Faculty & Staff

Sara Bankert,
Elementary Teacher (2-3, Tau-Omega Class)

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Sara joins The Schoolhouse after teaching middle school science in the Washington, DC area for the past 7 years. Most recently, she taught 5th and 6th grade science at a progressive Quaker school. When she moved to Burlington last September with her partner Craig, she was anxious to find a school that fit her creative and holistic approach to teaching. She quickly found The Schoolhouse and has enjoyed subbing there (at every level) ever since. Sara was beyond thrilled when a classroom position opened up!

Sara graduated from Cornell University in 2008 with a BA in Physics and a MAT in Secondary Education. She took a brief “break” from teaching while in DC to pursue another passion—animal rights. She quickly missed the classroom and realized she could find ways to incorporate her love for animals into her teaching. At her last school she started a student led Animal Advocacy group, where students explored issues of compassion and justice. When she’s not teaching, Sara loves to spend time with family and friends, hike, bike, run, cook delicious vegan food, and make pottery!

Caitlin Bell, Flex Teacher & Office Assistant

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Caitlin spent much of her childhood elbow deep either in the dirt or the craft drawer, as her family moved all across the U.S. Her college years took her to Savannah, Georgia, for a BFA in fibers. Now she is living in Shelburne with her husband and their sweet little girl (who is part of the Dragonfly class!)
Caitlin has nearly 10 years of teaching experience. While still in college, she worked in an arts-based preschool and afterschool program. Since completing her degree and relocating to Vermont, she has taught art at the Shelburne Craft School; visual art, history, culinary arts and French at an independent school with grades 4-12; and taught private sewing and art lessons as well. In 2012 she first joined the Schoolhouse community as an aide in the elementary program. After she left, she spent several years as a children’s librarian at the Pierson Library. Caitlin is very happy to be back at the Schoolhouse.

When not at school, she spends her days designing, making, gardening, beekeeping, hiking, skiing, and baking.

Emily Boone,
Preschool Co-Director & Wild Grapes Teacher

Jeb Brady, Elementary Teacher’s Aide

Jeb started his career in childcare at The Schoolhouse  in the summer of 2013. For two years Jeb worked in the Dragonfly classroom. In 2015 Jeb switched roles and took over as lead in the preschool afterschool program, and worked two days in the Wild Grape classroom. Jeb completed the Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council Apprenticeship program under the mentorship of Amy Carlson. In the late fall of 2016 Jeb left The Schoolhouse to pursue other career options.

After struggling to find interests elsewhere in the job world, Jeb returned to The Schoolhouse as a teacher’s aid in the Alpha classroom. In his new position, Jeb hopes to expand his knowledge of child development focusing on the area of school aged children. Jeb also hopes to be a positive contribution to the planning and organization of gross motor group games and sport activities for the children at Schoolhouse.

In his spare time, Jeb very much enjoys being a father and spending time with his family. He also enjoys hiking, cooking, and participating in various sports. Jeb is also an avid football fan and greatly enjoys following his favorite team, The New England Patriots.

Shane Bufano, Middle School Math Teacher

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Shane teaches math in the Delta (middle school) classroom.  He has been very active in education as a teacher and a coach for the past decade.

Shane earned his BA in Elementary Education from Green Mountain College. Prior to The Schoolhouse, Shane was a founding member of the faculty at Vermont Athletic Academy where he taught Math and Language Arts.  Shane also held several educational positions at Williston Central School and Allen Brook School in Williston.

Outside of the school setting, Shane is a very successful soccer coach in the area.  He’s a member of the coaching staff for the Saint Michael’s College Women’s Soccer Team.  Shane is also the director of coaching for Queen City Football Club, which he founded in 2011, having developed it to incorporate 20 teams between U-7 and U-19, with more than 330 boys and girls in the program.  He holds several coaching certifications such as: a United States Soccer Federation “D” License and both a Director of Coaching Diploma and a Goalkeeping Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America

In 2013, Shane was named Vermont Soccer Association (VSA) Girls Coach of the Year for club soccer with his U-16 Queen City FC girls’ team.

Amy Carlson, Preschool Lead Teacher

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Amy is lead teacher in the Wild Grapes classroom, with a particular emphasis on literacy development. She has been a parent at The Schoolhouse for eight years and joined the Story Time teaching team in June of 2013.

Amy has worked with children and families for over 18 years and earned her CDA in 2009, but her inspiration to do so didn’t happen right away. In 1994, she earned an associates degree in accounting from CCV and went to work with a certified public accountant. She enjoyed working with numbers, but missed the daily interactions with people. She tried other jobs, but when a friend asked her, “ If you didn’t have this job, what would you do?” Amy immediately answered, “Play with kids!”

