About Us

Our Staff

Our Staff 2017-18 Staff Photo:
From Left to Right: Leanne, Lindsey, Carol, Wendy, Myra, George, Rise, Shannon, Martin, Kim and Isaac.
Missing: Lynn, Loren, Katrina, Cathy, Elizabeth, Sonya and Nathan

Rise :: Director

Rise grew up in Chicago, graduating with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois.  After living in Israel for a year, and a year in England, she settled in Massachusetts.  In the 1980's, Rise was part of a group of local parents that began looking at education, and serving the needs of both their own children, and the children in this area.  They formed the Village School in 1989, and it has been a labor of love since.  Rise and her husband John have a small farm, with maple sugaring, sheep, hay fields, pastures, woods and gardens.  When not at the school, you can find her in the summer blissfully weeding in the garden, and in the winter, cross country skiing through the woods.  Rise has three grown children, the youngest of whom was lucky enough to be the first Village School graduate.

Wendy :: Curriculum Director

Wendy spent her childhood in Connecticut and California and her adult life in Massachusetts.  Her parents were both teachers and Wendy followed in their footsteps and began teaching in 1981.  She has worked at the Village School since 1999.  Her two children attended and loved the Village School- in fact her daughter was the Village School's first (and only) Kindergartener when the Village School decided to expand from a preschool.  Until recently, she and her family have lived at the Farm School, which was founded by her husband, Ben.  In addition to working at the Village School, she teaches English at the Chicken Coop School and co-teaches a teacher training course at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge. She also serves on the Village School Board of Directors. Once the snow melts, you'll find her in her garden

Kim :: Preschool Teacher

Kim was born in New Jersey and studied meditation and education at MIU in Fairfield, Iowa. She received her B.A. in Education in 1981. She settled in New Salem, Mass. in 1989 with her husband and two sons. Kim has taught in the preschool since 1994 and helped develop the preschool curriculum as it exists today. After years of attending math staff meetings and working with some of the Investigations math curriculum in the preschool, Kim became the Kindergarten math teacher in 2009. When Kim isn't at the Village School, she is likely taking a walk, taking a yoga class, cooking for friends and family or eating out. To date, being a parent and working with Leanne in the preschool are two of Kim's most rewarding life experiences.

Leanne :: Preschool Teacher

Leanne grew up nearby, in the Pioneer Valley. After experience in day care and early childhood education, Leanne joined the Village School over 9 years ago. Both parents and children who have gone through the Preschool are grateful for the lifelong skills in conflict resolution, and communication with children, that they have learned from Leanne. Leanne loves cooking and gardening with children. She gardens at home, and sells beautiful bouquets from her garden. Her two children, Dylan and Lindsey, are both graduates of the Village School.

Martin :: Kindergarten Teacher

Martin grew up in a village in the southeast of England. After graduating from University he traveled around the world and discovered the vocation of teaching. He returned to the U.K. to study a Post Graduate Certificate in Education then began teaching in central London where he taught for six years.

Seeking a rural community life he moved to Royalston in 2007 to teach at the Village School. He especially enjoys reading and telling traditional folk tales and hiking around the local area with his class.

Myra :: 1st-2nd Grade Teacher

Myra grew up in a small Massachusetts town where she learned to look closely, listen carefully, and breathe deeply to find the quiet magic of the natural world. A lifelong interest in the arts brought her to the Maine College of Art, where she earned a BFA in painting. In Maine, Myra was an arts educator for the ICA at MECA, teaching children at local schools all about contemporary art and finding a million uses for recycled materials. She received her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Antioch University New England, focusing on placed-based and integrated learning. Myra lives in Fitchburg with her husband and son, who both ensure that everyday is full of exploration and adventure.

Shannon :: 3rd-4th Grade Teacher

Shannon was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and lived there for 30 years.  She attended Middlebury College and Clark University.  She graduated from Clark with a degree in teaching and a degree in English.  She taught in Worcester for five years and also coached field hockey and softball.  She spent five years at home with her children before joining the Village School as the 2nd-3rd grade teacher in 2008.  Shannon and her husband Rich are the parents of two Village School graduates.  Shannon enjoys spending time with her family, reading, gardening and hiking. 

George :: 5th - 6th grade Teacher

George was born in London, England, and grew up in a spiritual community of fifty people. He studied history at university and took a master's degree in modern American history. George spent seven years in Europe and the Middle East as an international truck driver, before becoming a journalist and editor of magazines written for the truck and transport industry. In 1990 he set up his own company to buy the magazines he worked on, and sold the business seven years later. After twenty years as a journalist, editor and publisher, George trained as a teacher at London University in 2000. He worked in a London public school for two years before joining the Village School in 2003. George is married to Ana and has two young adult children, both Village School grads, as well as three adult 'children' living in Istanbul, London and Sydney, Australia. George likes to travel as often as he can, and always with a book in his pocket.

