Our People - Faculty & Staff

Staff members at Rock Point School are enthusiastic, educated, creative and fun people who are committed to spending time with young people and helping them to navigate the path to adulthood. Teachers, dorm staff and members of the administration strive to create a friendly and positive atmosphere where young people can thrive. Many of our staff members have been at Rock Point for years (some of them decades!) and their dedication and experience shines in the work they do with our students, while our newer staff members bring fresh ideas and energy to our school!

The faces may change over the years but the core characteristics of the students and staff members stay the same.

Administration and Support Staff

C.J. Spirito – Head of School

C.J. Spirito – Head of School

Came to Rock Point School in 1990

C.J. committed his professional life to Rock Point School. After graduating from St. Michael's College he has worn many hats at the school: Dorm Staff, Director of the Dorm, Dean of Students, Assistant Headmaster, and now Head of School.  He is starting his 30th year at RPS, 9th as the Head of School.  C.J. finds meaning in calling the community together and guiding students and families during the tender and vulnerable times in their lives.  He thrives on supporting the underdog and finding light wherever we can, whether that is helping struggling students find their voices, coaching families to improve communication, or creating Wiffle ball fields where people can play together. C.J. loves working with students to co-facilitate Reflections, a 45-minute student gathering to consider what we can wonder about and how we can best live our lives.

B.A. St. Michael's College
M. Ed. School Leadership St. Michael's College 
Ryan Weiland

Ryan Weiland - Dean of School

Came to Rock Point School in 2000

Ryan came to work at Rock Point School as a dorm staff.  After four years she became the Director of the Dorm and then in 2011 became the Dean of Students.  Ryan loves working at Rock Point School because the interesting, challenging and funny kids constantly keep her on her toes.  She especially enjoys helping young people to identify their passions and their strengths and to develop them.  Outside of RPS, Ryan enjoys skiing, playing and watching sports, listening to live music and being outside.  She lives on campus with her husband Bryan and sons, Isaac and Oliver.

B.A. Psychology with a minor in Sociology, Skidmore College

Hillary Kramer – Director of Admissions

Hillary Kramer – Director of Admissions

Came to Rock Point School in 2003

Hillary joined Rock Point School after working for years in the legal field and with youth in a social services setting. She has loved working with teens and families and is very pleased to be continuing that work here at Rock Point School, accompanied by her little dog Bosley – king of the admissions department! Contact her with any questions about admissions at hkramer@rockpoint.org.

B.A. Political Science, University of Vermont
J.D. Hastings College of Law, University of California

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Laura Abrams - Admissions Associate

Came to Rock Point in 2018

Laura earned her degree in Art Education after deciding that education was the perfect fit for her experience in art and her ambition to serve her community, particularly those facing challenges on their path to learning. Laura has years of experience volunteering in hospitals, helping families and individuals transition through difficult life situations, and worked as a camp counselor. Laura hopes to share her love of design, baking, humor, wellness, and Vermont nature and beauty with the Rock Point community.

B.S. Art Education, University of Vermont

Mary Hamilton

Mary Hamilton - Office and Systems Manager

Came to Rock Point School in 2020

Mary is joining the Rock Point School community having spent many years volunteering and working at Vermont Commons School. She left VCS to start a business, but ultimately determined this just wasn’t the right time. Having learned all kinds of wise and salient lessons, she is now really excited to have colleagues again and be a part of a community with high-school-aged students and their journeys as a shared passion. She hopes her experience and humor will provide opportunities for growth and laughter both for RPS and herself. When not in the front office, Mary is hiking with her dogs, cooking up a storm, hanging with her twenty-something kids, and reading. 

B.A. Northern Studies, Middlebury College.

B.S.R.N. University of Vermont

David Boggs - School Nurse

David Boggs - School Nurse

Came to Rock Point in 2018

David started nursing in Virginia and has been working at the UVM Medical Center in Critical Care for a few years. For three summers, he worked as the nurse at a summer camp and became interested in working with young people. In his spare time, David loves being outdoors, hiking, running, and swimming. At Rock Point, he is looking forward to getting to know students, and joining such an intentional community. David lives in Burlington with his partner and their dog, Elsa.

B.S.N George Fox University

Kevin Douglas – Chef

Kevin Douglas – Chef

Came to Rock Point School in 1994

Kevin did his internship in Vail, Colorado from 1975 – 1979 at Vail’s landmark restaurant The Red Lion Inn.  He then worked at Sea World in San Diego, worked in Manhattan for a year, and then moved to Vermont.  He was the head chef at the Wobbly Barn Steak House in Killington (1979-1984), chef and kitchen manager at Perry’s Fish House (1984-88), and General Manager of Shanty on the Shore (1989-91 and 1992-93). Kevin is a firm believer in using local and organic ingredients in the school kitchen wherever possible.  He loves leading field trips to the local farms to meet the farmers who supply food to the school.

