Featured Speakers


What if… we got leaders from VT education talking on one, just one, important issue in education – What are the essential elements of PLPs? It’s happening at VT Fest 2016!

Keynote Panel Sponsored By






Chuck Scranton – The Rowland Foundation

Chuck Scranton served for 28 years as a school principal, 13 years in a K-8 school and 15 years at Burr and Burton Academy where he also taught in the humanities department. Since 2008 he has served as the Executive Director of The Rowland Foundation, an organization he conceived when he left school administration. The Rowland Foundation has awarded $4.5 million in grants to visionary VT teachers who, using a bottom up approach to school transformation, wish to positively impact the culture and climate of their respective schools. Chuck received his BS in Economics from Wagner College and his MEd from Rutgers University. He resides in South Londonderry.

Juliette Longchamp – Vermont NEA

Juliette Longchamp is the Director of Professional Programs at Vermont-NEA where she has the opportunity to work with teachers and ESPs across the state.  She is also wrapping up her dissertation as part of the Educational Leadership and Policy Program and The University of Vermont this fall.  Juliette is a graduate of The University of Vermont (B.S. in Education) and Columbia University Teacher’s College (MA in Curriculum and Teaching).  She taught students in Belvidere and Waterbury before moving to Williston Central School in 1988 where she worked until 2013.  In Williston, she was one of four original members of the Swift House Team, where personalized learning plans, project-based learning, standards-based grading, and strong family partnerships were the cornerstones of the program. Today, she represents members of Vermont-NEA who provided input during the past couple of weeks on the PLP process in their schools.

Dan French, Saint Michael’s College

Dan is an experienced Vermont educational leader whose research interests are focused on various dimensions of educational systems change including ethics and leadership, board governance, Policy Governance, innovation, and Open Education. He is frequently consulted by school districts and policy makers on issues surrounding the impact of technology on the future of education.
During his tenure as a Vermont superintendent, Dan served as the President of the Vermont Superintendents Association and was named Vermont Superintendent of the Year in 2009. He was selected to serve on the national Superintendent’s Technical Work Group to give input into the US Department of Education’s ConnectEd Initiative in 2014.

John Downes, Tarrant Institute of Innovative Education

John Downes has been the associate director of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education since its founding in 2006 and was the lead researcher and professional development coordinator on the grants that preceded the Institute. Prior to joining the University of Vermont, he spent ten years designing and facilitating curriculum reform and professional development in Vermont middle schools, focusing on technology integration, implementation of Turning Points reforms, student­-led curriculum planning, and collaborative teacher learning. John has also taught at the Middle Grades Institute for 18 years.
His current research interests include the impact of 1:1 on young adolescent learning, how technology can promote teaching and learning responsive to young adolescents, and the role of students in teacher and school change. In addition to his involvement in ongoing research and professional development at the Tarrant Institute, he has been the primary researcher on several grants and evaluations, including a 1:1 laptop initiative to re­-engage middle level learners; the UVM GEAR UP project to improve young adolescents postsecondary prospects; and a state­-wide initiative to bring students and their voices into collaborative school change. He has published numerous articles and chapters and presents regularly at state and national conferences. John also enjoys traveling, paddling on Lake Champlain, biking in Vermont’s mountains and valleys, and skiing in Greens and Rockies.

Nate Demar, Director, Cold Hollow Career Center

Nate started his career as a high school teacher and coach, became a high school assistant principal, and is now in his sixth year as Director of Cold Hollow Career Center. When he entered the world of career and technical education he became amazed by the maturity and willingness in which students approached their education.  Nate serves on the Executive Committee of the Vermont’s Principal’s Association, and is the vice president of the Vermont Association of Career and Technical Education Directors. He is most proud of expensive work his teachers have done putting transferable skills (employability skills) at the forefront of the curriculum.

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Diana Laufenberg is our highest rated keynote speaker… EVER! She’s back this year to lead  Immersive Workshops. Now’s your chance to dive into an immersive session with this educational innovator!