Our Team

Umesh Acharya
Youth Resilience Coordinator


As the Youth Resilience Coordinator, Umesh is responsible for designing strategies to improve social-emotional learning, trauma-informed care, and restorative practices for the afterschool programs and communities. In addition, he coordinates the Building Flourishing Communities initiative to create public awareness on adverse childhood experiences and how it affects brain development.

Before joining our team, Umesh worked as the Teen Director for Sara Holbrook Community Center, where he gained experience in designing and implementing youth-led initiatives in afterschool settings.  He earned his B.S. in Neuroscience and he was involved in pediatric epilepsy research as an undergraduate student. He also participated in an Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program, where he assisted in recruiting emergency department patients for ongoing clinical research. He is a certified medical interpreter for the Nepali language and an advocate for health equity, social justice, and youth leadership. Umesh lives in Chittenden County with his family and enjoys poetry, photography, and outdoor activities.

Ben Ardel
Program Specialist


As the Program Specialist, Ben supports youth-serving organizations that received funds through the Summer Matters For All Grant. In this role, he provides guidance on financial reporting and supports program leaders through the grant reimbursement process. Ben is also responsible for program site visits, where he sees programs in action and discusses how Vermont Afterschool can best support our grant-funded organizations. 

Prior to working with Vermont Afterschool, Ben worked as a Program Director with the Associated Recreation Council in Seattle, Washington, and a Youth Leadership Director with the YMCA. In each of these roles, Ben gained valuable experience coordinating programs for youth and developing curriculums for the third space. Ben graduated from Guilford College with degrees in History and Environmental Studies. When not at work, Ben likes to explore Vermont’s trails and mountains with his partner and adventure dog, Penny. 

Seth F. Hibbert
Communications & Development Coordinator


After graduating with a BA in English and an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Hartford, Seth became firmly entrenched in the Vermont publishing world as an editor of STEM journals and academic texts. In 2015, with his infant son serving as his inspiration, and feeling the pull to put his writing skills to good use, Seth shifted his focus to nonprofit work. Prior to joining Vermont Afterschool, Seth was the Senior Content Manager for Let’s Grow Kids, helping to advocate for public investment in high-quality, affordable child care.

As the father of a now elementary school kiddo, and with his family experiencing firsthand the struggle to find afterschool care, Seth is excited to use his expansive communications expertise to advance Vermont Afterschool’s mission to ensure all Vermont youth are active, engaged, connected, and heard. When he’s not in the office, you’ll find Seth exploring antique shops with his wife, in the yard with his two brown dogs, losing graciously on the volleyball court, or giving his son a raspberry.

Kerrie Mathes
Jr. Iron Chef VT Coordinator

Kerrie brings a long history of professional cooking, catering, event planning, gardening and Farm to School coordination. She is passionate in her volunteer work with her community, school gardens, and classroom cooking and other non-profit youth organizations. She lives in Burlington, VT with her family and looks forward to cooking and gardening whenever possible.

Nicole Miller
Assistant Director

As Assistant Director, Nicole focuses on supporting the afterschool field through the lens of strengthening programs. She co-leads the 21st CCLC director meetings and oversees our professional development systems. Nicole also helps coordinate our statewide quality efforts and ensures that the entire Vermont Afterschool team is working in an interconnected manner.

Nicole began working in youth programs as a senior in high school, and has continued throughout her career. She has ten years of experience directing a 21st CCLC afterschool and summer learning program in rural Vermont, and five years providing professional development workshops for afterschool professionals. She has a BA in Elementary Education from Johnson State College, and believes that all youth should have access to high quality and engaging afterschool programs. In 2014, Nicole was chosen as a Next Generation Leader by the National AfterSchool Association. She lives in Central Vermont with her two dogs, Ginger and Mollie.

