PROJECT LEADERSHIP TEAM
Lissa Weinmann is a writer, producer, communications and marketing consultant and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York where she specializes in U.S./Cuba relations and international nuclear waste policy. Lissa co-owns and operates 118 Elliot, an art, education, and performance gallery in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. She mentors high school students for Model UNs and oversees youth outreach for the Windham County World Affairs Council where she serves as a Board member. She serves as a Vermont State Senate-appointed citizen representative on the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Decommissioning Advisory Panel. She co-founded the Brattleboro Film Festival where she served as director of marketing for its first five years. Lissa also co-founded and was Executive Director of Americans for Humanitarian Trade with Cuba, a national coalition that helped pass a law to ease restrictions on the sale of U.S. food to Cuba. Holder of a Bachelors in Journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Lissa also has a Masters in International Relations from Columbia University. She lives with her husband John Loggia and their children in Brattleboro, Vermont.
William Edelglass is Professor of Philosophy and Director of Environmental Studies at Marlboro College. William was an EMT and volunteer firefighter in the small town in upstate New York where he spent much of his early life, where he also taught philosophy in a prison. He has served as co-director of the International Association of Environmental Philosophy. William publishes widely in environmental philosophy, phenomenology, and Indian and Tibetan Buddhist thought, including works on place-based pedagogies, human dignity, and aesthetics. He is co-editor of the journal Environmental Philosophy, and also of Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings (Oxford, 2009), the Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy (Oxford 2011), and Facing Nature: Levinas and Environmental Thought (Duquesne 2012). William’s research has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Christian Johnson Endeavor Foundation, and the Freeman Foundation. William is a regular faculty member at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and has also taught in a Tibetan refugee settlement in Nepal, and worked for many years as a wilderness guide. For several semesters William was at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamsala, India, where he taught Western philosophy to Tibetan monks. William is committed to providing resources for interdisciplinary humanities approaches to the small towns of Vermont, and does so regularly through the Vermont Humanities Council and the Osher Institute (University of Vermont).
After a number of years working in the publishing and the art worlds in New York and Boston, Sarah Kovach, a Brattleboro native, returned to Vermont in 2014 to pursue and MFA in Creative Writing at Bennington College. Since graduating, she divides her time between working as a Production Assistant at Chelsea Green Publishing, helping Lissa Weinmann manage 118 Elliot, and writing a family history memoir. She has also been on the Brattleboro Literary Festival committee for three and half years.
Jen Austin, Founder at SmallTownLegacies.com and former Coordinator of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance
The Small Town Legacies project is based on the conviction that there is much worth celebrating, even in the smallest of places, and that as we share those things with others, we amplify them, creating even better places, and long-lasting legacies.
With over 20 years experience, Jen helps business and community leaders tell stories that matter in order to exceed their goals.
Prudence Baird, writer, educator, marketing pro
Profession: Prudence is a writer, educator and marketing professional with 25 years’ experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Hollywood celebrities. She holds a BA in journalism and a master’s degree in autism spectrum disorders and is active in a organizations that advocate for the disabled.
Past and Present Affiliations: Board member and Secretary, New England Youth Theatre; Board member and Secretary, Brattleboro Film Festival; Member, Fine Arts Committee, Brooks Memorial Library; Board member, Get Thee to the Funnery; Advisory Committee, Special Needs Network.
Jerry Carbone, Brattleboro Literary Festival
Jerry Carbone retired as Director of Brooks Memorial Library in 2015, a position he held for 22 years. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin GSLIS and worked the Texas State Library as the Texas Documents Assistant before relocating to Vermont in 1976. Carbone also holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and operates a genealogical research business, Whetstone Genealogy. He serves on the Brattleboro Literary Festival Authors’ Committee and on the Advisory Committee of the Crosby-Gannett Fund, a local foundation that supports projects on “… innovation, capital improvements, and historical renovation/preservation.” Carbone also is a freelance reviewer for American Library Association’s Booklist and Booklist Online.
