Faculty & Staff
Nick arrived to TGS this summer as the Head of School having spent nine years as the Assistant Head of School at North Country School, in Lake Placid, New York. Nick has been a teacher and administrator during a career that has spanned four decades. Nick has worked in independent schools, day and boarding, in publicly funded schools, as well as schools for special needs. An outdoor enthusiast, with an eye toward integrating environmental stewardship into the educational school setting, Nick received his undergraduate degree and teacher certification from Haverford College, as well as a Masters in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School. Nick lives in Westminster West with his wife, Liz, and their two children, Maya and Malcolm. Maya is excited to begin preschool this school year with Ken and Jessica.
A graduate of TGS, Justin returned as a full time admissions director in July of 2015. In 2012-2013 Justin worked in a variety of positions at TGS, including as a “Super Sub” and technology teacher. Most recently he has been at The Putney School where he designed and taught a digital photography and filmmaking program as well as guided teachers through multimedia interviewing and filmmaking projects in their classrooms.
Prior to his transition to the education world, Justin lived and worked in Salt Lake City for e-commerce companies, Backcountry.com and Overstock.com. It was in Utah where he met his wife Amanda, his love of photography blossomed, and his skis found the snow they had always been searching for.
Kimberly joined the TGS team as Director of Development in July. She has moved to the area with her husband Mike and her son River, who will attend first grade at TGS this fall. Kimberly has spent the last twelve years at North Country School in Lake Placid, NY. At North Country, Kimberly advanced steadily in the development office. She was a key member of their advancement team as the school took on a 25 million dollar capital campaign and increased the annual fund from $400 thousand to $1.2 million per year. An alumna of North Country, Kimberly is excited to bring her skills to a new venue and add value to TGS as we take on new and essential fundraising goals.
Since her arrival in 2004, Tammy has run the day-to-day front office operations of the school and cared for everyone at The Grammar School – students, parents, grandparents, alumni, staff, and faculty. In addition to answering phones, fielding questions, solving problems large and small, guiding volunteers, overseeing mailings, and applying Band-Aids, Tammy drives the southern bus route. She is the proud mother of two former TGS students and “mom” to 110 other children each school day.
A graduate of TGS, Mary has taught a range of subjects to decades of alumni. She has coached cross-country running and skiing for many years. In her administrative position, she works closely with staff, board members, and volunteers on communication and web management. Mary loves being outdoors and during the past 35 years has coached skiers from age 3 to 73.
Michael’s academic degrees include a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Princeton University, an Assistant Treasurer/MBA from Chase Manhattan Bank, and a Master of Science in Materials Science from Columbia University. He has worked as a senior level business controller for IBM, AT&T, and Credit Suisse, and as Vice President of Technology Services he managed an organization of 57 people with a budget of $6.5 million. Most recently, he has taught science and math at the New Canaan Country School. Michael is fascinated with the invention and innovation process. He has a patent for a high precision indexing mechanism for cylinder transport and indexing, and a patent pending for a hand held chording keyboard/controller for computers, tablets, and smartphones. In his new position at TGS, Michael is excited to use his skills in financial management, teaching, and creativity. Michael and his family relocated from Connecticut to Saxtons River, Vermont, and one of his three children attends TGS.
After graduating from college with a degree in English, Tara lived in Philadelphia and worked at The Pew Charitable Trusts for several years. A graduate of The Grammar School, Tara returned to her home state and joined TGS faculty in 2001 to teach in the upper school. In addition to her academic and learning support responsibilities, Tara is part of the administrative leadership team and is the master scheduler.
Kurt graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and has extensive experience as both a teacher and a carpenter. He worked as a living history instructor dramatizing 18th century life, building reproduction furniture, and offering education programming to school groups and the public at the Old Salem Museum and Gardens in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He spent a year as an Island Institute Fellow in Vinalhaven, Maine, leading 20 high school students in renovating a 30-foot boat, which then carried the students on a 6-week school at sea voyage. Kurt has worked as a professional boat builder on shipyard crews in Maine, New York, and Washington State, and has been a carpenter for the Bread Loaf Corporation and Jonathan Jesup, former TGS Board Chair and Parent ’07, ’10. In addition to the facilities position, Kurt would be interested in offering an after school program in woodworking at TGS. He enjoys playing music and spending time with his family at their home in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Ken brings to TGS a wealth of life experiences including three years of service in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. He also has experience as a pottery teacher, cross-country and track-and-field coach, and backyard chicken farmer. Ken helped start the preschool in 1995, and he has been head teacher ever since. When he’s not singing, discovering, cooking, hammering, cutting, gluing, assembling, hiking, reading, gardening, or make-believing with his preschoolers, Ken enjoys exploring the world with his wife and two children.