Since then, she has worked at Stepping Stones Children’s Center, under the guidance of Robin Ploof, and later lead her own classrooms at Pine Forest and Williston Children’s Center, under the guidance of Andrea Viets. Now, she loves being part of the Story Time team!

When not at The Schoolhouse, Amy enjoys bringing a picnic basket for long weekends at the skate park with her family, Ross and Kayli (whom you will see around Schoolhouse). She also loves to hike, bike, craft, and play in the snow—but mostly play!

Jordan Davis, Preschool Teacher

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Jordan graduated from UVM in 2015 with a BA in environmental studies & forestry. She joined the Schoolhouse community in the fall of 2015 working in the Afterschool program, and soon transitioned to working in the Dragonfly/ Wild Grape classrooms in the preschool. Her passion lies within nature based education. 

Jordan looks forward to pursuing a future in education. In her free time she practices yoga, enjoys skiing and hiking and loves helping children learn where they fit in with the natural environment around them. 

Zachary DeFranco, Chef

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Chef Zach grew up in an Italian family, where he formed a deep love of food, community, learning, and cooking from scratch. He began cooking professionally in 2014, co-owning Dessert for Breakfast, a raw vegan dessert company based out of his former home in Milton Vermont. Zach Also co-owned and operated New Leaf Deli & Market in Shelburne, offering homemade local and organic Indian take-out, baked goods, Farm to Table, and catering.

As school chef, Zach manages the Schoolhouse lunch program, sourcing food and providing healthy local and organic hot lunches and snacks. He also shares his life experience and culinary interests with students, teaching as part of the Farm Food Forest program. Joining the Schoolhouse team has provided Zach with the opportunity to combine his love of cooking with teaching in a wonderfully creative environment.

Sarah Fletcher, Afterschool & Camp Director

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Sarah joined the Schoolhouse community in the fall of 2016 as a staff member in ‘big kid’ Afterschool. Now she directs the Afterschool and vacation camp programs.  

Sarah graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in Ecological Agriculture. Before coming to The Schoolhouse, she worked in farm and wilderness-based education programs in both Vermont and California. When Sarah’s not in school, she enjoys whittling, hiking,
crafting, and speaking squirrel.     

Ivy George, Preschool Lead Teacher

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Ivy is a lead teacher in Story Time. She has been at Schoolhouse for five years. Ivy has worked with children—from infants to thirteen year olds—for nearly 20 years now.

Many of her years of experience came from the YMCA. She started helping out at the “Y” when she was 13 as a counselor in training. Through those years, she steadily built her experience and title from assistant, to assistant director, to director. After being a director, she was ready to spread her wings to other child care centers and different age groups. At that time, Ivy hadn’t had a lot of experience with children under five years of age, so she was eager to learn and teach to the younger age groups. So once again, she started at the bottom as an assistant and worked her way up to head teacher of her own classroom. Ivy worked with infants, toddlers, two’s and preschool children. Through the luck of a parent, Ivy got in contact with Kelly Story. She worked at Kelly’s house for a few days when the program was at her house, then went right to work starting the summer Story Time program under Kelly’s guidance. It’s been five years so far working at Story Time at the Schoolhouse, and it has been one of the best work experiences. Ivy also has a degree in Art Education K-6 and has taken many courses in Elementary Ed.

In her free time, she can be found outside working on her gardens, (which she is in the process of making more self-sustaining), reading, kayaking, creating art, or landscape designing.

Maria LaForce, Preschool Assistant Teacher

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Maria is one of the morning teachers in the Dragonfly room and one of the head teachers in the afternoon at Story Time; this will be her fifth year in the Dragonfly classroom of the preschool. She is just now finishing her two year early education childhood apprentice program and is planning on continuing her education after completion. Her inspiration for working with children comes from her large extended family of 21 cousins and from working at summer craft camps as a teenager.

In her free time Maria enjoys spending time with family, kayaking, swimming, skiing and having bonfires. She always looks forward to getting to know new preschool families and learning each child’s interests.

Heather LaRocca, Middle School Lead Teacher

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Originally from the western mountains of Maine, Heather gladly calls Vermont home. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm and values her childhood experiences of working with animals and of exploring the nearby fields, rivers and forests.

Heather attended Middlebury College (02.5), studying geology, modern dance, and teacher education; during the summers she worked at Eco-Venture summer camp. She stayed on for an extra semester to student-teach at Middlebury Union High School and acquired her science grades 7-12 Vermont teaching license. After that, she had the wonderful opportunity to live and work at Shelburne Farms as an education apprentice.