Arlene Distler, Write Action
Arlene Iris Distler has long been an advocate for the literary and visual arts in southern Vermont, where she lives and works as a freelance writer. She is co-founder and board member of the non-profit organization, Write Action, founded with a small cadre of fellow writers in 2000, to “strengthen a community of writers in the Brattleboro area; and to encourage, nurture, and promote the literary arts in the at-large community.” She further participates in the literary community through her work on the Brattleboro Literary Festival Committee, organizing poetry readings ( her own poetry and others’); and through her journalism work ,writing artist profiles and reviews for various publications such as Art New England, Artscope, the Brattleboro Reformer, The Brattleboro Commons, and Southern Vermont Arts & Living. Her work for the town of Brattleboro has included being active on the boards of Brattleboro Community Television (where she also was a producer and cameraman), The Arts Council of Windham County; Alliance for the Arts (an alliance of the various town arts organizations), and the Brattleboro Tree Board (which she co-founded); she has been a Town Meeting representative for 15 years.
Stephanie Greene, Brattleboro Literary Festival
Stephanie Greene is a free-lance writer now living with her husband and sons on the family farm in Windham County. Her father Stephen Greene was a well known publisher and bookstore owner in Brattleboro. She is a commentator on Vermont Public Radio.
Rich is a Windham County resident (Wantastegok/Brattleboro, VT) of Mi’kmaq and European heritage and an indigenous cultural researcher. He serves on the Vermont Commission for Native American Affairs and as a public liaison for the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, representing with governmental agencies of oversight such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Vermont State Department of Historic Preservation (DHP). He also interfaces with other tribal groups, corporate entities, other local and state agencies, civic groups, and public and private educational institutions, providing outreach and building connections.
Mary Ide’s professional career has been in higher education libraries at San Jose
State University and Vermont’s Lyndon State College; as the Director of the WGBH Archives at the public broadcasting station in Boston, and as Regional Director of Vermont Adult Learning in Brattleboro.
My interest is in Vermont and Brattleboro history, particularly the importance of publishing and printing from Brattleboro’s early years, and its lasting effect on the social, cultural and economic development of our community. I am excited to work on a project that will document and clarify the many great stories about Brattleboro’s 200-year reputation as a “book town” of importance.
Starr LaTronica, Brooks Memorial Library.
Starr LaTronica has been a librarian for over 35 years and can’t imagine anything she would rather be. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she has worked for libraries in Berkeley, upstate New York, and is currently the Director of the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, VT. Starr has served as chair of the Newbery Committee and the Wilder Award, a judge for the National Book Award, a member of the Caldecott Committee, a judge for the New York Times Best Illustrated Books and is a past president of the Association for Library Service to Children. She is the namesake for Daniel Pinkwater’s “crazy as a bat” librarian, Starr Lackawanna in Looking for Bobowicz and carries that character’s creed, “I live to amaze, astonish and astound. Those are things librarians do well.”
Reggie Martell, Brattleboro Historical Society
Reggie Martell serves on the board of trustees for the Brattleboro Historical Society where he has helped develop outreach and community engagement programs. He holds a BA in United States history and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Marlboro College. In 2007 Reggie co-founded Students for RENEW, a student organization created to educate and raise funds to mitigate the ongoing threat of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in Vietnam, with Bill Holiday.
Rolf Parker, Write Action
Rolf Parker is a newspaper reporter and local history writer. His stories are printed in the Deerfield Valley News in Wilmington, Vermont, and its sister publication, The Cracker Barrel. In preparation for these articles, he performs research using Chronicling America and other newspaper databases, as well as materials in the state archives, information on tombstones, postcards, letters, card catalogues of town vital statistics and other non-digitized sources. He has experience digitizing some of the many newspapers from the 18th and 19th centuries in the holdings of the Brooks Memorial Library, that currently are only available on microfilm. He also worked for six years assisting the reference desk at Landmark College, where he also worked as a writing instructor. As a member of Write-Action, a non-profit that promotes writing and writers in southern Vermont, he also created an event at the library during the Brattleboro Literary Festival, during which attendees wrote a new chapter of the lost novel created by spiritualist con-man and newspaper editor T. P. James, who lived in Brattleboro in the 1870s. He has an M.S. in Entomology, Clemson University.