Jessica has worked in education for more then ten years. She has spent most of her time working in the field of Early Childhood Education. She has been the lead teacher at after school programs, at several early childhood centers both in Vermont and Maine, and served as the site director for a local childcare program. She has also taught Kindergarten and a multiage 1st and 2nd classroom, as well as workedas a Title-One Reading Specialist. Jessica also spent many years training as a dancer. She serves on the board of directors for The Family Garden, an early childhood center, and helped form the new Putney School Childcare Center, Elm Lea Childcare. Jessica lives in Putney with her husband Michael and their two daughters, who both attend the Grammar School.
Libby has worn many hats at The Grammar School since her arrival in 1998, including parent, administrator, and trustee. After studying for her masters and teaching certification, she began teaching at TGS in 2007, working in the preschool and then for two years teaching the fourth grade. Now teaching kindergarten, she is a child at heart, whose passion for the performing arts and the natural world inspire her work with children.
Tracy has spent the last 14 years happily surrounded by children as their teacher, mom, unofficial dorm parent, and friend. She moved to New England from Texas and is confident that the first graders will eventually succeed in teaching her how to cross-country ski. She lives in Putney with her two children. This is Tracy’s fifth year at TGS.
Eve has been teaching for 24 years. She has an affinity for the natural world inspired by a life of exploring the woodlands, fields, and shores of New England. Eve believes that the most important lessons are ones we learn from nature and her program reflects this. Her extensive travel around the world gives her a unique perspective when studying different countries and cultures. Eve’s deep and abiding love of literature and history give a breadth and depth to the second grade curriculum.
Emily arrived at TGS with eight years of teaching experience in the middle elementary grades. Most recently Emily taught the intermediate grades at St. Michael’s School as well as in the Saxtons River and Grafton Elementary Schools. She completed the Upper Valley Teacher Certification Program and has an additional 34 graduate level credits in education. Emily lives in Putney, Vermont with her husband Zach and her two children, both TGS students.
Mike has a BA and teaching certifications in art and elementary education from Rowan University of New Jersey. During his nine years of classroom teaching, Mike worked in both public and private schools. Outside the classroom, Mike has taught at environmental education centers in Colorado and New York and managed educational farms in the Catskills, Massachusetts, and Lake Placid. Most recently, Mike taught a Fourth/Fifth multiage classroom at North Country School for five years before becoming the farm and garden manager in 2009. In his free time Mike enjoys hiking, telemark and cross-country skiing, building furniture, and spending time with his two daughters and their dog Bear.
Upper School Teachers
Kathy Richardson ’67,
6th Grade Homeroom, Social Studies, and Upper School Math Teacher
B.A. Sonoma State College, C.M.A. Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies, M.Ed. University of Vermont
Kathy is a faculty member, graduate, and parent of three TGS alumni. She has been a part of The Grammar School since its inception in her family’s backyard over 50 years ago. In addition to teaching math (her passion!) to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, Kathy is the sixth grade homeroom and social studies teacher and helps run the alpine skiing program. Outside of TGS, Kathy mentors local math teachers as part of the Vermont Mathematics Initiative. She also works with the Rural Women’s Project helping welcome Afghan women judges to Vermont.
Paul “Hop” Hopkins,
7th Grade Homeroom and Upper School Science Teacher, and Physical Skills Development Teacher
B.S. University of Oregon, M.S. Antioch University New England
Hop has a passion for teaching students how to think like scientists. He has over 20 years of teaching experience, in schools from Massachusetts to North Carolina to Bogota, Colombia. His master’s thesis at Antioch was on spring ephemeral wildflowers and the microtopography of the forest floor; his other areas of interest include trees, weather, reptiles and amphibians, gardening, environmental education, and the New England landscape.
