VCL Board Members

VCL Board Meeting Schedule

We are the Vermont Council on Literacy. We are all volunteers committed to excellence in literacy instruction for the children of the state of Vermont. We would love to have you join us. Interested? Fill out this quick survey.

Ellen A Thompson, Ed. D., VCL President

Doctorate of Education | 2007 | University of Vermont Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Masters of Education | 1986 | University of Vermont Major: Curriculum Development Minor: Literacy Bachelors of science | 1977 | University of Vermont Major: Elementary Education, K-6 Minor: Special Education, K-12

Ellen A. Thompson has been an educator for over 46 years. She taught as a classroom teacher in Vermont for over twenty years with many of those years in a multiage setting teaching children aged 6-9 years of age. Ellen was named the Vermont State Teacher of the Year in 1993 and she achieved her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in 1999. Ellen began consulting nationally in 1993 and has continued this work throughout her years as an educator. Upon leaving the classroom, Ellen joined the Elementary Education literacy faculty at the University of Vermont in 2000. At the University, she taught undergraduate literacy courses, supervised student teachers and also worked as a literacy consultant in two large scale literacy research projects which spanned the grades K-6. For twelve years Ellen worked with the Essex Town School District as the Director of Instruction and Information Services. During this time, Ellen completed her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont in the fall of 2007. After the merging of the Essex Town School District and the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union, Ellen continued working with educators in the newly created Essex Westford School District as the Director of Learning Design. Ellen is currently a literacy consultant for Partnerships in Literacy and Learning.

Books, reading, writing and communicating with others has been my life blood. It is what makes me tick. I want today’s children to understand the deep joy it brings as well as the power it commands! Our teachers need to understand the potential these children have to make our world a better place.

Carol Millett, VCL Vice President

BA, Wheaton College, 1974 Master of Education, Smith College, 1976 UVM Outstanding Vermont Teacher, 1993 Snelling Vermont School Leadership Project 2003-2004 Board Member of Windham County Reads

I live in Whitingham, Vermont with my husband and our elderly cat, Ginger Pye. Our home is a converted one-room schoolhouse, School House #5. Reading has been a passion since I was a child. I remember reading with a flashlight under the covers, and pleading with my mother to let me read “just one more chapter”.

I hope I have impacted literacy education through my 30+ years on the board of Vermont Council on Reading. Bringing expert speakers to Vermont teachers has been a satisfying part of my career. One of my main goals as a teacher has been to inspire a love of reading in my students. I joined the board of Windham County Reads because I wanted to support the programs they provided. One of our main programs was a book mobile that regularly visited day care providers and schools. We also sponsored a county-wide reading challenge each March. Literacy education is vital to our democracy because we need informed voters.

Natalie Lodge, VCL Secretary

M. Ed., K-6 teaching license
K-12 literacy specialist endorsement

Hinesburg Community School (Champlain Valley School District)
Literacy Interventionist and Coordinator

I have been teaching in public schools for over 11 years and love the work I do! I was a classroom teacher for eight years, teaching grades 2, 3, 4, and 5, a literacy coach for three years, and now I am a literacy interventionist and coordinator. I am passionate about helping students feel confident as readers so that they can enjoy reading and access any opportunities possible. I enjoy spending time outside, and of course reading, with my three children, husband, and our dog!

I am constantly trying to stay current on best practice on literacy by attending workshops, courses, webinars, reading books, and listening to podcasts. I do my best to impact literacy educator by sharing my learning with my colleagues.

I am very interested in learning how to “re-balance” the reading workshop so that students have access to multi-sensory systematic phonics instruction while also reading high-quality authentic texts with the ultimate goal being to deepen reading comprehension. I am very interested in “Shifting the Balance” by Jan Miller Burkins and Kari Yates. I am participating in a year long workshop about adolescent literacy as I will be working with older students this year and am so excited!

Rebecca Shute, VCL Treasurer

M. Ed
Licensed Reading and Language Arts Specialist
Early Childhood and Elementary Educator

photo of Becca Shute

Current position: Lab Supervisor and Outreach Coordinator for Burlington Technical Center’s Educational Training & Leadership Program, Burlington School District

Becca has always had a passion for literacy since she was a young girl, and she pursued this passion into the field of education. She’s been teaching for 6 years with a concentration on literacy, and finds particular joy in reaching readers and writers who struggle and in making positive change through equity practices. In her spare time, Becca loves to read, explore the outdoors, watch baseball, and travel as much as possible.

As a licensed reading specialist, the importance of literacy is ingrained in Becca’s instructional practices, from her youngest students to her high school students and rising educators. Her love for reading is what brought her on this path, and she knows that literacy education is the foundation for all other learning. As a lover of reading and writing, Becca can connect to students through books connected to their own interests, and has inspired many students to pursue writing themselves. The transformation of her students into bookworms and authors is one of her greatest joys.

For years, Becca has been creating and revising units of study bolstered by diverse books – books that represent similar themes and lessons through a variety of characters with varying life experiences, backgrounds, family structures, and tragedies to overcome. Each year, she searches for the newest and most relevant books by authors representing their own voices through diverse and personal fictional characters. The connection between literacy education and equity is what makes her tick.

Angela Yakovleff, VCL Board member

BSEd Wheelock College, MEd UVM, John Poeton Award 2015 (VCR) Certificate of Public Librarianship 2021 (VT Dept. of Libraries)

I was an elementary teacher for 39 years. During this time I taught K, 1, 4, 5, and 4/5 literacy and social studies. For the past six years I have been the youth librarian in my town library. I love travel and have been fortunate to have traveled to six of the seven continents, most recently to Antarctica. During our VT winters I love to snowshoe. Summers provide my husband and I time at our camp on Lake Champlain. I am trying to hone photography skills to capture and share my travels. One fairly recent accomplishment-summiting Camel’s Hump this year. It was challenging, but fun, and the views were spectacular.