After Shelburne Farms, Heather struck out for the Rocky Mountains. She spent seven years in Bozeman, MO, working for the Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS), where she taught programs in local schools and led summer camps. She was passionate about connecting students to their natural surroundings—especially nearby Yellowstone National Park—working with them to build rich, fun and meaningful learning experiences. Eventually she became Curriculum Director for MOSS, and she also partnered with other organizations, farmers, schools and families to start a farm-to-school program.

Feeling the pull for life, family and further education, Heather moved back east. She earned her MA at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH, with a dual focus in environmental science and integrated learning education. She also earned a New Hampshire elementary teaching license, grades K-8. She worked for three years as middle school teacher at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, MA., where she enjoyed teaching but still longed to get students outside into the woods and into the community, working on integrated meaningful projects.

Heather joined the Schoolhouse community in 2014 as a part-time teacher in the new middle school program. She is now the lead teacher. Heather is constantly awed by the open and caring community at Schoolhouse, as well as its approach to creating an intentional, supportive, and inspirational educational experience for each student.

In her spare time, Heather loves to get out on the trails (hike, snowshoe, ski—you name it!) with her husband, Matt, her dog Cooper, her son Jasper (now in the Wild Grapes classroom at Story Time), and her daughter Sawyer.

Danielle Levine,
Elementary Teacher (4-5, Omega-Sage Class)

Danielle Levine is excited for her third year as part of the Schoolhouse community! This year she’ll be teaching the Omega-Sages.  She was born in Rhode Island and has a deep love for the beach and ocean creatures. She came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College and graduated with a new love of the mountains. For the past 8 years, Danielle has taught grades 3-8 and discovered her passion for science. She has a M. Ed. in Teaching Science K-8 from Lesley University and spent a year working at Nature’s Classroom, an outdoor education center with a core team building and ropes course component. The outdoors is where Danielle feels most comfortable whether it is running, kayaking, cross country skiing, drawing or reading in her hammock or eating her way through the woods. She is most grateful and excited to have wetlands and woods on the school site. It always makes for a wonderful year!

Sally Lincoln, Preschool Teacher, Afterschool Teacher, FFF teacher

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Sally Lincoln has been at The Schoolhouse since fall of 2012. She is one of the teachers in the Wild Grapes classroom in Storytime. She also helps facilitate the elementary school’s Farm Food Forest program when they are at Bread and Butter Farm, as well as working in the Afterschool program.

Prior to joining the Schoolhouse community, Sally worked at Shelburne Farms, working in the Children’s Farmyard as well as maple sugaring and lambing in the spring. She loves to share her sense of adventure and discovery of the natural world with children of all ages. In her free time, Sally loves to be outside: hiking, kayaking, gardening, or playing in the snow when winter arrives.

Dana Lutters, Middle School Co-Teacher

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Dana is co-teacher in the middle school (Delta) classroom. She received a Master of Arts in teaching from Bard College in 2009. In 2016 she plans to pursue a second graduate degree from the Bread Loaf School of English. She has a passion for literature.

Dana loves the student-centered, project-based approach of the school and the strength of the community supporting it. She has worked in both public school and alternative education in New York and Vermont, and she thrives on creativity and critical thinking in the classroom, with a fluid idea of what a classroom can be.

Judy Mallory, Preschool Teacher and Substitute
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Judy found her way to the Schoolhouse as a resident of the Dorset Farms neighborhood.  Her children grew up, much to her dismay, and she missed spending time with young children.  She works in Story Time, and also subs in the Elementary and Afterschool programs throughout the school year.

Judy grew up in South Burlington, graduating from South Burlington High School and Dartmouth College.  She worked in publishing in New York City for five years after college, and then as Communications Director for the United Way of Chittenden County after moving back to Vermont.  She has done consulting for charitable organizations, and volunteered in numerous capacities for the South Burlington School system while her children attended.

Judy lives with her husband, Ben, and dog, Kobe (who sometimes visits the children at Story Time), and her two sons, Mark and Andrew, whenever they make it home.  She enjoys tennis, paddle tennis, skiing, reading, and walks, including the two-minute one she takes when traveling to and from work at the Schoolhouse.

Maria McGrath, Office Administrator

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After spending her childhood in Alaska, Maria attended Laguna Beach School of Art, and went on to work in the Development Office at Stanford University for ten years. To help round out her work/play skills, she has also worked at many theater companies as a stage manager, a property designer, and the occasional actor. In a pinch she is also willing to undertake light plumbing. Maria was a Schoolhouse parent from 2010 to 2014. She is so happy to be
at The Schoolhouse full-time.

Tami Munford, Elementary/Middle School Foreign Language Teacher 

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Tami teaches Spanish in the Elementary School and Latin in the Middle School. Her passion for foreign languages and culture is infectious, and many of our middle school students are able to advance directly to Latin II their first year in high school.

