Neil is a school board member from Norwich VT serving on both the Norwich School Board and the Dresden School Board representing the communities of Norwich, VT and Hanover, NH. A board member since 2009, he served as chair of the Norwich School Board from 2012 to 2016 and is currently chair of the Dresden School board. During his tenure on the boards he has been involved with contract negotiations, budgeting, long range planning and work related to Act 46.
Neil lives in Norwich, VT with his wife Christine and twin sons Tyler and Eamon. He’s been a software developer and technology planner for over 25 years, starting his career with AT&T in New Jersey and currently working at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
In his spare time, Neil enjoys cooking, biking, playing music and enjoying time with family and friends.
Addison Northwest SD
(Term ends 2021)
Laurie currently serves on the Addison Northwest School District (ANWSD) and serves as their Finance Committee Chair. Years ago when her four children were young she served on their grade school board (Addison Central School) through mission statements, action plans, successful bond votes, playground fundraisers and volunteer driven reconstructions. The ANWSD is new board, a consolidation of two union school districts and two other school districts. Which was the result of an excellent Act 46 committee and it’s hard work and a supportive community. After a year of policy adoption, community engagement, etc the new district began July 1, 2017.
Her Dad is a retired Science teacher from Hamilton, NY and probably because of him has always believed Public Education is a required pillar of a highly functioning society and that no republic can be maintained without it. She intends to support the Vermont public education system through her work on the ANWSD and on the VSBA board.
She lives in Addison and is proud to say that all her children have successfully completed their bachelor's degrees and they are her greatest legacy. It was our rural Vermont public education system that gave them the start they needed to succeed. Laurie continues to serve on the VSBA board with the goal that all Vermont children have equitable access to quality education for a reasonable price for our property tax payers.
Mt. Abraham Unified
(Term ends 2022)
Dave was born in Detroit, Michigan to a Baptist minister and his wife. He moved with his family to Erie, Pennsylvania where he spent most of his childhood. The family moved to Youngstown, Ohio in 1963 where he met his future wife Pat. Upon graduation from Kalamazoo College in 1968 with a B.A. in Chemistry, Dave joined VISTA and served in Vermont as the building coordinator for the Addison County self-help housing project. He and his wife fell in love with the state, purchased land and built their own home with the help of friends. Dave and Pat have two sons who were born in 1971 and 1973. Their sons Jason and Matthew both graduated from Mount Abraham High School in Bristol and The University of Vermont. The Sharpes owned and operated Hill Automotive for 18 years before Dave shifted gears in 1991 to teach Automotive Technology at the regional technical center in Middlebury and subsequently at the Center for Technology in Essex Junction. Dave also enjoyed coaching basketball at Middlebury Union High School. During his 40 years in Bristol Dave started the 5-town men's basketball league and represented the community on the regional solid waste district. He is a former member and chair of the local planning commission and the Bristol Selectboard. Dave retired from the Vermont Legislature after 16 years of service on the Ways and Means Committee and as Chair of the Education Committee. Dave remains an active member of the community as a member of the Bristol Historical Society and the Bristol Recreation Club and the MAUSD School Board.
David has been a Vermont school board member since 2005, serving first on the Dorset School Board and the BRSU Board. Now he is a member of the Taconic & Green School Board and is still on the BRSU Board. He was Chair of the Dorset School Board for 10 years and is now the Clerk of the Taconic and Green Board as well as the Vice Chair of the BRSU Board. He has been involved in hiring a Principal and continues to be involved in Teacher and Staff Contract Negotiations. He was appointed to the VSBA board in March, 2019 to fill a vacated seat and was elected to serve as the Bennington-Rutland Regional Representative in October, 2019.
David has lived in Dorset with his wife Janet for 20 years, where they raised 2 children. Previous to Vermont, they lived in Southeast Asia for 10 years, where David chaired the school board of the International School of Yangon. He is part owner (along with his brother) and Chief Operating Officer of Chandler 4 Corners – a Vermont-based company that designs and produces accent rugs and decorative pillows.
He is a firm believer in public education and in creating learning opportunities for all children. Vermont has long had a wonderful public education tradition that seems to be evolving. This is a key time to be a part of the evolution.
Taconic & Green School Board
(Term ends 2022)
Jim Salsgiver has been a school board member in Vermont since 2008. He served on the Dorset School Board until that board was replaced in 2017 by the new Taconic and Green Regional School District Board (Act 46 Merger). Jim now serves on the Taconic and Green Board. Jim has also been a member of the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union Board since 2008, and currently serves as Chairman. Jim was appointed to the VSBA Board on August 8, 2018 to fill a vacant Bennington County position.
Jim’s background is in Finance, and he has also been a Board Member and Treasurer of several Vermont-based not-for-profit organizations.
