Bridget Cole joins The Dover School as its fifth-grade teacher. Cole grew up in Wilmington and went to college at UVM, where she studied animal science, and State University of New York Potsdam, where she studied painting.
Cole lived in Colorado for 18 years, where she worked as a teacher. Though she says she took a long path to get back here, she’s happy to be back in the area she grew up in. She’s also excited to learn more about and get to work within The Dover School’s international baccalaureate program, which is focused on inquiry-based and global learning.
Cole hopes to teach her students to integrate technology into their learning, but to use it in a path of discovery, not for immediate answers or satisfaction. “Technology can be a great tool to get to content,” says Cole. “But it’s also easy to click a button and have what you want too quickly.”
Cole hopes her students will have a positive attitude toward learning and that they will become lifelong learners through being active participants in their educations. She says she encourages students to take risks and to be patient with their own learning processes. “I want them to know that they have to persevere and keep learning from mistakes,” says Cole. “I’ve always encouraged my students to recognize ‘the power of yet.’ They may not know something yet, but they will.”
Fiona Creed Chevalier
Fiona Creed Chevalier joins The Dover School as the school’s librarian. She grew up in Warner, NH, and attended Manchester College where she earned a BA in environmental studies with a concentration in political science, and Long Island University where she earned a master’s of library and information science. Over the past 10 years, she’s worked in libraries in Brooklyn, NY, and Holyoke and Northfield, MA.
Chevalier says that before becoming a librarian, she was an experiential educator and worked with people of all ages — kindergarten to elders — as a rope course facilitator. Her philosophy is that the library is an inquiry lab. “The library is all about discovery,” says Chevalier. “Discovering worlds through literature, discovering ways to find information, and making sense of the world around us.”
Chevalier says she was drawn to The Dover School because of its international baccalaureate program. “The IB philosophy is all about inquiry and authentic learning,” says Chevalier. “Inquiry is what the library is all about. I am excited to incorporate the library program into the IB work at Dover.”
Chevalier will be at The Dover School every Wednesday and alternating Mondays, and she says she hopes parents, caregivers, and students alike know that the library is a welcoming space. Chevalier says that this year, students will be coming to the library each Wednesday to check out books, and she will also be collaborating with classroom teachers to find ways that the library program can support what’s happening in the classroom.
Brittany Parker joins The Dover School as its fourth-grade teacher. Parker grew up in Manchester, where she attended Manchester Elementary Middle School and Burr and Burton Academy. She graduated from Middlebury College in May and recently relocated to Brattleboro.
Parker says that as a fresh college graduate, she comes to Dover with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. “This will be my first classroom, and I am very excited and can really throw myself into teaching and give it one hundred percent.”
Parker was drawn to The Dover School because of its international baccalaureate program. Parker’s student teaching work was done at an IB school. “(IB) really influenced my teaching philosophy,” says Parker. “So I knew Dover would be a good fit in encouraging and supporting the way I like to teach.”
Parker says she wants her students to know that she loves mistakes, because they show us what we have yet to understand and provide us with opportunities to learn. “If we always get the answer right, we never learn anything,” says Parker.
Parker says she wants parents to know that she believes learning should be inquiry-based. “I don’t simply want to tell children information that I already know,” says Parker. “I want it to be a discovery process in which students engage with the material and work to find solutions to real problems that actually matter to them.”
Rebecca LaPointe joins Wardsboro as its school nurse this year. She will also be working at other Windham Central Supervisory Union schools, NewBrook, Townshend, Jamaica, and Windham. LaPointe grew up in Guilford and attended Brattleboro Union High School, Vermont Technical College, and the University of Vermont.
This is LaPointe’s first school nurse position, though she has many years of experience as a nurse, including eight years at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in the emergency room. She also worked as a police officer in Bellows Falls. “Although all of these roles are very different, they all have keeping our community happy and healthy at their core,” says LaPointe.
LaPointe says growing up in southern Vermont was wonderful, and she has chosen to raise her family here, too. “The valley is a lively place with great community events, a lot of which revolve around its children,” says LaPointe.
LaPointe says she hopes her students know that her door is open and that she’s available to be a support system to all. “Students should also come say hi even if they are feeling well,” says LaPointe. “It’s great to see their smiles.”
LaPointe says that she hopes parents understand that she has their child’s health and well-being as her top priority, and she knows how hard it can be for parents to trust another person with their child’s health. She also hopes parents understand that she will always honor their privacy. “What is said in my office stays in my office,” says LaPointe.
James Pecsok joins Wardsboro Elementary as its music teacher this year. He will also be the choral director at Leland & Gray. Pecsok grew up in Middlebury and went on to study music education at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. He graduated in 2017.
Pecsok studied under Dr. John Feierabend at Hartford. “He is considered one of the leading authorities in music and movement development in childhood,” says Pecsok. “He has established a curriculum which is used internationally. His approach focuses on developing a child’s sense of pitch and rhythm as well as their sense of artfulness. I hope to bring many of his strategies into the classroom so that every child in the school can be musical.”
Pecsok says having grown up in Vermont, he loves its small communities and is happy to be back and immersed in one. “Having gone to school in Connecticut, I have a new appreciation for Vermont.”
Pecsok says he is excited to work with Wardsboro’s principal Tammy Bates and is also looking forward to the variety his work will have as he splits his time between Wardsboro and Leland & Gray. Having multilayered experiences and interests has always been big for Pecsok. In addition to his achievements in music, he was a division 1 athlete in college, throwing javelin for the university’s track and field team.