Our Educators

Saplings & Birch Pod

Nicole Nichols

Saplings


Nicole Nichols

Saplings

nnichols@northshiredayschool.org

Nicole was born and raised here in Vermont. She has been with Northshire Day School for the past 23 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 reading and spending time with her family and friends, especially her two children Hannah and Lucas who are both Northshire Day School alumni.

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Billie Jean Ackert

Billie Jean Ackert

Saplings

Billie Jean Ackert

Billie Jean Ackert

Saplings

backert@northshiredayschool.org

Billie Jean has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 20 years and has been employed at Northshire Day School for all of those years. For the past 17 years, Billie Jean has been in our Infant 1 / Sapling classroom. Billie Jean has a warm, caring personality and brings a wealth of knowledge revolving around early childhood education. Billie Jean has her CDA (Child Development Associate) and is CPR and First Aid certified. Before working at NDS, Billie Jean worked as an LNA (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. Billie Jean has a beautiful grown up daughter named Stephanie as well as 2 cats and a dog.

Favorite Book Little Blue Truck

Favorite Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Lauren Smilovich

Birch

Lauren Smilovich

Birch

lsmilovich@northshiredayschool.org

Lauren has enjoyed living in Vermont for the past two years with her husband, Michael and two young sons, Weston and Parker. She completed her Bachelors degree in Sports and Recreation Management with a concentration in Recreation and many electives in Early Childhood education. After many years in corporate America, Lauren decided Early Education was the career for her. Lauren enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and looks forward to teaching her boys to ski in the future. 

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Emma Gras

Birch

Emma Gras

Birch

egras@northshiredayschool.org

Emma recently graduated with a Masters in Social Work! She loves working with children and

watching how their minds continue to grow and develop with interactive social play, outside activists, and hands on projects! 

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Hope LaBatt

Saplings & Birch

Hope LaBatt

Saplings & Birch

hlabatt@northshiredayschool.org

Hope is a Vermont native. She is an alumna of Burr and Burton Academy. In December of 2013, Hope graduated summa cum laude from Southern Vermont College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Since graduation, she has worked as a residential counselor, in hospitality and retail management. She is CPR certified. 


Hope loves to be outdoors: skiing, disc golf, and boating are some of her favorite activities. She cherishes any time with family and friends—she especially loves playing with her family’s dogs, Lilly and Xena! Hope also enjoys traveling, car karaoke, creative writing, and painting. 


Hope is excited to join the NDS team and make a difference in the lives of young children and the community!

Favorite Book Soup by Robert Newton Peck 

Favorite Ice Cream Chocolate Peanut Butter 

Sycamore & Willow Pod

Sarah Whiteside

Sycamore

Sarah Whiteside

Sycamore

swhiteside@northshiredayschool.org

Sarah is originally from Upstate New York. She has worked with children of all ages for a few years in both camp and education settings. She specializes in education through theatre and the performing arts. Sarah has worked for Northshire Day School since Summer 2020. She has worked in multiple classrooms as well as in the Summer school age program. She is excited to continue to be the Assistant Teacher in the Sycamore Classroom. Since her start at Northshire, she has received her Level 1 Teaching Credential and her associate’s degree in Business Administration. She is now working towards a bachelor’s degree in Community and Human Services with a focus on Children and Families. In her free time, she enjoys participating in community theater; as well as spending time with her family.

Molly Watson

Molly Watson

Sycamore

Molly Watson

Molly Watson

Sycamore

mwatson@northshiredayschool.org

Molly began working at NDS in June of 2015. She began her career as a substitute teacher and then she was hired on in Preschool as a Co-teacher. In April 2018 Molly became the lead teacher in the Toddler Classroom. In September of 2020, Molly chose to step away from her classroom duties to focus on TS Gold evaluations, ASQ training evaluations, and fulfilling scheduling requirements in The Toddler Pod. The opportunity was given to enter the classroom once more, but this time in the Sycamore room, in the Fall of 2021. She has come to find, this is her most favored stage of recent. 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 has worked in a home childcare setting throughout her high school and college years. The Toddler Pod may be Molly’s home base, but she has established many relationships throughout the building as she interacts with all the children

and gets to know more families as the NDS population grows. Molly is CPR and First Aid certified.

Favorite Book Baby Beluga by Raffi

Favorite Ice Cream Vienna Mocha Chunk

Paula Perkins

Sycamore

Paula Perkins

Sycamore

pperkins@northshiredayschool.org

Paula is currently studying early childhood education at CCV in Rutland. She

realized that she wanted to work with children after she started babysitting at

age 13. After high school, working in early childhood education became her next

goal.