Joe Rivers is the President of the Brattleboro Historical Society. He is also a social studies teacher at Brattleboro Area Middle School. He serves on the editorial board of the professional journal, Middle Grades Review and is a member of the Vermont Middle Grades Collaborative, an organization consisting of colleges and classroom practitioners providing ongoing professional development for teachers of 10-15 year olds.
Joe, and his students, have shared their use of social media to highlight local Brattleboro history at the Vermont Alliance for Social Studies, Dynamic Landscapes and Vermont Fest conferences. Radio, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the emphasized mediums. Working in conjunction with the Brattleboro Historical Society and WKVT, the students participate in the research, writing, recording and posting of local history. Joe received his undergraduate degree from St. Michael’s College and his graduate degree from Castleton State College.
Sandy Rouse is the co-founder of the Brattleboro Literary Festival and the festival director. The festival serves to reignite an interest in books and literature each year and the People, Places and Words Project will serve to enhance that and we are very excited to be a partner in this project. Sandy is the former owner of the Book Cellar in Brattleboro and former President of the Board of Directors for the Brattleboro Noon Rotary Club, former Vice President of Building a Better Brattleboro and former chair of Economic Development, and served on the board of the Morningside Shelter for 7 years. She relocated to Vermont in 1999 and lives in Newfane, Vermont.
Scholars and Other Participant Bios
Lisa Brooks, Ph.D, Amherst College
Lisa Brooks holds a Ph.D from Cornell University, 2004, M.A.; Boston College, 1998; B.A. Goddard College, 1993. Professor Lisa Brooks teaches courses in Native American studies, early American literature and comparative American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in English, with a minor in American Indian Studies, from Cornell University in 2004. Before coming to Amherst, she was John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Her first book, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (University of Minnesota Press 2008) reframes the historical and literary landscape of the American northeast. Illuminating the role of writing as a tool of community reconstruction and land reclamation in indigenous social networks, The Common Pot constructs a provocative new picture of Native space before and after colonization. The Media Ecology Association honored the book with its Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture for 2011.Although deeply rooted in her Abenaki homeland, Professor Brooks’s work has been widely influential in a global network of scholars. She co-authored the collaborative volume, Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective (University of Oklahoma Press 2008), which was recognized by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) as one of the Ten Most Influential Books in Native American and Indigenous Studies of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century. She also wrote the “Afterword” for American Indian Literary Nationalism (University of New Mexico Press 2006), which won the Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies. In 2009, Brooks was elected to the inaugural Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and she currently serves on the Editorial Board of Studies in American Indian Literatures. In addition to her scholarly work, Brooks serves on the Advisory Board of Gedakina, a non-profit organization focused on indigenous cultural revitalization, educational outreach, and community wellness in New England. She is currently working on a book project, “Turning the Looking Glass on Captivity and King Philip’s War,” which places early American texts, including Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, within the historical and literary geography of Native space.
