Staff

Staff & Staff Development

Early Educators

The quality of a program is directly related to the quality of the staff. Northshire Day School staff has a CDA, Child Development Associate, or an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field, or a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field. Each staff person has an Individualized Professional Plan. This plan is reviewed by each staff person along with the Director yearly. Each year goals are set for that staff person to work toward in the field of early childhood education. Once the goals are met new goals are set into play. All staff is required by the state to have at least 12 hours of educational training each year, including course work, workshops, and trainings. Northshire Day School encourages staff to attend 24 hours by providing some educational workshops at our site. We also provide substitutes for our staff when training falls on a work day so that they may attend it.

Billie Jean Ackert

Billie Jean Ackert

INFANT 1

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Billie Jean has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 21 years and has been employed at Northshire Day School for all of those years. For the past 14 years, Billie Jean has been in our Infant 1 classroom. Billie Jean has a warm, caring personality and brings a wealth of knowledge revolving around early childhood education. Billie Jean has her CDA and is CPR and First Aid certified. Before working at NDS, Billie Jean worked as a Licensed Nursing Assistant for the Rutland Visiting Nurses Association and did private duty. When Billie Jean is not working and enjoying her time with infants, she enjoys spending her time outdoors, hiking, kayaking and especially camping with her boyfriend Chris and their dog Zoo. Billie Jean lives in Danby, VT and has one grown daughter, Stephanie.


Talia Bronson

MULTI-CLASSROOM EDUCATOR

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Talia Bronson attended NDS from 92-97. She graduated from Long Trail in 2009 and went straight to Philadelphia’s Temple University where she studied Anthropology and Spanish. After volunteering for an after school program and in search of more adventure, she moved to Taiwan in 2014 to teach English as a second language. There her love for working with Young Learners blossomed. After touring SE Asia, Talia returned to Manchester to work with her parents at Bistro Henry. Ready for different kinds of adventures with her boyfriend Brock and his daughter Bentley, she is calling Manchester home for good. When not at school, you can find her enjoying the outdoors, getting bendy in a yoga class or perhaps behind the bar at Bistro Henry. She is excited to join this team and community!


Kelly Chhun

Kelly Chhun

INFANT 1

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Kelly has been working at NDS for over 20 years. She began working in our Pre-K classroom which at that time combined with our afterschool program at the end of the day. For the past 17 years, Kelly has been the Head Teacher in the Infant 1 Classroom. Kelly has her Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has excellent skills in nurturing children and extensive knowledge regarding the care and early education of young children. Kelly is passionate about helping infants learn and grow by exploring the world around them. Kelly enjoys skiing, snowshoeing and bowling with her husband during the winter months. In the summer months, you will find her most weekends visiting family and relaxing on the coastline of CT at her family’s beach house, hiking or camping with her dog.


Lucie Daley

Lucie Daley

SENIOR TODDLERS

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Lucie has lived in Vermont for the last 17 years, and can truly say Vermont is her home now. She is married and has a daughter Emma, who is 9. Lucie has been in the early childhood field for the last 18 years. She worked in England, UK, Sarasota, FL and for the last 12 years, at NDS. She has obtained an AA in Early Childhood Education from CCV and a BA in Early Childhood Education with licensure from Northern Vermont University. Lucie is CPR and First Aid certified. Lucie strongly believes that incorporating outdoor learning and staying connected with nature leads to a happy and well balanced child. She has taken many workshops and classes to deepen her knowledge on many areas of child development. In her free time Lucie loves spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, running, hiking, swimming, skiing or snowshoeing. She also loves to travel and explore new places and cultures, and enjoys reading a good book.


Jayde Dufresne

Jayde Dufresne

MULTI-CLASSROOM EDUCATOR / OFFICE SUPPORT

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Jayde Dufresne has worked at Northshire Day School in various capacities since January 2017. Jayde currently works as a part-time multi-classroom teacher covering shifts as needed as well as planning times for teachers. Additionally, Jayde assists in the office with filing and organizing student files. Moving around throughout the building allows her to build relationships with all of the kids in our school! Jayde enjoys riding her motorcycle and fishing with her son Hunter. Jayde has a Master’s degree in community counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Art.


Ashley Eaton

Ashley Eaton

MULTI-CLASSROOM TEACHER

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Now this is a story all about how. Ashley got into teaching and where she is now. Graduated from CCV with an associate’s degree. The mama of two daughters sweet as can be. In Manchester VT born and raised. Crafting is how Ashley spends most of her days. Getting out relaxing, temperature is cool, and reading bedtime stories is her favorite rule. When Ashley started NDS she was five years-old. Then an employee sending one of her own. Got a daughter named Willow and one named Fern. She’s our multi-classroom teacher. You’ll see her everywhere. (Music by Fresh Prince of Bel Air / Lyrics by Ashley Eaton)


Karen Harrington

Karen Harrington

SENIOR TODDLERS

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Karen has been working in childcare in the Northshire area since 2013. She received her Level 1 teaching assistant certificate in 2014. Karen started at Northshire Day School in 2015 working in the Senior Toddler classroom. She brings her love of outdoor learning to the classroom with her passion for environmental science, which she studied at Plymouth State University. Karen believes play and exploration of the natural world brings children great spur of the moment learning experiences, promotes creativity, and provides a sense of wonder. Karen aspires to continue her education in early childhood studies. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, camping, fishing and cooking.


