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 Students

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

Laura Abrams - Admissions Associate

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

Mo Reilly –Director of Community Development 

Mo Reilly –Director of Community Development

Came to Rock Point School in 2017

Mo has recently returned to Burlington after five years working in nonprofit organizations in Boston. In her most recent job she managed the biggest volunteer program in Massachusetts at Cradles to Crayons. Her professional experiences have all had at their core a desire to improve organizations, build community, and help people achieve their goals. She is excited to bring her skills and passions to Rock Point School. When she is not managing the office at RPS, Mo can be found cooking, gardening, hiking, and exploring Vermont with her dog Maggie. 

MPA, University of Vermont

Chris Howell - Director of Finance

Chris Howell - Director of Finance

Came to Rock Point in 2018
Prior to Rock Point, Chris worked as a business strategy consultant and ran a culinary tour business. Chris also serves on the boards of Slow Food Vermont and Wild Gift, a wilderness-based fellowship for social entrepreneurs. Chris lives with his wife and dog in Essex and spends his free time gardening, mountain biking, and skiing.
 

BA, Middlebury College

MBA, 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.

Molly Huddle Coffey – Marketing Coordinator

Molly Huddle Coffey – Marketing Coordinator

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

DSC_6279

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

IMG_1492

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

IMG_1481 2

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

DSC_6276

Marsi Foster - Special Educator

Came to Rock Point in 2017

Marsi has taught science at Rock Point, worked as a special educator in the Williston, Vermont public schools and has tutored in schools and at the Stern Center for Language and Learning.  Marsi loves trail running, backcountry skiing, swimming and spending time with her family and friends. She is looking forward to helping students feel engaged with their learning.

B.A.  Earth Science, Secondary Education University of Vermont
M.Ed. Special Education  Saint Michael’s College

IMG_1484 2

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

DSC_6338

Emily Skoler – College Counselor

Came to Rock Point School in 1993

Emily works with juniors and seniors and their parents to help them maximize their Rock Point experience and to plan for life after high school. She runs a seminar for seniors that guides them through applying to college or other programs. For many years Emily coordinated the academic program at Rock Point, and she continues to assist students with academic work. She loves seeing the transformation in students as they better understand and value their strengths. Before coming to Rock Point School, she worked for an ice cream company and helped to run a small home-care agency.

BA in English Literature, Harvard University
MFA in Writing, Vermont 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

IMG_1478

Alyssa Barrett - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point School in 2019
Alyssa grew up in Montpelier, Vermont and returned to her home state after graduating from St. Lawrence University. She worked as a Feild Guide at True North Wilderness to pursue her passion in the intersection between the outdoors and mental health. In her spare time, Alyssa goes backpacking, running, and makes art. Recently she has traveled to Norway and Alaska. Alyssa wants to share her love of Vermont with Rock Point students and help them establish a sense of place in their time here.
 
B.S. in Psychology, St. Lawrence University 
IMG_1474 2

Jeanine Garella - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point School in 2019

Jeanine comes to Rock Point by way of Pennsylvania. She has been teaching Physical and Outdoor Education for the past 17 years at an independent school. She enjoys year-round outdoor activities and looks forward to connecting students with nature and the local community. Skiing, sailing, running, and biking are some of her favorite pastimes. Jeanine is excited to be part of Rock Point School, encourage students to get outside, and challenge themselves with new adventures.

A.A. Harford Community College
B.A. Millersville University of Pennsylvania
M.A. The University of Montana, Missoula

IMG_1498

Mariah Kelley - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point School in 2016

Mariah was an intern at Rock Point School in her senior year at Saint Michael's. While at Saint Michael's, Mariah was also inducted into Psi Chi, the psychology national honors society, for her great work in the psychology department. After graduating, Mariah joined our team officially and moved in to the dorm! Mariah is looking forward to sharing her love of making art and going on hiking adventures with students.

B.A. Psychology, Saint Michael's College

CollinResEd

Collin O'Leary - Head of Residential Program

Came to Rock Point in 2003

Collin graduated from Johnson State College and started working at Rock Point the following year.  He enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, skiing, and any other activity that gets him outside.  Besides working in the dorm, he is also responsible for offering community service projects to the students and works with outside groups from the community who come to RPS for days of service work. Collin resides in North End of Burlington with his wife, daughter, two border collies, and some chickens.

B.A. Johnson State College

zachary

Zachary Whiting - Residential Educator

Came to Rock Point in 2018
Zachary has been working in the experiential education field since 2013 instructing teens and adults on challenge courses, teaching skiing, and leading canoe expedition. He enjoys playing new board games, throwing around a frisbee, and playing ukulele in addition to always seeking new outdoor adventure opportunities. At Rock Point, he wants to bring new ideas and activities to the community and make sure we are laughing as much as possible! 
 
B.S. Kinesiology, Outdoor Education, University of New Hampshire

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 x129
Abbey Baker English Teacher 802-863-1104 x125
Alyssa Barrett Residential Educator 802-863-1104 x117
Gus Buchanan History Teacher 802-863-1104 x115
David Boggs School Nurse 802-863-1104 x118
Molly Huddle Coffey Director of Marketing 802-863-1104 x128
Michael Coleman Tutor  
Mari Dalton Science Teacher 802-863-1104 x114
Kevin Douglas Director of Food Services 802-863-1104 x113
Marsi Foster Special Educator  
Jeanine Garella Residential Educator 802-863-1104 x117
Mariah Kelley Residential Educator 802-863-1104 x117
Hillary Kramer Director of Admissions 802-863-1104 x112
Hans Manske Math Teacher & Tech Specialist 802-863-1104 x120
Collin O'Leary Head of Residential Program 802-863-1104 x117
Mo Reilly Director of Community Development 802-863-1104 x 110
Emily Skoler College Counselor 802-863-1104 x 122
C.J. Spirito Head of School 802-863-1104 x126
Chris Howell Director of Finance 802-863-1104 x121
Jean Waltz Art Teacher 802-863-1104 x127
Ryan Weiland Dean of School 802-863-1104 x123
Zachary Whiting Residential Educator 802-863-1104 x117