At this years reunion, we held our very own VLN version of “TED Talks” (in lieu of a keynote speaker). We had alumni from The Vermont School Leadership Project (VSLP), The Vermont Leadership Institute (VLI) and the Early Childhood Leadership Institute (ECLI) all speak on fresh and exciting topics.

Please click below to listen to each talk.


When they don’t want you anymore…

Juanita Burch-Clay, VSLP 2012

What happens when you try to apply the best principles of good leadership and it doesn’t seem to work?  How do you deal with rejection from one direction while receiving positive feedback from another?  What compromises do you make with your personal beliefs and principles to keep a job and what deals do you make to ensure you can get another one?  This talk gives a personal look at situations that leaders often don’t want to share and raises uncomfortable questions that have no easy answers.


Sit Down, Shut Up and Grow Up

Vicky Senni, ECLI 2016

This talk will address the politics of being a kid in a diverse world, and finding your voice in a culture that stresses fragments rather than connections, and parts over systems. Through stories and data, we’ll explore the implications of our current education system not only on kids, but also on the economy and our overall growth as a society. And what does climbing trees and dancing at ECLI have to do with all of this?


Why Women Should Run (and why you should vote for them!)

Ruth Hardy, VLI 2013

This year could be a landmark year for women in electoral politics: Vermont could elect its second woman governor and our country could elect its first woman president. These are groundbreaking accomplishments, and more needs to be done. Vermont ranks 44th among the 50 states in gender parity of its elected officials, in a country that ranks 97th worldwide. Why should this matter? And why aren’t there more Sues and Hillarys? My talk will argue why electing women is crucial to sustaining a vibrant democracy, and why, despite how important it is for our communities, more women don’t run.

Radical Downsizing – Update on my journey to a tiny house

Andrea Stander, VLI 2004

Shortly after my 60th birthday, I started to think seriously about how I could meet my basic needs as an elder adult. Like many (some statistics say the majority!) of my generation, I have not set aside enough resources to “retire.” Also, like most folks in the circles I travel in, I have no interest in “retiring” but I am deeply interested in living a sustainable and rewarding life WITHOUT having to work full time until I’m ninety! Thus began my journey toward creating a Tiny House. I will share the latest insights I have gathered during my, four years and counting, exploration of the Tiny House movement and the radical downsizing that is part of it. This presentation will be illustrated with some photos and other images I have gathered along my journey.

Vermont’s Trends in Higher Education

Patrick Leduc, VLI 2014 & Marilyn Cargill, VLI 2016

Vermont has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the nation, but it lags both regionally and nationally in the percentage of students who enroll in a postsecondary institution. While nationally 66 percent of recent high school graduates enroll immediately, only 60 percent do so in Vermont and 14 percent of those students drop out after the first year. Who are these students? What are the challenges they are facing? What is being done to improve these numbers in light of the inequities found and the needs of our state’s future workforce?


Let’s make it personal: Creating a school culture that values personalized learning

Andy Kepes, VSLP 2014

If the statement “The person doing the work does the learning” is accurate, it probably means that our educators are doing the majority of the learning. What is needed to create a school culture that sees the value in personalized learning and makes it in integral part of a student’s learning experience? I will be sharing insights gathered from future protocols with different groups.

My personal journey to come to terms with the legacy of racism

Susan McCormack, VLI 2005

I thought the unusual circumstances of my childhood inoculated me against racism. I was wrong. This is the story of my journey to come to terms with our country’s racist history and to learn to live with and leverage my whiteness in productive ways.