Cathy :: Science Program Coordinator and Science Teacher

Cathy has taught science and coordinated the science/nature program at the Village School for 17 years. The program combines comprehensive science topics that dovetail with classroom themes, independent science projects (4th-6th grades) and nature study (such as Biodiversity Day). Cathy is also an aquatic biologist working primarily on biomonitoring studies of Vermont upland stream sites. Cathy graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS in Biology. She has managed a water quality laboratory and worked with an alternative energy firm. She is the mom of two thriving Village School alumni as well as a member of the Village School Board.

Lynn :: After School Program Director

Lynn was raised in New Hampshire, has been a Royalston resident for the past 20 years and a part of the school since 2003. Her daughter is a Village School grad and is now in college. Lynn loves the natural world and its never-ending magic. She enjoys creative endeavors that involve playing with color, especially as a life-long animal fiber artist, with a knitting focus. At home she loves to create soup & sometimes remembers to write the ingredients down! Lynn's motto is "ancora imparo" (I am still learning), and discovering what she wants to do when she grows up. Because of this, she believes the Village School is a perfect match.

Katrina :: Science Teacher

Katrina has a degree in microbiology. Her three children are Village School alums. Katrina loves teaching K-1 science, focused on hands on observations and immersed in nature.

Loren :: Yoga teacher

Loren brings her longtime Iyengar yoga training to children! Starting with animal poses for preschoolers and moving on with work with attention with the older children, the children get an immersion in yoga as they move from preschool through 6th grade. Loren has three children at the Village School.

Carol :: 2nd-4th Math Teacher

Carol spent her childhood in a rural northern N.H. She moved to Massachusetts in 2006 to pursue her teaching degree. She graduated summa cum laude from Becker College in 2010 and attained her elementary teaching license. She worked as an academic learning specialist at the collegiate level, assisting students with time management, study skills, organization, and coursework. After spending eight years in the city, Carol moved to Royalston with her husband and two children. She enjoys walking, spending time with her family, and traveling.

Isaac :: Music Teacher and After School Piano Lessons

Isaac Richardson is a music teacher, composer, and pianist working in the Pioneer Valley. After training in classical piano, he went to Berklee College of Music where he studied blues, jazz, world music, and film scoring. Isaac enjoys teaching music in a variety of different styles to all ages. He balances lessons with fun, enthusiasm, and a learning challenge. A Village School graduate, he is glad to be back at the school sharing his love of music.

Nathan :: Spanish Teacher

Nathan, parent of three Village School students, is a fluent Spanish speaker and looks forward to sharing his knowledge with grades K-6. He minored in Spanish at U. Mass. and he leads study abroad programs in South America through Worcester State University. He has lived in Mexico and Guatemala and has traveled extensively thru Latin America and Spain.


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Contact Information::

Email: info@villageschoolma.org
Phone: 978.249.3505

Remembering Jane Manring

by Rise Richardson, Director

Remembering Jane Manring

I met Jane in the fall of 2001 at our Lantern Walk contradance at the Royalston Town Hall. She introduced herself to me and spoke about her experience in teaching. We needed a math teacher at the time, and I knew immediately that Jane could do it and would do a good job. How did I know it? Because when you met Jane and knew Jane, she was exactly who she presented. She was authentic. No pretense about her.

And of course, she became an institution at the school. For over 9 years, she taught math groups under the stairs in a tiny space. We often joked that you had to be short for the job, so you didn't bang your head on the stairs. She taught math in a hallway space, with children and teachers passing through all the time. And there was no heat- we put in portable heater, but on cold winter days, it was bone chilling in there. Pretty poor conditions for someone in "retirement."

Did Jane ever complain? Not once.

She was genuinely humble. When she came to work at the school, it took me almost a year to find out that she had been the founder and director of a very similar school in Maryland. And she never came to me with advice on how to run the school, though I sure needed it. If I asked her advice, she would gently say "well, at my old school, this is what we did when this situation arose." She became a stalwart supporter of the school, a Board member and a good friend.

Jane empowered children. All children left her with greater confidence in their ability as math students. She would come in early to walk with a student at recess, or stay late to help a student with a new math idea. All her students remember her saying, "I know you can do this." And they believed her, because it was always true.

I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Jane Manring Memorial Fund at the Village School. Jane always felt strongly that donations should not be earmarked for any specific project, but that the Board and the Director use common sense to direct the use of funds, based on the school's needs.

Here is a poem by one of her Village School math students, written for Jane when she officially retired from the school.

Under the Stairs

Under the stairs we learn to multiply.
We learn to add,
We learn to subtract.

Under the stairs we learn the shapes.
We learn about triangles,
We learn about squares.

Under the stairs we learn to write story problems
We learn to be creative,
We learn to solve.

Under the stairs we work as a team.
We work to make diagrams
We work to make problems easier to solve.

Under the stairs we learn from a lady.
We learn to respect her.
We know she's the best.

Under the stairs it is now empty.
It is now empty
It is now empty.

Under the stairs it is now empty.
Empty of you
Never empty of our memories.

Of You.

by a Village School student

Who knew that Jane was a poet? Here are just a few of her poems:
-Harvest Day
-Math Is
-The most important question