Flor Diaz Smith
Flor grew up in Guatemala City. She is a licensed architect in Guatemala, and has been designing in Vermont since 1997. She obtained a degree from Francisco Marroquin Architecture School in Guatemala and also studied at Texas A&M, and won a scholarship to the Prince of Wales Urban Task Force in 1996. She came to Vermont for an internship at a local architectural firm and fell in love with Vermont and her future husband.
She started her own design studio, diazsmithSTUDIO, 9 years ago to have more time for family and her community volunteering. Her Design Studio consults with other architects and works on interior design, residential, school design and retail. Residential and interior design are her passions but she also enjoys small commercial and retail design.
Flor’s other big passion is education. She believes that education is a human right and devotes a lot of time learning and understanding how to support all kids and how to have a stronger public education and childcare system. A strong public education is the basis of our democracy and the key to successful communities. Flor has served on several boards that support public education. She has been a local school board member for her community for the past 10 years. She is currently the Vice Chair of WCUUSD, also a member of the task force on Diversifying the Educator Workforce in New England and Vermont. She is also an appointed member to the State Advisory Council for Building Bright Futures in VT.
She understands that it is not easy to represent all voices, but she is a patient listener and a good communicator. She is thankful for the opportunity to serve in the VSBA again.
Flor and her husband Dan Smith live in their farm house in East Montpelier with their children Mia Isabella (18) and Lincoln (15).
Mark presently serves on the Lamoille North Supervisory Union board having done so since 2014, with prior school board experience on the then Johnson Elementary School board in the 1990’s. On the present school board he has held both the position of clerk and now serves as the vice chair.
Mark very much wants public schools to compete with private and home schools from the education stand point, wanting to see for example a graduate from Lamoille Union HS have a diploma that is respected by reputation of an MIT or Harvard Law degree for example. Simply put, he wants to see students from Vermont able to compete for any position they apply for, and get it.
Marks resume starts as a Fire Fighter/EMT in White River Jct., spends 20 years at IBM leaving as a Development Engineer on to the Vermont State Police as a Dispatcher and now working for CBP as an Analysis. Educationally, he heads back to school in the spring seeking a Digital Forensics Degree from Champlain College.
This last summer his wife Laurie and he enjoyed riding their motorcycles. Mark also enjoys flying airplanes, ice climbing, and skiing Tuckerman Ravine. He is more of a winter person!
Champlain Valley School Board
(Term ends 2021)
Colleen MacKinnon has served as a board member representing Hinesburg since 1995. Prior to the CVSD merger, Colleen also served in various leadership roles for the Hinesburg School District and the Chittenden South Supervisory Union School Boards.
Having earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Colleen’s scholarship has focused on P-12 and post-secondary education, public policy, leadership, and accreditation.
She currently provides consulting services for higher education accreditation, specializing in educator preparation and other professional preparation programs. In her consulting role and board service, Colleen continues to draw on experiences as a higher education researcher, instructor, and administrator. She also volunteers with the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, (CAEP) serving as a team lead for site visitors conducting accreditation reviews.
Kim is the chair of Essex Westford School Board and had served on the Essex Town School Board since April of 2007. Kim has served on the Vermont School Boards Association (VSBA) board for the last seven years, and is currently the Treasurer. Kim was appointed by Governor Scott to serve on the Vermont State Board of Education, the Vermont Municipal Employee Retirement System (VMERS) board of trustees, and has also been appointed to the Vermont Pension Investment Committee (VPIC). Kim is a mentor and advisory council member of the Essex FriendCHIPs school-based mentoring program, and deeply appreciates the value of meaningful connections between our communities and our schools.
Kim earned her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and her Master of Business Administration from New York University, while working in New York City for TIAA-CREF, where she was a senior financial consultant, serving colleges and private secondary schools and their faculty and staff. Kim also worked for TIAA-CREF in Vermont with VSAC managing the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan, helping families plan and invest for their higher education needs. While Kim’s professional background is in finance, her passion lies in educational advocacy.
Kim and her husband, Matt, have four children, three of whom are in college/graduate school and one college graduate who is working in New York City. Kim is honored as both a parent and board member to be part of this dynamic journey of our students through our Vermont education system.
(Term ends 2022)
Don worked for 28 years as a school administrator in Lamoille, Addison, Windham and Franklin Counties and 14 years as Superintendent of Schools for Fairfax and Georgia. He served on the Swanton Board for the Elementary School for nine years; three as chair. He currently serves on the Missiquoi Valley School District Board.
He is passionate about making certain that every Vermont student has the opportunity to realize her or his maximum potential. During his eight years on the Senate Education Committee, four as chair, he was a strong advocate for early education opportunities, career and technical education programs and post-secondary choices. During that time, he was a pioneer in the Vermont Adult Learning initiative.
