Grades 6-12
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Board of Trustees

The Vermont Commons School Board currently has twelve Trustees. Each member serves three-year terms and chairs or sits on at least one of the six Standing Committees and/or the numerous Ad Hoc and Sub Committees. Trustees work on advancing the mission and the vision of the school through focus on the integrity of the organization, financial and policy issues, due diligence, and the growth of the school.

The Board’s Mission StatementThe VCS Board of Trustees ensures the long-term viability of Vermont Commons School by taking mission-driven strategic action on behalf of the future generations of students.

Brian Leffler

Board Chair

Brian is a parent of one VCS student and one VCS Alumni. Brian is currently Vice President of Instrumart, which sells industrial instrumentation across North America. Brian has been involved with the school since the fall of 2008 as a parent and volunteer on the IT committee.

Brian believes the small size of VCS allows it to do things that traditional schools cannot. He thinks the school is in a great position right now and is working to enhance academic programs, encourage more students to enroll, and create a secure financial foundation for VCS.

Brian is a member of the IT Committee, Finance Committee, and Site Task Force. Brian received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in 1988. He owned his own computer software consulting business for 12 years. He is also a private pilot and owns part of an airplane that is kept at the Burlington Airport. He received his pilot’s license when he was 17. Brian lives in Williston with his wife and two children.

Brian can be reached for inquiries via e-mail at brian.leffler@gmail.com.

Rebecca Lindy Coll

Rebecca Lindy Coll is a past parent of a student at Vermont Commons School (Adam ’12). Her passion for the school and belief in its mission has inspired her to share her considerable experience in fundraising and independent schools with the Board. Rebecca served as Board Chair from 2010-2012 and over the years has served on, or been Chair of, the following committees: Governance Committee, Development Committee, Finance Committee, and Strategic Planning Committee. She joined VCS after ten years in England where she served on many committees at the American School in London. Rebecca’s work at ASL helped the school to raise significant funds that went toward creating endowments, buying state-of-the-art equipment, and funding innovative teacher programming.

Rebecca is currently the Executive Director of Wondermore, a nonprofit that brings authors and illustrators into underserved urban schools. In previous positions Rebecca planned executive education programs in management consulting and at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Skidmore College and has two further degrees in Book Arts from the University of the Arts, London. In 2016 Rebecca also took a one-year executive certificate program from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice and Tuft’s University. Rebecca and her family now live in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Adriana Comtois

Adriana is a World Languages Instructor at VCS and the Faculty liaison to the Board of Trustees. Read Adriana’s Faculty profile by clicking here!

Craig Heindel

Craig is a past VCS parent who feels that the school has been a very special place for him and his family. His two daughters graduated from VCS (Naomi in 2003, and Ruth in 2006) after receiving remarkable high school educations, taught by wonderfully talented and dedicated faculty. Craig is pleased to be able to help VCS advance into its second decade with its strong and unique programs of experiential education focused on environmental knowledge and ethics applied to local, regional and global issues.

In his professional life, Craig is a consulting groundwater geologist with Waite-Heindel Environmental Management, based in Burlington, Vermont. He evaluates water resources for property owners, commercial interests, and local and state governments, and he specializes in water supplies, assessments and remediation of contaminated sites, and on-site wastewater disposal. He especially enjoys the teaching aspects of being a natural resources consultant, whether providing testimony at a hearing or leading a group of UVM students on a glacial geology field trip. When Craig is not geologizing, he and his wife, Judy Chaves, enjoy being out in the mountains and lakes of Vermont and the northeast, in all seasons of the year.

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Carly Lagasse

Carly Lagasse is an alumni of VCS, who graduated in 2009.  Her love and commitment to our school has lead to her new role as one of the Board of Trustees’ newest members.  She believes in the power of VCS to change the lives of its students and prepare them for brilliant futures, as she is living proof.

After graduating from VCS she went on to do a five month sailing adventure with the gap year program Class Afloat, traveling to over 10 countries and 5 continents.  Following this incredible experience she chose to go to Castleton State College to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and is now working as a nurse at the Community Health Centers of Burlington.

When Carly is not working you can find her in yoga classes at various studios in the Burlington area, climbing at MetroRock gym, hiking our beautiful VT and ADK mountains, and even joining VCS Encounter Weeks as co-leader.  She is now living in the new north end in Burlington, but still loves to visit her parents in the Lake Champlain Islands.

