacher at the University of Vermont Campus Children’s School in Burlington. In this role, she is both a classroom teacher and mentor to UVM Early Childhood Education students doing their practicum in her classroom. Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UVM in 2004. Her commitment to the field is demonstrated by her twelve-year tenure as a classroom teacher and her participation in state-wide efforts to advocate for policies impacting early childhood education. Jen is in the final year of her master’s degree program at UVM, where she is studying Educational Leadership.
Staci Otis owns Little Allstars Childcare and Preschool in Springfield. She has operated her Family Child Care program for 15 years, including the last five years as a Pre-K partner. Staci has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Human Services. She has been the co-leader of her local Starting Points network for the past seven years and enjoys supporting other providers in the network to enhance and strengthen, not only their programs, but also themselves. Staci and her husband live in Springfield and have five children and one grandchild.
Resource Team: VTAEYC
Sonja Raymond is the Executive Director of VTAEYC. Read more about her here.
Resource Team: Let’s Grow Kids
Resource Team: Communications Consultant
Katie Titterton is a writer and consultant who provides communications content and strategy to Vermont nonprofits. She is a 2016 graduate of the Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute and worked in nonprofit fundraising and communications for many years. She’s interested in equity and access, especially for kids and families. As a freelance writer, she contributed several articles about early childhood education to KidsVT and other publications. She lives in Richmond, where her two young children attend a family child care program.
Susan Titterton works as a consultant for non-profit organizations and is currently the project manager for VTAEYC’s Advancing as a Profession. Over her career in education, she has worked with children from pre-kindergarten through high school in various roles—para-educator, teacher, counselor and principal. As a Responsive Classroom program consultant, she trained teachers and principals around New England. Susan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Child Study, as well as Master’s degrees in Counseling and in Mediation & Applied Conflict Studies. She lives in Elmore with her husband, where they raised two sons and a daughter and now enjoy four grandchildren.
Susan Torncello, formerly a pre-school and kindergarten educator, prepares pre-service teachers in UVM’s Early Childhood Birth-Grade 3 Program. During her 20 years in this role, she has focused on enhancing the understanding that aspiring teachers have of infant, toddler and preschool contexts, as well as of the transition children and families make as they move into kindergarten and the primary grades, often in public school settings. Susan is passionate about bridging those worlds and is a tireless advocate for joyful, meaningful learning for all children. Susan lives in Shelburne. She has 3 children and 2 granddaughters.
Resource Team: VTAEYC
Johanna Vaczy is President of the VTEAYC Board of Directors. Read more about her here.
Regional Facilitator: Lamoille
Resource Team: Let’s Grow Kids
Lorraine Vernet is currently a Senior Manager at Let’s Grow Kids, supporting the field of early childhood education in a variety of ways including workforce development, leader development and increasing capacity. Previously, she served as the resource development specialist for the Lamoille Family Center for thirteen years, the Lamoille Starting Points coordinator, and was a member of the Lamoille Building Bright Futures Council. Earlier on and for over two decades, she was a center director, a preschool teacher and a toddler teacher.
Regional Facilitator: Addison/Middlebury
Su White is the longtime teaching Director at Quarry Hill School, a private PreK program in Middlebury. As a member of a 6 person teaching team, she is committed to equity and collaboration. She is currently a co-leader of the Early Childhood Directors Network in Addison County, a group that has been educating and promoting the importance of quality early care and education in the region. Su is a 2018 graduate of the Snelling Early Childhood Leadership Institute. She lives in Lincoln with her family, staying active in local public school issues and climate action.
April Zajko, M.Ed., works as an educational consultant and a faculty member of the Community College of Vermont. April has worked in early childhood education (ECE) throughout her career in a variety of roles, including: public school teacher, Universal Prekindergarten teacher in a partner program, and founder & director of a nature-based preschool. Over the last nine years, April has led ECE professional development with hundreds of providers around the state of Vermont. April has a Master’s of Education degree from the University of Virginia and is a 2019 graduate of the Early Childhood Leadership Institute from the Snelling Center for Government.