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Gibson Smith - Business Manager

Came to Rock Point School in 2021

Gibson is an ex-Peace Corps devotee, having served as a volunteer in Romania, worked at the headquarters office in Washington DC, and then at an administrative post on the island nation of Kiribati in the Pacific.  Since moving to Vermont, he has satisfied his affinity for mission-based organizations by performing financial management for non-profits and educational institutions.  Gibson enjoys the intimate and supportive community at Rock Point and looks forward to advancing strategic initiatives to ensure its growth and success.   Gibson also enjoys hiking, skiing, and sailing in Vermont’s great outdoors, as well as time spent with his wife and two daughters.

B.S., M.B.A Tulane University

Molly Huddle Coffey – Marketing Coordinator

Molly Huddle Coffey – Director of Marketing

Came to Rock Point School in 2004

Molly started as a Residential Educator and became the English Teacher in 2006. After many years as a classroom teacher, Molly’s role began to shift and in 2014 she decided to take on Marketing and technology work at the school. Molly loves being outside and reading novels, often at the same time. She lives in Winooski with her husband, their two young daughters, and a sweet dog.

B.A. English Literature, College of William and Mary

Academic Staff

Abbey Baker

Abbey Baker – English Teacher

Came to Rock Point School in 2006

Abbey has been teaching English at Rock Point since 2014, and before that spent eight years working as a writing tutor. She has enjoyed bringing together her love of creative writing, literature, and working with young people. Some recent highlights of her job at Rock Point have included developing the Visiting Writer Series, running the school's Gender & Sexual Alliance, working with the Vermont Young Playwrights' program, and launching a zine-making elective for students to publish and showcase their creative work. Outside of school, she loves spending time with family, exploring Burlington, and trying to keep up with her students' pop culture recommendations.  

B.A. English, Rhode Island College.
MFA in Creative Writing, Lesley University

Gus Buchanan

Gus Buchanan – History Teacher

Came to Rock Point School in 1987

Gus started at Rock Point School as a residential educator and developed an outdoor education and camping program while working in this capacity. In 1991, Gus was hired as the history teacher. As a result of his excitement and true passion for his subject, Gus is the recipient of a number of teaching awards and community accolades including The Corcoran Occupational Achievement Award (1998), Outstanding Teacher Award from UVM (2004) and the Herb Blumenthal community service award (2009). Gus is also a keen apiarist. He keeps beehives behind the school and supplies all the honey used in the kitchen. Students are exposed to bee keeping through classroom lessons, installation of hives in the spring, and harvesting in the fall.

B.A. History, Saint Lawrence University
M.A.T. History, University of Vermont

Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman - Math Tutor

Came to Rock Point School in 2019

Mike has taught undergraduate students in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering (including engineering graphics and design) at Cornell University and The University of Vermont.  He is is passionate about the simple beauty of math and science and finding ways to bring it to life in the classroom with physical demonstrations and 'props'.  Mike's research was in the areas of vehicle, human, and robot locomotion and his work took him around the US and to the Netherlands, Germany, and Finland.  Most recently he has been the vice-president of E.A.S.Y.  LLC, a company he co-founded that produces freehand drawing technology and learning materials for the blind and visually impaired. His experience in serving the blind community has been rich, varied, and rewarding, especially in joint advocacy efforts with the National Federation of the Blind.  Mike loves working with students one-on-one, trying to adapt to their learning styles and finding ways to meet their learning needs in concert with them. Mike is a cross-country skier, biker, photographer, piano player, and artist in his spare time.

B.S.E. , Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University
Ph. D., Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Cornell University

Marika-Dalton

Marika Dalton – Science Teacher

Came to Rock Point in 2014

Marika has taught science in many different venues, including teaching undergraduates at Bates College, Johnson State College, and Michigan Tech. She’s also taught summer youth classes in engineering and outdoor adventure. As a geologist and researcher, Marika has traveled all over the world visiting volcanoes, most recently to Iceland! She loves getting outside whenever she can, hiking, skiing, and kayaking. She can’t wait to get students outside to explore science in the natural world.

AB Vassar College
MS and Phd from Michigan Technological University

Rick Gordon

Rick Gordon - Guidance Counselor 

Came to Rock Point in 2021

Rick comes to Rock Point after 20+ years as Founding Director of the Compass School in Southern Vermont. Rick brings years of working with educators at all levels, including working extensively with schools and higher education on Service Learning. Rick co-authored Transforming School Climate and Learning: Beyond Bullying and Compliance, has been a Humanities teacher, and had the honor of visiting thousands of classrooms as an educational ethnographer and consultant. Rick has long experience in Experiential Education with Outward Bound and Interlocken, and has traveled extensively around the globe leading programs for youth. Rick played college and professional soccer, and continues to be active outdoors with skiing of all types, biking, running and hiking.