Favorite Book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Favorite Ice Cream

Ashley Eaton

Willow

Ashley Eaton

Willow

aeaton@northshiredayschool.org

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 kiddos, 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. Back to college furthering her education degree. Lead teacher of the Willow room is where you’ll find me! (Music by Fresh Prince of Bel Air / Lyrics by Ashley Eaton)

Favorite Book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Favorite Ice Cream Sweet Cream

Lesley Burdick

Willow

Lesley Burdick

Willow

lburdick@northshiredayschool.org

Lesley is originally from Pownal, Vermont and moved to the Sunderland area about 15 years ago. She loves living in the country! She graduated from North Adams College of Liberal Arts with a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Child Psychology. Lesley truly enjoys working in the Early Education field and has done so for the past 16 years. She is a Level IV teacher on the Early Childhood Career Ladder. Lesley previously worked as a co-teacher at Sunrise Family Resource Center for 12 years and for the past 4 years at Early Head Start with children ranging from 6 weeks to 3 years old. Her daughter Ali is her pride and joy and will graduate from college this year. She spends quality time with her whenever possible, often doing a horse-related activity. Lesley also enjoys kayaking and fishing with her fiancée Mike.



Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Luisa Moll

Sycamore & Willow

Luisa Moll

Sycamore & Willow

lmoll@northshiredayschool.org

Luisa was born in Brazil but she’s been living in the US since 2017. She recently moved to Vermont from Virginia Beach, VA where she was working as a teacher assistant and aftercare counselor. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Liberal Arts and Humanities. Luisa found her passion for

teaching while she was in college and started working as a tutor for elementary school children. After she graduated, she worked at a language school teaching English as a second language for kids and teenagers. She loves eating healthy (but can’t say no to chocolate), watching makeup tutorials and cuddling with her cat called Kylie.


Favorite Book Novels by Nicholas Sparks

Favorite Ice Cream Frozen yogurt

Hickory & Evergreen Pod

Becky Wilder

Hickory

Becky Wilder

Hickory

bwilder@northshiredayschool.org

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.

Favorite Book Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae 

Favorite Ice Cream Butter Pecan/Maple Walnut

Courtney Lynch

Hickory

Courtney Lynch

Hickory

clynch@northshiredayschool.org

Courtney is a NDS alumni and has always loved working with children! She graduated from Community College of Vermont with her Associates of Arts in Early Childhood Education in May 2020. She is currently doing classes through Northern Vermont University’s Online Bachelor Program (graduating Spring 2023) and will continue afterward to attend Gallaudet University’s online American Sign Language Certificate Program. She loves to have bonfires and go wheeling with her friends in the woods. She loves to bring her two cats and birds in to educate children on empathy and gentle hands with animals and their peers. 

Favorite Book: M.A.D.L.Y by Sally North

Favorite Ice Cream: Cookie Dough

Lucie Daley

Evergreen

Lucie Daley

Evergreen

ldaley@northshiredayschool.org

Lucie has lived in Vermont for the last 20 years, being outdoors all four seasons is what attracted her to make a life here. Lucie is married and lives in Dorset with her husband, 12 year old daughter Emma and a playful, hiking buddy (labradoodle) named Maxx. Lucie holds her AA in Early Childhood Education and BS in Early Childhood Education with licensure (0-5) 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. This past fall she has started an outdoor classroom in the woods and while it is a work in progress, it makes her happy to see how excited her preschoolers are about the space. There is nothing more wonderful than letting children explore, take healthy risks and enjoy the outdoors all year long. Lucie has also introduced snowshoeing to her class this winter and on nice sunny winter days you can find her class tracking through the woods and exploring nearby trails in their snowshoes.  In the warmer months she takes her class on local field trips to expand and connect meaningful learning beyond classroom walls. 

Lucie is an advocate for independence and guides her preschoolers to become self-sufficient and independent in age appropriate tasks and activities. 

     In her free time Lucie loves spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, running, hiking, paddleboarding, skiing or snowshoeing. She also loves to travel and explore new places and cultures, and enjoys reading a good book.



Favorite Book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran 

Favorite Ice Cream Chocolate

Karen Harrington

Karen Harrington

Evergreen

Karen Harrington

Karen Harrington

Hickory

kharrington@northshiredayschool.org

Karen has been working in Early Education in the Northshire area since 2013. She started

working at Northshire Day School in 2015. She brings her love of outdoor learning to the

classroom with her passion for environmental science. Karen received her AS in Early Childhood

Studies from CCV in August 2021. Karen is currently enrolled at Northern Vermont University to

reach her BS in Early Childhood Education. 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. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, fishing,

and exploring with her family.

