Kathryn McDermott - Vermont Commons School Skip to main content

Kathryn McDermott

Social Studies Department Chair, Cross Country Coach, Faculty Trustee - Appointed 2018

Graduate Degree

  • M.A. Conflict Resolution, Georgetown University

Undergraduate Degree

  • B.A. Political Science, Minor, Environmental Studies, Middlebury College

Activities in College

  • Team Member and Captain Middlebury College Women’s Rowing Team
  • Radio Show Host of “Regular Banana Later”
  • President of Georgetown Conflict Resolution Student Association

Best VCS Moment

Any time a student wanders into our lunchroom office to just say hello or search for a snack or borrow a pencil. The relationships built through the little moments with students define our magical community.

Inspirational Quote

“Philosophically speaking, wonder is crucial to the discovery of knowledge, yet has everything to do with ignorance. By this I mean that only an admission of our ignorance can open us to fresh knowings — and wonder is the experience of that admission: wonder is unknowing, experienced as a pleasure. Punctuationally speaking, wonder is a period at the end of a statement we’ve long taken for granted, suddenly looking up and seeing the sinuous curve of a tall black hat on its head, and realizing it was a question mark all along.”

-David James Duncan, My Story As Told By Water

Interests and Hobbies

Long distance running, nordic skiing, kettlebell swinging, bike-riding, swimming, hiking and backpacking, wilderness canoe tripping, political and story-telling podcast listening and indulging of two lovable cats.

Brief Biography

After watching The West Wing in high school, I decided it was my destiny to be in politics, but while studying political science at Middlebury College, I realized that the classroom was actually calling and that I would leave the press conferences to C.J. Craig. After my first year of teaching, I fell in love with the energy, fun and curiosity that characterizes every day of working with students and haven’t looked back since. I’m passionate about helping my students connect the lessons of the classroom to building their own identities as kind and engaged citizens. My teaching has brought me to bucolic New England and the stunning mountains and high desert of the Pacific Northwest but Vermont still feels like home. My husband and I met at our wilderness canoe tripping camp, Camp Pathfinder, in Ontario, Canada – he built the canoes and I taught kids how to paddle them – and in the summer of 2017 we paddled the first 500 miles of the Columbia River together in a boat we built. We both love the endless adventures provided by the Vermont landscape, and when we’re not off exploring, we keep ourselves busy with endless projects at our little home on the side of Snake Mountain.

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

Students emerge from their time at Vermont Commons School intrinsically motivated to seek out their role for improving the world, with the skills and competencies to do so.