Dave Cohen, VBike
Dave Cohen has more than 30 years of experience promoting bikes for everyday transportation. He was instrumental in guiding numerous bike and transportation-related projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Pedal Express in Berkeley, CA, a bicycle delivery service he founded utilizing a fleet of cargo bikes. Pedal Express gained national recognition for its innovative business model and creative partnerships. In 2015, Dave founded VBike (www.vbikesolutions.org), an advocacy group dedicated to promoting new bicycle technologies and designs to help inspire a shift in Vermont’s bike culture towards a far more transportation-oriented future. Dave also works as an integrative psychotherapist in Brattleboro, VT, specializing in ecopsychology and mind/body approaches. VBike is a nonprofit organization dedicated to shifting the bike and bike culture in Vermont towards a far more inclusive, fun, and transportation-oriented future. Our main focus is to promote exciting innovations and solutions, including electric-assist technology and cargo bikes, which profoundly expand the range, carrying capacity (children and cargo), hill climbing ease, comfort and the overall utility of biking. To get Vermont moving on these advances in bike transport, VBike has developed a diverse fleet of electric bikes for families, commuters, seniors and others to provide hands-on experiences of these mobility solutions. The fleet, which is unique in the US, has been featured around Vermont for test rides at community events, and workshops. In 1996, VBike piloted its highly successful Take it Home program, providing Brattleboro area residents an opportunity experience to their daily errands and trips by taking home one of our electric-assist fleet bikes for a up to a period of a week. The project inspired widespread adoption of e-cargo bikes and e-bikes in the area. VBike is working to expand the Take it Home program statewide in 2017. VBike also works with VTrans through its contract with Go Vermont (our state’s alternative transportation agency) aimed at providing free bicycle consultations for Vermonters looking to purchase a cargo bike, e-assist system or anything related to bike transport. VBike also provides cost-free support and consultations to the state’s bike shops.
Judy Dow, Gedakina, Inc., Native American Experiential Outdoor Education & Leadership Development
Judy Dow is well-known locally and nationally as an educator and basket maker who specializes in sharing Indigenous knowledge with children, holds bachelor degrees in Education and American Indian Studies. She has taught at the Vermont Governor’s Institute for the Arts for the past ten years and was the 2004 recipient of the Governor’s Heritage Award for Outstanding Educator. Judy’s basketry has been displayed in museums across the US and Canada. As an independent education consultant and specialist, she has conducted classes and workshops for students in kindergarten through college. Using an interdisciplinary format she teaches science, history and math through art residency programs throughout the Northeast. Currently she has been working with Gedakina, Inc, a multigenerational endeavor to strengthen and revitalize the cultural knowledge and identity of Native American youth and families from across New England, and to conserve traditional homelands and places of historical, ecological and spiritual significance. She has been working with their “We are all related” program sharing children’s literature with students in an effort to introduce them to Native authors and their stories. Judy connects basketry and beading as a way to learn core curriculum. These skills often get over-looked, where the bigger picture is lost or not even seen in a world of departmentalization. Judy’s work has been on exhibit throughout the US and Canada including displays at the National Museum of the American Indians in Washington DC, Mc Cord Museum and Botanical Garden in Montreal, the University of Vermont, and University of New Hampshire, and eight of her baskets made from recycled materials were part of a three year tour with Honor the Earth Impacted Nations visiting, NYC, Minneapolis, Santa Fe, Portland, Chicago and more. Judy is of Abenaki and French Canadian descent, and has made Vermont her life-long home. She reads and reviews children’s literature to uncover Native American stereotyping and bias for Oyate, a Native led organization that helps Native children and their teachers understand that their stories belong to them.