I am an avid reader and have always shared great books with kids and adults alike. I always strive to have kids see themselves as readers and discover the world that reading can open to them. I encourage kids to talk to one another about what they’ve read and express their ideas and opinions whether it is through discussion or writing. There’s nothing better than having a kid absolutely excited about a book they’ve discovered.

Sarah Miller, VCL Board Member

Current Position: Partnerships for Literacy and Learning, Literacy Consultant

M.Ed, Saint Michaels College, Reading

I have been working with teachers and students in Vermont schools since 2009. My journey in education began as I worked with K-8 Dreamers at the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County. Over the years, I have taught middle school English-Language Arts and Social Studies, gaining valuable classroom experience. In addition to teaching, I have also taken on roles as both a school and a district Literacy Instructional Coach in Chittenden County. In 2012, I completed my M.Ed. at Saint Michael’s College with a focus on Reading. Throughout my career in education, my primary focus has been on engaging readers and writers in meaningful ways. I am committed to providing access to literature and nonfiction that is both relevant and accessible. What truly drives me is supporting young people in developing robust reading and writing identities that are deeply connected to their lives, interests, and passions. I have dedicated my efforts to creating vibrant literate communities within schools. Currently, I work as a literacy consultant with Partnerships for Literacy and Learning. I call Underhill, Vermont, my home, where I reside with my husband, son, daughter, two dogs, and a cat.

Literacy and literacy education has been at the core of my career and personal journey. I’ve witnessed the transformative power of literacy in shaping lives and expanding horizons. I hope to empower young learners to discover themselves as readers and writers, through rich texts with the ‘mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors’ (Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop).

Special Interests:
Children’s and Young Adult Literature Access to text Reading and Writing Identities Engagement Reading-Writing Connections Perceptions of self-efficacy in middle-grade readers

Lindsey Riter, VCL Board Member

Current Position: Rutland City Public Schools, Assistant Principal

Education – list degrees, awards, etc.
Doctor of Education 2020 Northeastern University Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) 2010 Hobart & William Smith Colleges BA 2009 William Smith College Endorsements: Literacy Specialist, Elementary Education, Special Education, Principal
As a young child Lindsey Riter knew that she wanted to be a teacher. She began teaching in 2010. Lindsey has experience as a special educator, third grade classroom teacher, literacy interventionist, literacy coach, and literacy coordinator. Throughout her career she has found a passion for teaching students to engage in reading and writing. Lindsey loves to learn and spends time reading, researching, attending conferences, and taking courses to expand her knowledge and add new tools to her teaching toolbox. Literacy is a key to endless opportunities!
In the many roles I have held in education, I have seen first hand how literacy education impacts students. In some cases students have received a great foundation, and they are excited about reading and learning as they grow. I have also seen cases where the foundational instruction was weak and now reading and writing are incredibly challenging. In these instances, we often begin to see behaviors in response to reading and writing challenges. Literacy truly impacts students! Throughout my career in education, I have tried to provide high quality instruction that allows for students to be successful and to feel joyful about literacy. My goal has always been to spread joy about reading and writing, share the importance of being a lifelong learner, encourage teachers to see literacy as the foundation to success in all areas, and to share the importance of high quality instruction on the future of our students.
I am very interested in the importance of foundational literacy skills and literacy across content areas.


Billy Jo Roberts, VCL Board Member

Current position: Blue Mountain Union School, 3rd Grade Classroom Teacher

MA of Education from Lesley University CCSU Teacher of the Year

I am a wife, a mom, a baker, a reader and am passionate about teaching and learning! I am currently in my 22nd year as an educator teaching 3rd Grade at the school that I graduated from in High School. Over the years I have taught in some capacity at every grade level K-8. Not only have I had the privilege to be an educator, but also a Literacy Coach where I have worked hard to exude understanding, growing knowledge and passion for teaching and learning. I am a life long learner who is constantly trying to better myself as an educator.

Literacy education has had a profound impact on who I am as a person. As a child, my family did not value living a literate life. They read the newspaper and my mother read a novel here and there, however it was not something that they made a habit or a hobby. My mother did not graduate high school and my father left school as an 8th grader to support his family farm. Education in general was not something that was at the forefront of our family culture. It was because of my Kindergarten and First Grade teachers that I fell in love with school and learning. And for that reason, that’s why I became an educator. Knowledge is power. It give us the power to feel, to process, to grapple, to learn and to grow. Much of the knowledge I have gleaned has come from literature. As a result, my hope is to impact literacy education by giving my students the opportunity to find joy, compassion and wonder in the world of literature.

I am very interested in learning more about how as a society we can rewrite the narrative of literacy education in the United States. It is my belief that if we remove the barriers of one way or the other to teach literacy, our students will start to succeed. We need to look at our systems as a whole, and put our focus back on growing our knowledge so that we can be the best for our students. I realize that I have a lot of learning and growing to do regarding literacy education. What I do know is that I want what is best for my students and I will work tirelessly to respond to what they need. This may mean taking risks by trying a new approach. This may mean that I may fail in my attempts. I know that there is not one way to teach a child to be a literate person. And that is why I will work hard to continue growing my knowledge and expertise on how to foster literacy learning in my classroom and beyond.





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