LYNDONVILLE – The Riverside School began its 41st year of operation on Aug. 31 by welcoming 117 students in PreK–Eighth Grade from 11 towns including Burke, Danville, East Haven, Glover, Guildhall, Kirby, Lyndon, Newark, Peacham, Ryegate and St. Johnsbury.

“After a very busy summer reflecting on and preparing for another challenging year, I’m so thrilled to be back with students, in our classrooms, working on our mission,” said Head of School Roy Starling. “The challenges of last year really brought out the best in the faculty team, and we are excited about all of the new ways we’re growing as a school. We are incredibly lucky to have such amazing new teachers joining us this year.”

Riverside welcomes five new faculty for the 2021-22 school year.

McKenna Earl has been hired as the new preschool director. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies from St. Michael’s College and is currently working towards an masters in education in Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England. She has recently moved back to the area and likes to hike, backcountry ski and hang with her dogs.

Heather Linehan will serve as a preschool assistant. She graduated with an associate of arts in Child Development from the Community College of Vermont. She lives in St. Johnsbury and in her spare time, she loves adventuring with her children, reading a good book, snuggling her dogs, swimming and digging in the garden.

Emily Spring is the new third-grade teacher. She received a bachelor of arts in Environmental Studies and Studio Art from the University of Vermont and a masters in education in Elementary Education from Antioch University New England. She recently moved from San Francisco to be closer to family. In her free time, she can be found enjoying time with her husband and daughter, hiking with her dogs and other outdoor activities.

The Riverside School shares a belief that working one-on-one and in small groups with children, will lead to success. John Trocchi will support the Riverside community as interventionist. He received his associate of arts in Business Administration from Cape Cod Community College, a bachelor of arts in Education from the University of Miami and his master of arts in Special Populations from Augusta University. His role is to provide students with any assistance they might need as they work to meet and exceed the expectations of their classroom teachers.

He is a licensed teacher in Massachusetts and Oklahoma, and holds a special education license in New Hampshire and Vermont. His recent work in special education includes teaching at Lyndon Institute, The Cornerstone School, The Connecticut River Academy, and presently, at The Riverside School. John lives with his family in St. Johnsbury and enjoys gardening, woodworking and reading.

Marie Vaine will support instruction in Music and Outdoor Education and serve as preschool assistant. She holds a bachelor of science in Mountain Recreation Management: Adventure Leadership from Northern Vermont University. She loves to bake, play music, mountain bike and spend lots of time outdoors.

“Our 40th anniversary initiative to Grow Riverside Outside is evolving with the construction of the new Teachers’ Pavilion, the place-based learning units being collaboratively designed by teams of teachers, and the re-visioning of our campus to have more trails, meeting spaces, healthy habitats and sustainable management. It’s a really exciting time for both the teachers and students,“ said Assistant Head of School Nelia Rath.

Alice Lee will be moving from teaching third grade to co-teaching grades 1-2.

With fewer state guidelines to follow around spacing and pods, the Riverside staff are thrilled to be setting up their classrooms and working with mixed-age groups as they are accustomed to doing. The school recently enjoyed two extensive field days of all-school activities, during which they focused on building new relationships and beginning to establish school culture. Although COVID guidelines prevented the Riverside community from enjoying their traditional overnight fall trip, great fun was had by younger students, older students and teachers alike.


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