Faculty & Staff
Starting his career as a teacher in 1983, Nick has spent over 25 years teaching and administrating in independent schools, publicly funded schools, as well as schools for special needs. Prior to arriving at TGS in the summer of 2016, Nick was the Assistant Head for 9 years at the North Country School, in Lake Placid, NY. An outdoor enthusiast, Nick’s vision for The Grammar School includes blurring the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors as places where we engage the whole child – the head, the heart, and the hands (and feet) – while reinforcing the connections among the realms of kindness, community, play, stewardship, and academics. Nick lives in Westminster West with his wife, Liz, and their two children, Maya (who loves being a student at TGS) and Malcolm.
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.
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.
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.
Alisha Cannon joined The Grammar School in the summer of 2017. She graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2004. After receiving her degree in Elementary Education, she taught at elementary schools in Arizona, Alaska, and Colorado. She served in the Peace Corps, teaching English in Alga, Kazakhstan. In addition to this, she started and taught at a preschool in Suzu, Japan. She has hiked into the bottom of the Grand Canyon, climbed a “fourteener” in Colorado, and camped under the midnight sun near glaciers in Alaska. Alisha enjoys spending her time quilting, reading, gardening and spending time with her husband and two children, who will also attend The Grammar School this fall.
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.
Kat returns to TGS as an alum, class of ’04. Kat brings to TGS an avid love of the natural world, and hopes to inspire children to love and care for nature as well. As well as attending as a student, Kat spent time as a student teacher at TGS in the 3rd grade while earning her Masters in Elementary and Early Childhood education. For the past two years, Kat has worked as an assistant in a Kindergarten classroom in southern Vermont. In her spare time, Kat loves to read and write, spend time with her family and friends and ride her horse. She lives in Dummerston with her husband Nick and their two dogs, Scout and Harley.
Annie began her career in education at an outdoor school on the eastern shore of Maryland. From there she went on to the University of New Hampshire to earn a Master’s degree in Environmental Education. After graduating she began her classroom teaching career as an elementary science teacher. Most recently she has been a 6th grade classroom teacher at an independent school in Brooklyn, NY. Annie loves Vermont because of many summers spent as a camper and counselor at a sleep-away camp in the Upper Valley and is looking forward to exploring the Putney area. When she isn’t teaching, Annie loves to hike, bike, jog, and bake.
Matt arrives at TGS having recently completed a Masters in outdoor education and environmental sciences. Prior to that, he taught for seven years in elementary classrooms in both public and private schools, last at North Country School, where he taught sixth grade. In his free time Matt enjoys hiking, paddling, bicycling, telemark and cross-country skiing, making pottery, cooking and spending time with his two dogs, Denali and Katahdin.
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.
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.
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.