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Education Ambassadors support an integrated approach to cross-curricular instructional design, through the lens of multimedia. They serve as a sounding board for Vermont Public, and the Vermont Agency of Education, providing professional expertise and insight to inform the development of new resources and ways in which to use existing materials.
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This program is part of a partnership between Vermont Public and the Vermont AOE that was launched at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and exists to support Vermont educators and students with education resources and curriculum support. Education Ambassadors network with other educators across Vermont in order to build awareness of educational resource development, PBS Learning Media, teacher support and outreach, including local content (But Why, Mister Chris & Friends, Made Here, Brave Little State, and more).

Meet the 2022-2024 Education Ambassadors!

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Lindy Johnson

Literacy Coach

Lindy is currently a Literacy Coach in the Essex Westford School District. Over the years she has worked in education as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, interventionist, district literacy coordinator, undergraduate and graduate instructor, and several years at the Vermont Agency of Education as a literacy instruction and assessment coordinator. Her focus has been early childhood reading and writing research and instruction to ensure that all children are engaged, lifelong readers and writers.

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Sam Nelson

Sam Nelson

Middle Level Humanities Teacher

Sam has built a career around education, ranging from teaching Pre-Kindergarten to leading faculty-wide professional development. For the past decade, he has taught middle level Humanities at Shelburne Community School, which is part of the Champlain Valley School District. The "three pillars" of his personalized, project-based curriculum are social justice, environmental justice, and career pathways.

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Julia Wayne

Preschool Teacher and Early Childhood Special Educator

Julia has been supporting students and families as an Early Childhood Special Educator and Preschool teacher across Northern Vermont since 2005. Currently, Julia teaches in this role at Hinesburg Community School, often with a guitar, mandolin, or banjo in-hand. Julia holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Environmental Studies and a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Vermont. Julia founded Oakledge for All (OFA) in 2010, after completing a post-graduate Fellowship through the Vermont Interdisciplinary Leadership Education for Health Professionals (VT-ILEHP). For the past decade, OFA has been a volunteer-led, grassroots organization dedicated to universal design and constructing this region’s first fully accessible playground at Oakledge Park in Burlington (oakledgeforall.org). Julia lives in Charlotte with her husband, Matt, three young sons, dogs and some sheep. She plays music in the Vermont-based duet, Mayfly, and has taught music for teachers and students through the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VTAEYC) and Young Tradition Vermont.

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Sam Hagen 

Executive Director of Go Global Vermont

Sam Hagen currently serves as the Executive Director for Go Global VT. Prior to this role, Sam served in numerous capacities across the private and public education sectors, working as a farm manager, an international programs coordinator, and as the afterschool programs director and development director for the Central Vermont Supervisory Union. Sam received his BS in Forestry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently pursuing an MS in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. His research takes place at the intersection of community development and education, exploring spatial equality in Vermont's education system. Sam is committed to developing partnerships and programs which contribute to breaking the global pattern of outmigration from rural communities and which support opportunities for youth agency in addressing local and global issues.

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Karen McCalla

Karen McCalla

Teacher Librarian and Technology Integration Specialist | 2022 Vermont Teacher of the Year

Karen McCalla graduated as valedictorian from Lyndon Institute in the Northeast Kingdom and did her undergraduate work at Castleton University, earning her BA Summa Cum Laude in History and Secondary Education. Karen then moved on to the University of Michigan to earn her Summa Cum Laude Masters of Library and Information Science. Karen has been recognized as the Vermont Tech Jam Tech Champion (2019), the Rutland Economic Development Corporation Innovator of the Year (2019) and with the International Society for Technology Education Making IT Happen Award (2017). Karen has taught at Mill River Union since 2002. At Mill River, Karen enjoys finding just the right book for every student, as well as getting kids passionate about STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math - in the Library Makerspace. In her spare time, Karen coaches FIRST robotics for upper elementary, middle and high school students and volunteers as Executive Director and Maker Evangelist at The MINT: Rutland’s Makerspace.