Adam Franklin-Lyons, Ph.D, Marlboro College
Adam Franklin-Lyons earned a B.A. and B.M. from Oberlin College, 2000; M.A., Yale University, 2006, Ph.D., Yale University, 2009. Adam’s work focuses on the European medieval and early modern past. He specializes in teaching archival methods – the extrapolation of history from small or mundane records. He has always been passionate about getting students as close as possible to the original sources of history – receipts, letters, contracts, legal documents. His students have worked on projects ranging from medieval monasticism or papal reform to the history of leaded gasoline and the local history of Vermont during both the republic period and the Civil War. His classes cover a range of topics as well, including the medieval Mediterranean, historiograpy, religious history, and women’s history. His own research focuses on famine and food supply in late medieval Spain. He has worked extensively in the Barcelona and Valencian archives as well as other cathedral and urban archives in the region. In particular, he has focused on the management and purchase records from the Barcelona Cathedral poorhouse, looking at the changing availability and price of basic foodstuffs during the fourteenth century. He incorporates digital history techniques into his work, especially using GIS (computer based mapping programs known as “Geographic Information Systems”;) to look at medieval travel and communication. Through his work at Marlboro, Adam has taught both college and high school students using local archives and working with resources in Windham county. During a seminar on local history and a summer course of letter writing and correspondence, the students worked with primary source documents from both Marlboro and Brattleboro using resources from historical societies as well as Brooks Memorial Library’s local history collection. The library, in particular, has letters and personal papers written by many notable figures including political activists such as Clarina Howard Nichols. By reading about historical actors in their own words and usually in their own handwriting, students can experience a much more immediate connection to the history they study in school. Additionally, Adam offers introductory workshops on mapping and geographic analysis. Software has progressed such that the entry level is lower than it has been in the past and students can begin to produce their own maps and think geographically in a relatively short amount of time and other methods for creating visual displays of data.
Carol Hendrickson, Ph.D, Marlboro College
Carol Hendrickson is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Marlboro College. She has conducted field research on Maya textiles, clothing, and issues of identity in the central highlands of Guatemala for more than 35 years. An expert on visual,material culture, her research focuses on the ways that people, the objects they create, and the places where they live non-verbally relate cultural meanings and provide insight into local understandings of history, gender, class, politics, and place-based identity. Carol Hendrickson is also part of an intellectual movement in anthropology and related disciplines pushing the boundaries of what it means to do visual social science research and publication. In addition to collecting research materials using more conventional methodologies (e.g., interviews, participant observation, and photography), she advocates taking visual field notes as an important means for seeing—in the double sense of observing and understanding—in the field. She has written and spoken extensively on that subject as well as on experiments in the visual presentation of research results.
Janaki Natarajan, Ph.D, Marlboro College
Janaki is Director of the M.A.T. in Teaching for Social Justice at Marlboro College. She has an Ed.D. Harvard, and a B.A from Swarthmore College. She has held faculty positions across the U.S.:
At Dartmouth College, University of California, Berkeley, University of the District of Columbia, in
the DC public schools, and in Lorton Prison, and others, including being a regular teacher in Middle and High School Grades in Brattleboro. She is the founder of Educational Praxis, a non-profit organization connecting people from distinct backgrounds to exchange local and global knowledge and skills. Spark
Teacher Educational Institute, a component of Educational Praxis has been working in the schools and communities of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts for the past twelve years. Spark offers the training for Certification for the Vermont Department of Education in K – 12 grades, as well as a Masters in Teaching for Social Justice in partnership with Marlboro Graduate School. The principles of learning and teaching of Spark are founded on building just and human communities. She was born in Bangalore, South India, where she worked with the Sarvodaya movement in India and the liberation movements in Angola, South Africa and Mozambique. She is director of Bapagrama Educational Center, a Bangalore school serving the Dalit poor in nearby villages and with a tradition of social service and community organizing since 1949. Janaki’s own work embraces more than four decades of teaching and research, including extensive work in China, India and Tanzania, where she taught at the University of Dar Es Salaam.