Tara joined the Fletcher Elementary School Board in September of 2015. At that time she also became a member of the Franklin West Supervisory Union board. She became chair of the Fletcher School Board in March of 2018, and became chair of the Franklin West Board in March 2019 for one year.. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Champlain College and has worked in the accounting field for 20 years; she is currently employed at Smugglers’ Notch Resort, as a staff accountant. In addition, she previously was the treasurer, vice president and president of FOFE- Friends of Fletcher Elementary; the PTA of Fletcher Elementary. She was the vice-president of BFA Project Graduation for the Class of 2020. She can also be found working many community suppers in her town of Fletcher, VT. Tara and her husband and their three teenage daughters work on the family owned dairy farm.
Troy School Board
(Term ends 2021)
BiogrGaston retired after a 30+ year Army career as an Army Colonel in 2012 and returned to the Northeast Kingdom where he and his wife Rose grew up in bilingual families. He is a member of the Troy School and North Country Supervisory (NCSU) Boards and NCSU Policy, Finance, and Negotiations Committees. Gaston was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college, having earned his BS from the University of Vermont and PhD from Tufts University. He also serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is a member of the Snelling Center for Government, Vermont Leadership Institute, class of 2022. Serving on the VSBA Board provides him the unique opportunity to broaden his perspective and understanding of the many issues Vermont and local schools face that inform his discussions with educators, administrators, and community. In his spare time, Gaston enjoys biking, skiing, woodworking, and spending time with family and friends (especially on the slopes of Jay Peak).aphy coming soon
Lamoille North School Board
(Term ends 2022)
Kevin has been a Jay/Westfield school board member since 2011. He is currently the chairperson. Kevin is passionate about equality in education. He has been in commercial real estate for the last 22 years and enjoys living and working in his community. In his spare time he enjoys running, hiking, and mountain biking. Kevin lives in Westfield with his wife Christine and two children.
Judy is from Wells River in Orange Country and is originally from rural upstate New York. She moved to Vermont in 1991 and has been a resident of Wells River since 2004.
Judy has a deep appreciation of and passion for public education. She also has a track record of building trust in institutions and promoting educational excellence at the public school level. She is a member of the Blue Mountain Union (BMU) School District School Board and was elected to serve as vice chair of the Orange East Supervisory Union (OESU) Board in 2018. During her board service she has served as chair of the community relations committee and has been a member of the policy committee and Act 46 706b committee. Following assignment of BMU to OESU she has worked to establish positive relationships between BMU with the other member districts of OESU to promote mutual trust and collaboration within the SU. Judy’s goal is to continue this work and to be a voice for public education in rural Vermont.
She attended Long Island University, in New York and holds a degree in Psychobiology with a concentration in animal behavior. She has worked in private practice, academia and corporate environments for the welfare of animals in science. She is the Associate Director Animal Welfare Training for Charles River Laboratories, an international biotechnology company.
Peacham School Board
(Term ends 2022)
Mark and his wife Lorraine live on the family farm in East Peacham. Mark has been in commercial lending in northern NH and VT for more than 30 years, including the Northeast Kingdom and the Upper Valley. He is currently serving as chair of the Peacham School Board. Mark also serves the community as a Peacham Community Housing board member, Corporator and former Treasurer of Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, Treasurer of the NEK Astronomy Foundation, and also devotes time to Opera North in Lebanon. A graduate of UVM and Northeastern University, Mark enjoys giving back to the community where he lives and works.
George resides in Middletown Springs and is a member of the Wells Springs USD. Before moving to Vermont from Pennsylvania, George was a special education teacher working with gifted and talented students, as well as a science teacher. He also served as a scholastic and travel soccer coach for many years.
George currently works as a VSOA soccer official and is a full-time ski instructor at Killington Mountain Resort. He also serves on the local Volunteer Fire Department Board of Trustees. With his wife Claudia, George enjoys spending time with his three children and five grandchildren. As a parent, grandparent, former teacher, and taxpayer, George is eager to support the local education system and serve to his school district.
Mill River UU School Board
(Term ends 2022)
Adrienne is on the Mill River Unified Union School Board (MRUUSD), a merged district serving the towns of Clarendon, Shrewsbury, Tinmouth, and Wallingford after serving on their Act 46 Committee. She has served as the Negotiations Committee Chair since the new district was created. Adrienne has served continuously on a variety of local school boards starting with the Shrewsbury Mountain School (SMS) Board in 2002.
Adrienne lives in Shrewsbury with her husband Ed and labs, Bruin and Audi. Their 3 sons all went through both SMS and Mill River High School. She works for her family's rental home business, serves as a Guardian ad Litem in the Rutland Family Court, is Shrewsbury's Zoning Administrator, and serves on the Commission negotiating the educators’ statewide health insurance benefit.