Trudy Heinrichs

Trudy Heinrichs

PRESCHOOL COLLABORATIVE

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Trudy is originally from Bergen County, NJ where she discovered her love of taking care of children. She is a transplant from NY where she had a childcare business for three years. She has five years experience in the field. She is a Level I Teacher Assistant and is certified in CPR and First Aid. She is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship Program through the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children. Her long-term goal is to earn her B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a minor in outdoor education. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking and backpacking.


Julee Jones

Julee Jones

SENIOR TODDLERS / TODDLERS

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Julee has worked at Northshire Day School for 17 years. For 16 years, she was a floater for all age groups. In September 2017, she moved to a Preschool position and this past summer she moved into a Teacher Assistant position in Senior Toddlers. She has completed the Fundamentals of Early Childhood Class at CCV and she wants to advance in the field of early childhood. Julee loves working with children and especially enjoys circle time and reading to children. In her spare time, Julee enjoys spending time with her daughter, Justine, going on hikes and walking her dog, Pepper.


Claire Kerstel

Claire Kerstel

PRESCHOOL COLLABORATIVE

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Claire moved to Vermont when she was fourteen from New York City and attended Burr and Burton Academy. She knew she wanted to enter the world of education after graduation and went on to pursue secondary education as a major, and english literature as a minor at Champlain College. She then transferred to Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont where she is currently finishing her studies. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, writing, playing with her cat, and seeing her friends.


Hollie Labas

PRESCHOOL 1 & 2

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Hollie is originally from Upstate New York. She has spent the last 14 years supporting her husband while he was in the U.S. Army. They settled in Vermont a year ago upon his retirement. Hollie has a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University. She enjoys sharing in the joys and wonderment of the learning process. Hollie has worked with children in many capacities including driving a school bus and operating her own home childcare. She enjoys reading, travelling, crafting, camping, hiking and spending time with her three sons; Johnathon, Gabriel and Elias.


Elaina Manley

Elaina Manley

TODDLERS

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Elaina Manley lives on the New York-Vermont border. She is part of a large family where she frequently cares for her five nieces and nephews. Elaina started at Northshire Day School in September of 2018; and she serves as the Toddler Teaching Assistant. At the beginning of 2019 she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.She has been taking care of kids for 10+ years. At her last job she served as a supplemental instructor and tutor for a course on American Cultural Diversity. In her free time she is an avid knitter and reader.  


Gabriel Manley

INFANT 2, JUNIOR TODDLERS & TODDLERS

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Gabi Manley is a new addition to the Northshire Day School. She was hired as a substitute in March 2019. Currently, she has been floating between Infant 2, Junior Toddlers, and the Toddler classroom. She has taken care of kids for 10+ years. Gabi has taken classes at the College of Saint Rose, and SUNY Adirondack. She lives along the border of Vermont on her parents farm. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and cat Garfield.


Hannah Nichols

Hannah Nichols

INFANT 1 & INFANT 2

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Hannah Nichols is an alumni of Northshire Day School. She began her employment here as a Substitute Teacher and is currently a Teacher Assistant in the Infant 1 and Infant 2 classrooms. Hannah is completing the Fundamentals of Early Childhood Class. Hannah loves interacting with the children. In her free time, she enjoys reading books.


Nicole Nichols

Nicole Nichols

JUNIOR TODDLERS

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Nicole was born and raised here in Vermont. She has been with Northshire Day School for the past 20 years. She is a graduate of Burr & Burton Seminary and continued her education at the Community College of Vermont. Nicole has her Child Development Associate Credential and her Level III Teacher Associate Certificate. She is certified in CPR and First Aid. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends especially her two children Hannah and Lucas who are both Northshire Day School alumni.


Taylor Rushinski

INFANT 2

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Taylor is passionate about helping others & seeing the growth and development that young children accomplish when in her care. She lives in Shushan with her husband, two cats & golden retriever, Riley. She enjoys being outside, walking, and side by side riding. She loves to be on the beach, travelling to new places, and learning new things about the world. She is currently enrolled in an AA degree program in Human Services. 


Annemarie Peters

Annemarie Peters

INFANT 2

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Annemarie Peters goes by Annie and works in our Infant 2 room. She has her CDA. She has worked at NDS for 17 years. Prior to coming to NDS, Annie was a live-in nanny for four years. She is married and has two children. She has a passion for working with children. She enjoys infants and young toddlers because she is able to be a part of their significant milestones, from crawling to cruising, cruising to walking, from first words to actual conversations. Children grow so quickly in the early years and Annie is grateful to be a part of it and contribute in some way to their development. Annie believes partnerships with families play a key role in quality care and she is truly thankful to have the opportunity to work with your children and watch them grow together.