B.A. Political Science, Stanford University

M.Ed. Political Science, University of Minnesota

PhD. Social and Multicultural Foundations of Education, University of Colorado-Boulder

Hans Manske

Hans Manske - Math Teacher

Came to Rock Point School in 2019

After college at Dartmouth, Hans moved out West to begin a career in science education, which found him teaching field courses in Sequoia, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Redwood, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Hans returned to New England for his Master’s, then moved to Burlington to help open Vermont Commons School where he designed the Environmental Science and Math curricula. After 13 years, he left VCS in 2011, after helping usher in a new leadership team. For the last six years, Hans has been the owner of SoYo Frozen Yogurt in Burlington’s South End. Outside of work, he loves skiing in the winter, paddleboarding in the summer, hiking all year, and watching his kids grow up.

B.S. Earth Science, Dartmouth College

M.S. Environmental Geochemistry, Dartmouth College

Jeannie

Jean Waltz – Art Teacher

Came to Rock Point School in 2000

Jeannie, an artist whose work has been well received in the greater Burlington area for over 15 years, teaches art history by introducing her students to prominent artists with colorful lives, and incorporates a hands-on art assignment, emulating that period in art history. A self proclaimed retro home and fashion aficionado, she also spearheads the set, props, and costumes for the annual play. Save the date for the Annual Rock Point Art Show, the first Friday in May!

B.A. Humanities and Fine Arts, Burlington College

Residential Staff

Matthew Cook

Matthew Cook - Residential Educator 

Came to Rock Point School in 2021

As a military kid, Matthew grew up all over the country. Eventually, his family decided to lay down roots in Florida, where Matthew would stay to complete his degree. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 2021. After graduation, he decided he wanted to trade in his surfboard in Florida for a snowboard in Vermont. In his free time, Matthew enjoys everything outdoors, often using days off to find new hiking trails, go camping, and play sports. He hopes to guide students here at Rock Point School to navigate and achieve both their personal and academic goals, with lots of fun and laughter along the way. 

A.A. Anthropology, Hillsborough Community College 

B.A. Interdisciplinary Social Science, University of South Florida

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John Davis - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point School in 2020

John was born and raised in the Green Mountain State. He left to study Great Books at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, where he wrote his thesis on “countryside madness” in Plato’s Phaedrus. To stay healthy in body as well as mind, John played seven different intramural sports, plus some croquet. After graduating, John went to work at his grandparents’ “discovery” farm, where he unearthed a passion for experiential education and enjoyed getting in tune with the rhythms of land-based living. John is excited to discuss philosophy and art with members of the Rock Point School community while staying active and honoring the beauty of his home state!

B.A. Liberal Arts, St. John's College

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Haley Sparks - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point School in 2020

Haley grew up in New Hampshire, but after spending each winter skiing at her family’s house in Stowe and attending UVM, she likes to consider herself a Vermonter at heart. After graduating in 2017, she left the Green Mountain state to backpack around Southeast Asia and pursue her mental health and outdoor passions in Utah, where she worked as a children’s ski instructor and wilderness therapy guide. She enjoys listening to music, reading, skiing, and spending time outside with others. She is so excited to be back living in the land of maple creemees and at Rock Point, looks forward to helping students find personal and academic success with compassion and humor!   

B.S. Secondary Education, University of Vermont

Jaime Toutant

Jaime Toutant - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point School in 2021

Jaime grew up in Vermont and attended South Burlington schools. Dissatisfied with the lack of individual attention she received in a large public school, she entered the private education sector - first as a student, then an educator. As a practitioner, Jaime got her start at a local preschool, where her love for teaching was born. She went on to hone her administrative skills at Vermont Law School. As the inaugural manager of the Online Learning Program, she brought an aging course roster into the new decade. Jaime looks forward to drawing upon her diverse experience to help students fully realize their strengths and learn how to tackle their challenges.

B.A. History, Saint Michael's College
M.S. Global Studies and International Relations, Northeastern University

Staff Directory

To email a staff member, please use their first initial and their last name @rockpoint.org. For example, Beth Anderson would be banderson@rockpoint.org.

The school phone number is (802) 863-1104. Below you will find extensions for various staff and departments. If the staff member you would like to contact does not have an extension, please leave a message at the main school number and we will be in touch ASAP!

Name Position Phone number
Laura Abrams Admissions Associate 802-863-1104 x 129
Abbey Baker English Teacher 802-863-1104 x 125
Gus Buchanan History Teacher 802-863-1104 x 115
David Boggs School Nurse 802-863-1104 x 118
Molly Huddle Coffey Director of Marketing 802-863-1104 x 128
Michael Coleman Tutor  
Mari Dalton Science Teacher 802-863-1104 x 114
John Davis Residential Educator 802-863-1104 x 117
Kevin Douglas Director of Food Services 802-863-1104 x113
Mary Hamilton Office and Systems Manager 802-863-1104 x 110
Hillary Kramer Director of Admissions 802-863-1104 x 112
Hans Manske Math Teacher & Tech Specialist 802-863-1104 x 120
Gibson Smith Business Manager 802-863-1104 x 121
Haley Sparks Residential Educator 802-863-1104 x 117
C.J. Spirito Head of School 802-863-1104 x 126
Jean Waltz Art Teacher 802-863-1104 x 127
Ryan Weiland Dean of School 802-863-1104 x 123