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Ainaka Lu

World Language Teacher and DEI Coach

Ainaka Luna survived the most violent years of Colombian history. She lived in Australia for 4 years and moved to Vermont in 2004. Ainaka is a Sociologist, a dancer, a mother, a hiker, and a gardener. She has taught Spanish in private and public education for 13 years to students of all levels. World culture and social justice guide her curriculum. As an immigrant, WOC, afro-descendant, she understands the intersections of race, class, and gender. Education helped to beat the odds. Ainaka earned a voice as an advocate for the underrepresented. She brings personal and professional perspectives and is committed to the building of a culture of respect where students and adults are empowered to find their voice and feel safe to express their identities free of white-cis-able-centered discrimination.

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Caty Sutton

Co-Principal and Curriculum Director, Randolph Middle and High School 

Caty Sutton, M.Ed., has been an educator in secondary public schools in Vermont for over 15 years. Currently one of the Co-Principals at Randolph Union Middle and High School with a focus on curriculum and instruction in grades 10-12, Caty began her career at Randolph Union as a secondary social studies and English teacher. After teaching for several years, Caty transitioned to a role as the Director of Project-Based Learning and Senior Project Coordinator at Randolph Union while working toward her Principal and Curriculum Director licensure at the Upper Valley Educators Institute.
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Maria Davies

DEI Coordinator, Technology & Career Development 

Maria Davies is the Lamoille North Supervisory District’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Title IX Sexual Harassment Coordinator. Maria loves to work with her whole heart and soul. Maria received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Law from the City College of New York and is pursuing a Master’s Certificate of Graduate Study in Resiliency Based Approaches with Families, Schools and Communities at this time. Maria was raised in New York City but born in Central America and is fluent in Spanish and French. In her District role, Maria was hired to offer the District a unique perspective on how to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment in school(s). Part of her role includes preparing and building relationships among colleagues and with youth through diversity and inclusion education and training. She believes in listening to understand and connecting before correcting or redirecting individuals. Maria uplifts all voices. She is married with two teenagers. She moved here 10 years ago from the U.K. Her family moved from England to Stowe in December 2008.
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Mary Schell

Community+School Coordinator, White River Valley Supervisory Union

Mary Schell currently serves as the Community+School Coordinator for White River Valley Supervisory Union. Mary moved to Vermont in the early 1990's because of the vision of progressive education she read about in a green Department of Education (at that time) publication, High Schools on the Move. Although few may recall that time in Vermont, it was a time of excitement to remove barriers and create systems to empower students to become agents of change in their own learning. Vermont was leading the national dialogue and practice for this revolution in education. Mary sees the current commitment to Community Schools through Act 67 as an evolution of Vermonters seeking to create systems for equity, learner agency as well as establishing reciprocal relationships between our schools and communities. Our community schools not only characterize who we are but can mobilize what our schools and communities can be. Prior to serving as Community+Schools Coordinator, Mary has had the opportunity to serve as a secondary social studies teacher at Windsor High School, Twinfield Union School, and collaborate with youth and adult leaders as a Rowland Foundation Fellow and the Director of UP for Learning and Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together.

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Stefanie Seng

School Counselor, Warren School

Stefanie hails from many places. Born in Illinois, raised mainly in Connecticut, past resident of Indiana, California, and Hawaii, and current resident of Vermont. Stefanie has worked as a school counselor at all levels, and is in the second year as an elementary counselor. Licensed in both k-12 school counseling and Career and Technical Education, Stefanie has also worked in wilderness and residential mental health programs, and was a professional actor for several years. Stefanie has a BFA in theatre (CCSU) and an MS in School Counseling (UVM). Stefanie believes in student-led learning and problem solving, restorative practice, and teaching students the skills needed to find meaningful careers. Stefanie is happy with both she/her and they/them pronouns.


We're committed to helping our Educators!

Vermont Public is dedicated to our hard working educators as they welcome students back for another school year. Check out free resources from our partnership with Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Department of Libraries to meet the anywhere, anytime educational, social and emotional needs of Vermont children.

Visit vermontpublic.org/educators