Tami attended Middlebury College as an undergraduate, where she studied Ancient Hebrew and majored in Ancient Greek, German and Latin.  She lived in Caracas, Venezuela for five years where she became fluent in Spanish and taught first grade in a bilingual classroom. On her return to Vermont, she taught Latin and Spanish at Rice High School for three years, then at Harwood Union High School for twenty-one years. During this time she earned two Master’s Degrees from the Middlebury College Language Schools – one in German and the other in Spanish. She has also studied Italian and Chinese.

Tami Munford led Harwood students to glory at UVM’s Latin Day for over two decades. Upon retirement from Harwood, Tami became Director of Burlington College’s Cuba Programs. She spent the first five months of this year in Cuba working with the University of Havana’s Semester Abroad Program and the José Martí Center.

Tami lives with her husband, David, at their home in Middlebury. She is a notable cook whose fish tempura is legendary. She is also a fine watercolor painter, who has written and illustrated three yet unpublished children’s books.

Daniella Orias, Farm to School Americorps Member

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Daniella hails from the warm tropics of South Florida. She is a full time AmeriCorps member this year at the Schoolhouse and is serving as the Farm to Food Educator working specifically on the Farm Food Forest Program. Daniella has a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology with a focus on Cultural Anthropology. She was also published in the Undergraduate Research Journal for her paper on Monoculture and mono-woman: An Ecofeminist Critique. She is also a National Certified Tutor.

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Daniella is an avid adventurer, certified yoga teacher and freelance writer. She was a Nature/Arts Teacher in South Florida for a year, and loves teaching children about gardening, sustainability, and food. She also served with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps for 2 years and led a Female Leadership Crew this past summer.

She chose to serve in an AmeriCorps program this year to gain experience working in an alternative education center. She is looking forward
to gaining experience teaching children about their connection to food. 

Näri Penson, Elementary Teacher (K-1 Alpha Class)

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Näri received her BA in early childhood education from Goddard College and has been teaching at The Schoolhouse since 1983. In addition to teaching our Alphas, Näri is a multicultural educator and consultant. A founding member of Kwanzaa, Inc., a multicultural education resource group, she supervises the regional Multicultural Library at The Schoolhouse, which is open to parents and educators in the community at large.

In the Alpha classroom, Näri strives to help the Alphas gain self control, confidence and social skills, and to begin to look outside of themselves at the larger world. She especially likes the contact she has with her students’ families because it minimizes the school/home split. She finds The Schoolhouse to be a very comfortable place physically, emotionally, and socially.

Näri has completed graduate courses in science, reading, multiculturalism and the arts, and attended several workshops on Children with Oppositional Defiant Behaviors. She is currently studying brain development and its impact on children’s learning. Outside of school, she enjoys growing flowers, pastel painting, and playing in the sun throughout the year.

Kiley Schulze, Preschool Teacher

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Kiley joined the Schoolhouse community in February of 2015 working in the after-school program for Storytime. She is now beginning her second year teaching in the Dragonfly classroom and is very happy to be here!

Kiley graduated from UVM in 2013 with a BA in Art Education and a minor in Spanish. Before coming to the Schoolhouse, Kiley worked in preschools and art centers in both Vermont and Montana. When she’s not at school she enjoys practicing her own art, hiking, swimming, and creating fun nature based projects for your little ones to bring home for your fridge.

Liz Shayne, Head of School

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Liz has spent her professional career in and around education and became the Head of School at The Schoolhouse in August 2011. Liz was a middle and high school teacher, administrator and technology specialist at the Spence School, an independent K-12 school in Manhattan.

Liz is co-founder of the Rosie’s Girls Summer Program, an award-winning trades exploration program for middle school-aged girls, and she continues to serve as a consultant to the program’s replication partners nationwide. She has served on the board and advisory committees of area non-profits, including the Fletcher Free Library, Vermont CARES, and The Schoolhouse. She received a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University and an AB in Modern European History from Harvard University.

Liz’s two children have attended Schoolhouse, and she served on the Board of Directors for seven years before becoming Head of School.

Kelly Story,
Preschool Co-Director & Management Team Member

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Kelly grew up in northern California and earned a BA from Saint Michael’s College in political science and Russian in 1991. Kelly has worked in education her entire career. She spent the twelve years after college at Rock Point School, a small boarding high school in Burlington, working directly with teens and their families as Director of Admissions and Fundraising and as a member of the school’s leadership team.

Kelly also spent four summers at Heartworks preschool, leading outdoor adventure trips for young children. She also spent a year directing Renaissance School’s (on Shelburne Farms) after school program.

In 2007, Kelly opened Story Time, a home child care with a focus on nature, local adventures, play, and seasonal arts and crafts. Story Time joined The Schoolhouse in June 2012 and has grown to include over 60 families and 7 staff members.