Jeremy joined the Milton Town School Board in March, 2018. He has been on the VSBA board since 2020.
Jeremy was born and raised in northern Vermont and is a UVM graduate. He has been a Manager with Sodexo Campus Services for over 30 years, currently at St Michael’s College. He lives in Milton with his wife and three children.
Marlboro School Board
(Term ends 2021)
Dan Mac Arthur
Dan MacArthur grew up on the hillside that he and his wife still live on in Marlboro. They raised two children who also live and are raising their families on the same road.
He is a member of the Marlboro School Board, and has been on the board for much of the last 40 years. Dan and his wife Gail run a small diversified farm making maple syrup, growing raspberries, blueberries and many types of vegetables for their farm stand.
Dan believes strongly in public education, and that we all need to work hard to give our students a chance to become our future leaders, thinkers and doers. He believes that it is crucial to integrate the school with the community, and to give the community a voice in the education of their children.
River Valley SD
(Term ends 2022)
Marc moved to Vermont from New York City in 2015 seeking a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle. Shortly thereafter, Marc became interested in the local school board and the Act 46 process. Marc joined the newly merged River Valleys Unified School District in 2019 and also serves on the Windham Central SU Board.
Marc has a diverse background that has helped shape his views and taught him the importance of keeping an open mind and listening to all perspectives before drawing conclusions. In 1995 Marc was a student at the University of Michigan and was hired by the athletic departments sports information department to develop the first collegiate sports website to feature live statistics. Prior and during his time in Ann Arbor, Marc was a volunteer firefighter and EMT, which led him to a career as a NYC Paramedic. After being injured on the job, Marc moved full time into the IT world as a network engineer specializing in email system design and security for the financial industry.
Looking for a more fulfilling lifetime job/career, in 2013 Marc founded and is now the president of the 501(c)3 non-profit, The Emergency Medical Services Fund, Inc. Its mission is to help support volunteer ambulance services provide all of their communities with the same level of service that's expected from paid services in large metropolitan areas. Prior to moving to Vermont, Marc closed his IT business in order to pursue other interests including devoting more time to The EMS Fund. Marc also enjoys working with some small startup businesses by providing mentorship and financial investment.
Nancy Russell, a native Texan, moved to Vermont in 1997. She currently owns and is the Director of a licensed childcare center in White River Junction. Her background encompasses a wide variety of professions and interests. Nancy joined the White River Rotary club in 2007, served as president in 2009-2010 and spent three years as Assistant Governor. She has served as a member of the Polio Plus team, the Disaster Relief and Crisis Management team, the Strategic Planning Team, the Finance Committee, The Public Awareness team, the District Assembly, YEO and chaired the District Membership Committee. She has also served numerous years on her club’s Board of Directors and on their Charitable Fund Board. Nancy is a graduate of the Rotary Leadership Institute. She is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a member of the Paul Harris Society, and a sustaining member and a Major Donor.
Nancy serves her community as a Director of the Hartford School Board, a Director of the Hartford Community Coalition, and as a Director of the “Take Bite Out of Hunger for Hartford.” She is also deeply involved in Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, where she is currently the Board of Directors secretary, a trainer, and serves on several other community groups. Nancy is a graduate of the Vermont Leadership Training Institute, the Vermont Victim Assistance Academy, and the Stand for Children Organizing Institute.
Nancy and her husband, Wayne reside in White River Junction. They have three granddaughters and one grandson. Her passions include spending time with grandchildren, camping, reading, traveling, and target shooting.
Amy and her husband, Norm, moved to Vermont in 1992 when she accepted a transfer with her job as a Human Resources Specialist at the VA Medical Center. In 1995 she took a career change and received her teaching certification from Colby Sawyer College. Rather than going into the classroom, she has taken a different route to help advance education by working as a Children’s Librarian at the Hartland Public Library. Amy has received training in early literacy through the Vermont Department of Libraries and has served as President of the Youth Section of the Vermont Library Association. She and Norm live in Windsor with their two teenagers and three cats.
Her experience with school boards goes back to serving two years as secretary on the Hartland Cooperative Nursery School Board when her children were preschoolers. She then spent many hours volunteering in her children’s classrooms as well as for 4Winds and FarmtoSchool before running for a seat on the school board.
Amy has been on the Windsor School Board and the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Board since 2008 and Chair of both boards for the past three years. She has worked tirelessly on governance issues, first in changing the WSESU from four superintendents to one. The work continues with Act 153, Act 156, and now Act 46. She believes that we are responsible for providing a quality education for all children in Vermont, not just the children in our neighborhoods and towns. All Vermont schools face challenges relating to equity of opportunity and sustainability. She is most excited by the possibilities opened by Act 77, Flexible Pathways and believes that by working together we can better meet the needs of all children.