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Dinah Larsen

Dinah Larsen is a professionally trained chef.  She has worked in fine dining restaurants, as a food and beverage manager, as a personal chef, at an assisted living facility, opening a contemporary grocery store kitchen, and her current position as Nutritional Services Coordinator at Lund in Burlington. The ability to impact a struggling parent’s life by offering nourishing food, and giving them the knowledge and power to feed their family, is an extremely rewarding way to be employed.

The cooking gig is just a sideline to her passion for nature photography, film, travel, ultimate, and the Vermont Commons School.

Dinah and her husband, Alain Brizard, live in Essex Junction, having previously lived in New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area.  They are the lucky parents of Peter Larsen, VCS ’14.

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Martha Maksym

Martha Maksym became Executive Director of United Way of Chittenden County in July 2011. Prior to this, Martha was the Director of Community Investments at United Way of Chittenden County since September 1994 where she provided direction and management of all allocations, funding distribution processes and community investment strategies as they relate to meeting the Impact agenda of the organization. After a seven-year career at the Howard Bank in Burlington, Martha returned to graduate school and received her Masters in Public Administration from UVM in 1991. She then served as the Executive Director of Green Mountain Prevention Projects until joining United Way. She is a 2002 graduate of the Snelling Center’s Vermont Leadership Institute and a 2004 graduate of the Creating Healthy Communities national fellowship sponsored by the American Hospitals Association. Martha serves on the Board of Directors at the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Health Foundation. Martha lives in Grand Isle with her husband Bill and son Ben (VCS ’16).

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Suzanne Mantegna

Suzanne is a parent of one past and two current students of VCS. She has served as a class parent for several years, and was the co-chair of the Parents Committee of the Commons School (PACS) for two years. Suzanne has also worked as a member of  the Annual Fund Auction Committee for several years and was part of the committee for Facilities Planning prior to joining the Board of Trustees in 2013. Suzanne is looking forward to giving back to the school that has been such a positive force in her children’s lives.

Suzanne grew up in Maryland and attended Virginia Tech, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Suzanne is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation at the University of Vermont. Suzanne lives in South Burlington with her husband and children.

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Tina Mueller

Ms. Mueller was elected to the Vermont Commons School Board of Trustees in June 2012. She is a parent of two VCS Alumni. Since arriving at Vermont Commons in the Fall of 2005, Tina continues to be an active volunteer and officer for Vermont Commons; she is a founding Co-Chair of the Parents Association of Commons School (PACS), has been involved in a number of additional special projects for VCS over the years and is currently in her first three-year term as a school board member.

Tina is very active in the community. Ms. Mueller has served on the Board of Trustees of Pathways Academy, St. Albans, Vermont and has worked with teachers and faculty of the Northwest Technical Center (Bellow Free Academy – St. Albans, Vermont) as the professional liaison, co-teaching a grant funded project which brought education and the real world of manufacturing together into the classroom. She volunteers for many organizations around Chittenden and Franklin counties of Vermont, including The Franklin-Grand Isle United Way.

Ms. Mueller is a graduate of Rutgers College of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ceramics. Since college, she has attended professional development courses in Glass Sealing, Ceramic-to-Metal Seals and AutoCAD. Tina has received her certification in Leadership & Management from UVM’s Center for Leadership and Innovation; she is also a certified ISO9000 Internal Auditor, as well as an AS9100 Lead Auditor. Ms. Mueller has worked for over 25 years at Superior Technical Ceramics, St. Albans, Vermont as Senior Ceramic Process Engineer, and most recently accepted the position of Quality Assurance Manager.

No matter what time of year, Tina enjoys baking and sharing some of her favorites with friends and co-workers. Most recently she has taken up trying to learn the acoustic guitar and also enjoys playing cards, in particular, 500 and cribbage.

Tina can be reached via e-mail at sktrchry-vcs@yahoo.com.

Kyler Robinson

Kyler Robinson is a graduate of the Vermont Commons School and the first alumnus to join the Board of Trustees where he is Treasurer and Chair of Finance Committee. He cites VCS’ academic rigor and dynamic systems learning as critical for his career in finance. Reflecting on his experience, “In many ways, VCS is where I learned how to think: not the answer to the question, but the way and means to find the answer: built upon reason, system dynamics and critical thinking.” These skills continue to serve him well today. 

Kyler lives in Manhattan where he is a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. He is also on his division’s Philanthropy Committee and Morgan Stanley’s LGBT Pride & Ally Network leadership group. Kyler’s prior experience includes work consulting and at a small banking group. He graduated cum laude from Drew University with a double major in Political Studies and Economics with a concentration in Business, Finance and Money while also earning a European Studies minor.