Favorite Book Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Favorite Ice Cream Mint Chocolate Chip

Saranda Osmanovic

Evergreen

Saranda Osmanovic

Evergreen

sosmanovic@northshiredayschool.org

Saranda is from Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro, a Balkan country with rocky mountains, medieval villages and a narrow strip of beaches along its Adriatic sea. She graduated from the Faculty of Philology; University of Montenegro with bachelor’s degree in English language and literature, and specialized as a teacher. She also gave private classes to kids while studying in college and a year of experience teaching primary school kids. She is flexible when it comes to working with others and aims to use her skills and knowledge to help grow the company. She moved in 2019 to Bar Harbor, Maine and now lives in Manchester Center, Vermont. In her spare time, Saranda enjoys the outdoors, reading, spending time with friends and family.

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Michael Cool

Evergreen

Michael Cool

Evergreen

mcool@northshiredayschool.org

Michael graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Keuka College.

Michael has known about Social Work for a long time after spending years within

the foster care system. He hopes that Northshire will help him develop in many

ways – giving him experience working with children and families, gathering new

learning experiences, and teaching the upcoming generation. For Michael, being

in the mountains of Vermont is a surreal experience, so he sightsees everywhere

he goes!

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Veda Bassett

Hickory & Evergreen

Veda Bassett

Hickory & Evergreen

sbassett@northshiredayschool.org

Veda received her BA from Oberlin College in 1996 and her MSEd from Bank Street College of Education in 2006. She has worked with children of all ages in both general and special education as well as in healthcare settings. After living in southern Vermont for the past 13 years, she and her 12 year old son recently relocated to Granville, NY, where they reside with their dog, Summer, and cat, Cocoa.

Favorite Book: Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

Favorite Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip

Maple & Aspen Pod

Julee Jones

Julee Jones

Maple

Julee Jones

Julee Jones

Maple

jjones@northshiredayschool.org

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.

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Hollie Labas

Maple

Hollie Labas

Maple

hlabas@northshiredayschool.org

Hollie is originally from Upstate New York. After spending 14 years supporting her husband while he was in the U.S. Army, they settled in Vermont five years ago upon his retirement. Hollie has been at Northshire for three years. Hollie has a B.S. 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, traveling, crafting, camping, hiking and spending time with her three sons; Johnathon, Gabriel and Elias, and puppy, Novalee.

Favorite Book A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee? by Chris Van Dusen

Favorite Ice Cream Black Raspberry

Pearl Schramm

Maple

Pearl Schramm

Maple

pschramm@northshiredayschool.org

Pearl is excited to join the NDS team! She grew up immersed in the early education field and this is her fourth year as a full-time early educator. She recently earned her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from Champlain College. She is also working on earning her VT Early Childhood Special Education licensure. Her professional interests include advocating for children and families, developing individualized support plans, and all things literacy. Personally, she enjoys creating things and spending time with her three dogs. She believes that all children deserve to feel love and security, to maintain a sense of wonder, and to be celebrated for exactly who they are.

Favorite Book Rooting for You by Susan Hood, Don’t Squish the Sasquatch by Kent Redeker, and The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell. 

Favorite Ice Cream Banana Chocolate Chip

Maggie Rubick

Maggie Rubick

Aspen

Maggie Rubick

Maggie Rubick

Aspen

mrubick@northshiredayschool.org

Maggie is a licensed early childhood educator and advocate who is passionate about lifelong learning. Her professional interests include nature-based education, promoting healthy development through responsive caregiving, and providing high-quality early learning experiences. As an educator, her approach is child-driven and family-centered: children’s unique interests and strengths guide curriculum development and teaching practices, while reciprocal relationships with families create a connected classroom community. Outside of her work in the classroom, she engages in advocacy and leadership through work with the NDS Farm to School Committee and through other community and state-level organizations. As a graduate student, she is focusing on human development and early childhood research. Some day she hopes to make an even greater positive impact on our Early Childhood System through research, adult instruction, and advocacy. In her free time, she finds relaxation through running, reading, and caring for our school garden.

Favorite Book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Favorite Ice Cream Chocolate

April Strock

Aspen

April Strock

Aspen

astrock@northshiredayschool.org

April has worked in the early childhood profession for over 10 years and has a plethora of experience working in a variety of settings. Recently, she was a behavioral technician working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She has experience with all types of disabilities as well as mental health needs. Her approach is both child-centered and child-directed. She believes that a child’s driving sense of curiosity, along with their inherent potential, will foster an interest in learning, allowing them to learn and succeed long-term. April also believes that community and communication are a very important part of children’s learning: families are a child’s first teachers. She looks forward to getting to know you and your child. She enjoys spending her free time outside, playing in the rain, camping, or driving RC cars. She also loves to read and continue learning. She considers herself fortunate and blessed to be teaching at NDS and looks forward to continuing to have a positive impact on children by supporting their growth and

new discoveries.