Maggie Rubick

Maggie Rubick

PRESCHOOL 2

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Maggie is a native Vermonter who left the Green Mountain State after high school to immerse herself in new environments and cultures. She landed in New York City where she studied ancient history and archaeology at NYU. She kindled an interest in early childhood while interning in The Discovery Program for young children and families at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Upon her return to Vermont, she took a job in a home-based preschool and discovered the joy and wonder of early childhood education. She joined NDS in 2012. She has completed the VT Child Care Apprenticeship Program. She has also developed Spanish language curricula for preschoolers. She has earned a VT Educator’s License through Peer Review and is currently pursuing her M.A. in developmental psychology. She is an advocate of incorporating nature-based learning into the curriculum. Her focus in working with young children is two-fold: to nurture through responsive caregiving, and to stimulate children’s curiosity through play-based learning experiences. She believes learning is lifelong, and hopes to share her love of learning with each child so they move onto Kindergarten eager and ready for elementary school. In her free time, she likes to be outside running or home with her dog, Minnie and a good book.


Ashley Short

AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAM / VACATION CAMP

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Ashley Short is a Special Education teacher in the Anchor Program at Manchester Elementary Middle School. She lives at home with her husband and two children. Ashley loves running and reading when she can find the time. She is an avid advocate for children and making sure they are all getting what they need in order to be successful.


Molly Watson

Molly Watson

TODDLERS

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Molly has been with NDS for 4 years. She began her career as a substitute teacher and then she was hired on in Preschool as a Co-teacher. She is currently the lead teacher in the Toddler Classroom. Molly earned her A.A. degree in early childhood education from Dean College. She then went on to pursue and complete her B.A. degree in sociology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Molly worked in a home childcare setting throughout her high school and college years. Toddlers may be Molly’s home room but she has established many relationships throughout the building as she interacts with all the children and gets to know more families. Molly is CPR and First Aid certified.


Stephanie Muñoz-Wells

Stephanie Muñoz Wells

MULTI-CLASSROOM EDUCATOR

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Stephanie is originally from Southern California, and has lived in Sunderland for the last 12 years. She has 13-year-old twin girls, and several nieces and nephews that are a big part of her daily life. Stephanie has spent the last 20 years working in special education in various forms. Most recently she worked for the BRSU at the Danby/Mt. Tabor Early Education Center and the MEMS afterschool program. She double majored in special education and elementary education, with a certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is CPR and First Aid certified, CPI certified, and a member of the NEA. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, watching sports (especially football – go Broncos!) and spending time with her large family.


Becky Wilder

Becky Wilder

PRESCHOOL 1

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Becky was born and raised in Vermont. She is married and has two dogs. She has been with Northshire Day School since September 1990 and for the majority of the time has been the lead Preschool teacher. She graduated from Burr & Burton Seminary and went on to continue her education at CCV. She has obtained her Child Development Associate Credential and her Level III Teacher Associate Certificate. She is certified in CPR and First Aid. She frequently participates in professional development continuing to further her knowledge. In her free time, Becky enjoys spending time with family and friends. She likes having cookouts, campfires, going on scenic drives, and spending time by the water where she finds her relaxation and peace.


Substitute Educators

William Bass

SUBSTITUTE EDUCATOR

William is a brand new Early Childhood Educator who began with Northshire Day School in April 2019. He is a current student at the Community College of Vermont that will get his Associates later in the year, and soon move on to pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. William is 25 and lives all the way in Dover, Vermont with eight chickens, four ducks, three goats, two bunnies, one boa constrictor, three spoiled cats, and four very spoiled dogs. When he’s not spending time with them, he’s reading whatever he can get his hands on, playing with his keyboard, or taking various odd jobs like tutoring. He sees early education as the foundation for setting a great life-long trajectory, and is a strong advocate for the concepts of resilience and mindfulness.


Emma Gras

Emma Gras

SUBSTITUTE EDUCATOR

Emma is a graduate of NDS back in 2004. Since then she has graduated from BBA in 2017 and is attending Keuka College in upstate New York where she is a Junior. She is studying social work and is working towards her Master’s degree in Social Work. When she is not attending school she is a substitute here at Northshire Day School.


Deb Wyman

SUMMER SUBSTITUTE EDUCATOR

Deb has worked in early childhood for 22 years. She is the Assistant Director for the Afterschool Program at the Manchester Elementary Middle School. Previously, she was the director for Home Away From Home. Deb has a Level III Teacher Associate Certificate. She enjoys camping, going to the beach and working with children.


Auxiliary Staff

Tammy Coulter

Tammy Coulter

FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR

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Tammy is married with three children. She has been cooking for the children of Northshire Day School for over 12 years. She loves introducing the children to exciting and healthy foods and making it for fun for them to try new foods. When she is not busy keeping our children and staff well-nourished, she enjoys waiting on your table at Gringo Jack’s.


Rachel Houlihan

Rachel Houlihan

FOOD SERVICE ASSISTANT / SUBSTITUTE EDUCATOR

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Rachel joined NDS in 2018. She works in the kitchen helping to make all the delicious meals served. She also has a background in early childhood education so from time to time she also gets to play in the classrooms as a substitute teacher (yea!) and has been the Spring Semester Substitute in our Afterschool Program. At home, Rachel and her two boys Matthew and Jacob enjoy hiking, fishing and camping.

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