Hop was a charter member of Teach For America. He is a certified ropes course leader, yoga instructor, and massage therapist. He has taught at The Grammar School since 2006. Hop lives in Saxtons River with his wife and two daughters, who attend TGS.
7th and 8th Grade English and Social Studies Teacher, Secondary School Placement Coordinator
B.A. University of New Hampshire, M.A. Georgetown University
Laurie was long-listed for the — USEA Olympic team in 1980 and lived on a barge in Europe from 1981 though 1982. She has traveled extensively, been to theatrical productions in 11 countries, and worked her way around the globe as a groom for the French Equestrian Team. She loves people of all ages, books, writing, teaching, her family, animals, and friends.
Art & Music Teachers
Head of Music Department
B.A. Barnard College
Alli has been performing and teaching music in Vermont for over 40 years. She has performed throughout New England as a solo singer-songwriter playing guitar, flute, and keyboard. She has produced two albums of her original songs and currently has a teaching/recording studio at home. Alli grew up in New York enjoying Broadway theatre and has many years of vocal and dance training in modern, ballet, and international folk dance. Since 1993 she has been teaching what she loves – the performing arts. Her skill and expertise as a producer and music director culminate annually with the combined seventh and eighth grade spring musical. In addition to heading the Music Department, Alli has been Technology Administrator at TGS since 1998.
Carol worked for 18 years in the Townshend Elementary School as the K-3 classroom assistant. She began teaching at TGS in 1999 as the preschool assistant before becoming a Music Instructor.
Scott joined the TGS team in September 2016. Scott, his wife Marcy, and sons Rafael and Antonio relocated from Taos, New Mexico this summer, and Antonio entered the 4th grade at TGS this fall.
Scott’s work as an educator, artist, and musician finds a natural synthesis in an experiential approach to learning in his classroom, where the visual arts are part of a deeply integrated and immersive experience at TGS. He believes that the arts and visual literacy hold an important place in facilitating environmental stewardship and community empowerment, as well as in developing strategies for everyday challenges.
Scott enjoys hiking, backpacking trips, cooking, and music with his family and friends in his spare time. In recent years, Scott and his family created a micro-farm at their Taos home and initiated the development of the Miranda Canyon Farm School. While working as a visual artist, musician, and as a visiting artist in the Taos Municipal Schools, Scott also founded and directed Beautiful Midden, Restoring Land Through Art Activism and Education. Beautiful Midden is an art and environmental activism project that encourages the local community to investigate its relationship to place by using art as an effervescent instrument of self reflection, conversation, and dynamic social change.
Library / Tech & Media
Having worked in the publishing industry, in a variety of library settings, and for literacy initiatives, Ponnie brings to TGS each day a wealth of experience and a great love of children, books, and libraries. She believes that books provide the basis for helping our children learn to live their lives with imagination, curiosity, compassion, and humor. Ponnie has been the librarian at The Grammar School since 1994, and on her days off she can be found working at the Rockingham Free Public Library.
Media / Technology
David lives on a farm in Newfane, Vermont with his family. When not working at TGS or at Snow Farm, you can’t find David doing much else- those two things take up most of his days. Before The Grammar School, David was teaching fifth grade in Westminster, Vermont, second grade at the Charles River School in Dover, Massachusetts, and working at a farm in Athol, Massachusetts.
Foreign Language Teachers
Johanna has taught at World Learning, Kroka Expeditions, and Greenfield High School. She grew up in Newfane, Vermont, but found it confining and fled to countries far and wide. After much skiing in Norway and riding trains around Europe she attended university and traveled to France, California, and Alaska. Somewhere along the way, Johanna learned to love ice hockey, reading, gardening, children, and music. You may see her motoring over Putney Mountain in the spring and fall to her home in Newfane.
Paqui was born in Barcelona, Spain, where she grew up speaking Spanish and Catalan. After graduating from Goymar School of Fashion Design in Spain, she moved to Northampton, Massachusetts where she helped found The Haymarket bookstore/cafe. Since moving to Vermont, she has worked as an independent translator and taught Spanish in several schools, camps, and seminars in the area. Her passion for teaching Spanish blossomed while raising her two boys in a bilingual environment. Paqui’s goal is to create stimulating and fun language classes at TGS, using as little English as possible and creating situations where the students need to use their Spanish. Paqui’s other interests include gardening, painting, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two sons.