Favorite Book Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Bad Case Of The Stripes by David Shannon

Favorite Ice Cream Chocolate

Kimberly Capps

Aspen

Kimberly Capps

Aspen

kcapps@northshiredayschool.org

Not a native to Vermont, Kimberly spent most of her life in South Carolina working for the Greenville County Special needs and disabilities program as a preschool teacher. It was there that she learned her passion was working with preschoolers and the importance of early intervention. After three years there, she became employed as a lead teacher at “A Child’s Haven” a therapeutic treatment center for preschool children with developmental delays due to abuse and neglect. She spent 9 years acquiring many skills on social/emotional development which she found to be the critical foundation of all learning.  Kimberly moved to Vermont in 2010 with her husband and youngest son where she soon became employed with Rutland County Head Start as a lead teacher. She worked for Head Start for almost 11 years as she continued her education, and developed the skills needed to teach all areas of childhood development while keeping the skills of therapeutic enhancement that she found to be key for lifelong learning. Kimberly has enjoyed living in Vermont for the past 11 years and loves working with the children and their families in this beautiful state. In her spare time, she enjoy the outdoors, drawing and spending time with family and friends. 


Favorite Book Angus Thought He Was Big by Amanda Graham

Favorite Ice Cream Chocolate

Additional Staff

Valerie Coulter

Kitchen Assistant

Valerie Coulter

Kitchen Staff

vcoulter@northshiredayschool.org

Valerie was born and raised in Vermont and is a NDS graduate from 2001. She graduated from BBA in 2014 and moved to NYC to be professionally trained in Musical Theater. She is a licensed makeup artist, specializing in regular and SFX makeup. She is currently, continuing her education online to get her BA in English Language & Literature. Education is important to her and when she’s not studying there’s no place she rather be than helping serve food to the kids, learning something new from them everyday.

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Stephanie Muñoz Wells

Multi-Classroom

Stephanie Muñoz Wells

Multi-Classroom

smunozwells@northshiredayschool.org

Stephanie is originally from Southern California and has lived in Sunderland for the last 16 years. She has 17-year-old twin girls, and several nieces and nephews that are a big part of her daily life, and comes from a military family. Stephanie has spent 15 years working in special education. She double majored in elementary education and special education, with a certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a member of the NEA, NAEYC / VTAEYC, VECAA, Let’s Grow Kids Action Team, and Migrant Justice. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, watching sports (especially football – go Broncos!) and spending time with her large family.

Favorite Book:

Favorite Ice Cream:

Andrew Coler

Multi-Classroom

Andrew Coler

Multi-Classroom

acoler@northshiredayschool.org

Andrew grew up in Western Massachusetts. He has 30 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, including teaching at Center for Early Education and Care at the University of Mass, Assumption Samutprakarn in Bangkok in Thailand, and Vermont Achievement Center. He received his Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Massachusetts. During his free time Andrew likes talking long walks, listening to music and if course spending time with his 8 grandchildren.

Favorite Book

Favorite Ice Cream

Nadine Rorden

Multi-Classroom

Nadine Rorden

Multi-Classroom

nrorden@northshiredayschool.org

Nadine is originally from Pleasant Valley, NY and has lived in Vermont for 38 years. Nadine obtained an A.A. in Human Services/Child Care at Dutchess Community College. She also studied Physical Education at Castleton University. Nadine is both CPR and First Aid certified

and has enjoyed working with children and families for 44 years. Her approach is student-centered and constructivist self-learning through children’s experiences and ideas. Nadine loves spending time with her three adult children and two grandchildren. She also enjoys being outdoors hiking, kayaking, meditating, and exploring beaches and new places. She is looking forward to working with the NDS community!


Favorite Book: Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate

Annie Peters

Substitute

Annie Peters

Birch

apeters@northshiredayschool.org

My name is Annemarie Peters, but I typically go by Annie. I have my CDA. I enjoy taking

classes and workshops about children and the field of early education. There

are always new things to learn and explore with the children in my care. I have

worked at NDS for 19 years. Prior to coming to NDS, I was a live-in nanny for

four years. I am married and have two children of my own. I am passionate about

working with children. I enjoy infants and young toddlers because I am 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 I am grateful to be a part of it and contribute in some

way to their development. I believe partnerships with families play a key role

in quality care and I am truly thankful to have the opportunity to work with

you as we watch the children grow and learn together. 

Favorite Book The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown

Favorite Ice Cream NY Super Fudge Chunk

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