Kate Ratcliff, Ph.D, Marlboro College
Kate Ratcliff earned her B.A., Colgate University, 1980; M.A., University of Minnesota, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1989; Prof. Ratcliff’s doctoral work is a study of the rise of the American suburb and the emergence of a new middle-class culture in the late 19th and 20th centuries, examining changes in family life and gender roles during the transition from the Victorian Age to a secular, consumer-oriented society. She was one of three finalists for the national Gabriel Prize for the best dissertation in American Studies, and was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend. Her teaching ranges from feminist theory to the Federalist Papers to post–World War II television sitcoms. Kate has enjoyed giving public lectures over the years on topics ranging from immigration policy to Cold War American culture to suburban domestic architecture. Professor Ratcliff’s current research is focused on the history and culture of aging, with an emphasis on gender, and on the theory and practice of oral history. Kate has taught several courses in recent years relating to local history. One course entitled “Nearby History” focuses on Brattleboro as a lens for exploring changes in U.S. society and culture from the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. “Presence of the Past” draws on materials and methods from Anthropology, History and Performance Studies to explore how people and places inscribe and perform their own history. Most recently, Kate taught a course in collaboration with the Vermont Performance Lab and Green Mountain Crossroads entitled “The Politics of Change: Radical Movements in the Late Twentieth Century.” Students learned the skills of oral history, created projects based on oral history interviews with people in Southern Vermont who were part of the radical experimentation of the 60s and 70s, and presented their work in a public celebration with all the interviewees. Kate’s work in oral history has been informed by intensive training at both the Oral History Summer School in Hudson, New York and the Vermont Folklife Center.
Project Fundraising Committee
Steven Budd, PhD, Brattleboro Literary Festival
Steven Budd is a former community college president and a past president of the Council for Resource Development (CRD). His career spans more than thirty years in all aspects of community college leadership including Institutional Development, Enrollment Management, Public Relations, Marketing and Government Relations. Dr. Budd has developed and implemented workforce development projects under the U.S. Departments of Labor, Commerce and Education. Dr. Budd also led a number of NEH funded projects involving the restoration of historical sites and historical interpretation. Dr. Budd served as the Principal Investigator for CRD’s NSF funded faculty professional development program and has since pursued a career in project evaluation and independent research. He holds an MBA and Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Prudence Baird, Development & Marketing Consultant
Prudence sits on the Fine Arts Committee of Brooks Memorial Library and on the Board of the New England Youth Theatre, both located in Brattleboro, VT. Prudence Baird has more than 30 years of experience in marketing, public relations, journalism and fundraising. A southern California native, Prudence is on the Advisory Board of the L.A.-based Special Needs Network, a nonprofit that serves minority and low-income families caring for loved ones with autism. She has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oregon and holds a Masters in Autism Spectrum Disorder from Antioch New England. In addition to working as a proponent for the disabled, Prudence serves as a pro bono parent advocate for families in Southern Vermont.
Andy Burrows, Write Action
Andy Burrows is a poet. He is also the publisher of Pro Lingua Associates in Brattleboro, publishing English as a Second Language textbooks since 1980. He has served on the boards of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Center for Digital Art, and Vermont Public Radio.
Mara Williams, Marlboro College, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
Mara Williams sits on the Marlboro College board of directors and is Chief Curator at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (BMAC) responsible for setting the artistic direction of BMAC, developing and executing the exhibition program, hiring and management of guest curators and essayists, as well as cultivating and soliciting funds from major donors. She also served as director of the museum from 1989 to 1998, during which time she stabilized the finances of the institution and grew the budget, obtaining several multi-year grants from national, regional, and local foundations. She is also principal of Arts Bridge, a firm developing viewer-centered exhibitions, including interactive stations and film productions, for institutions throughout New England.
Philip H. Steckler III, Marlboro College, Country Business Investments
Phil Steckler is Treasurer of Marlboro College’s board of directors and a principal in Country Business Investments, a brokerage and acquisition firm of area businesses, where he has been responsible for numerous transactions in northern New England over 30 years. He is past president of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, past president and current executive board member of the Brattleboro Development and Credit Corporation, and past president and current member of Rotary International. He is also the former president of Brattleboro Outing Club and Tennis Club, past board member of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and current board of the Latchis Corporation of the Brattleboro Arts Initiative. Phil has his master’s in teaching economics from the University of Missouri.
Jim Verzino, Windham Grows Business Hatchery
Jim Verzino is Vice President of the Downtown Brattelboro Alliance board and board Vice President for Brattleboro Community Television. He has started three socially conscious businesses focused on the environment and rural employment. He now helps others start and grow artisinal food and agriculture businesses as the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Windham Grows Business Hatchery.
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