Holly Morehouse, PhD
Executive Director


Holly brings over 15 years of experience in project management, community-based decision making, communication and collaboration processes, and leadership. Holly earned her doctorate from Clark University, Graduate School of Geography, in Worcester, MA. She also holds a Master’s in Systems Analysis and Economics for Public Decision Making from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Urban Studies from Boston University. Holly’s research and publications include work on afterschool programs and school culture change, shared vision models for community-based decision making, and the spatial mapping of indicators for risk and vulnerability. In her previous position, Dr. Morehouse was Vermont’s State Coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers at the Vermont Department of Education. Prior to her work with the department, Holly was the Director of 21st CCLC Afterschool Programs in Winooski, VT, and also held a position as a Research Fellow for the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

Holly is the recipient of the 2017 Con Hogan Award. This annual award is given to a community leader who shows deep community involvement, generosity, enthusiasm, a collaborative approach, and a focus on data and outcomes in his or her work. In addition, Holly was awarded “Outstanding Professional” by KidSafe Collaborative in honor of her work to advocate for children and families in Vermont. Also in 2017, Holly received the KIDS COUNT Award from Voices for Vermont’s Children for her advocacy to ensure low-income students across the state have access to quality afterschool and summer programs.

Katie O’Shea
STEM & Career Awareness Coordinator


As the STEM and Career Awareness coordinator, Katie supports afterschool programs and other youth-serving organizations in helping young people develop their self-identities and interests through a focus on STEM, work-based learning, financial literacy, and college/career pathways. Her focus is on equity, breaking down barriers to STEM learning experiences, and promoting promising career pathways for all youth. 

Katie grew up in Franklin County and has continued to work in the area in various afterschool settings as a STEM instructor, and for the past 3 years, as a middle school Science teacher. Katie is a Vermont licensed middle and high school science teacher, with a teaching certification from Champlain College, a Masters in Education from the University of Derby, and a BA in Biology from the University of Vermont. When not reading science articles, Katie loves going on walks with her dogs, hanging out by the lake, and eating creemees in the summer, and drinking hot chocolate in the winter. 

Tricia Pawlik, M.Ed
Program Improvement Coordinator

In her role at Vermont Afterschool, Tricia supports professionals on the afterschool professional pathway and quality improvement initiatives. Tricia also co-leads Vermont Afterschool’s Leadership Exploration and Development Program (L.E.A.D.) for young professionals looking to earn a micro-credential in leadership, as well as provides training on various topics. Her passion is coaching and mentoring, so you can frequently find her traveling the state to work with staff and programs to support their work on STARS, licensing, program quality assessment (YPQA), and grant administration. Her overarching goal is to support program quality and improvement, collaboration among professionals, and advancement in the afterschool field.

Tricia graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Elementary Education and has her Master’s Degree in Education from Post University. She has over 25 years of experience directing school-age programs, developing youth programs, and providing support to professionals in the afterschool field in Vermont. Tricia currently serves on several statewide committees as the afterschool representative including STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS) oversight, STARS evolution, and the Professional Preparation and Development (PPD) committee, and was instrumental in developing Vermont’s core competencies for afterschool professionals. Tricia lives in Colchester with her family, enjoys outdoor adventures, and loves the New England Patriots.

Brianne Smith
AmeriCorps Substance Use Prevention VISTA


Brianne is our AmeriCorps Substance Use Prevention VISTA for 2020-2021. In this role, she will help support youth councils, youth empowerment, and advocacy efforts. Brianne graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2020 with a BA in Political Science and Economics. She has worked on a variety of projects from a political campaign to presenting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as part of the Fed Challenge, to volunteering as an income tax assistant at CVOEO. After studying abroad in Hong Kong, Brianne decided to write her Honor’s Thesis on the economic and political impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Her passions have once again shifted to focus on youth empowerment and preventative measures to ensure communities in Vermont are supportive and foster positive environments for youth to feel heard and to be engaged.  

Becky Wilcke
Project Assistant

Becky joined Vermont Afterschool in 2021 as a project assistant. In this role, Becky supports the organization’s work including the Summer Matters for All Grant program, providing support to ensure the smooth operation of our professional development system, and creating and strengthening existing financial systems.

Becky has a B.S. in Business Management and has been working for many years providing bookkeeping to several local businesses. Having a five-year-old child at home, she has become more aware of the need for quality and affordable afterschool programs for children all over the state. She is happy to be supporting Vermont Afterschool on this mission. When not at work, you will find her enjoying all the outdoor activities Vermont has to offer with her son in tow.

Matt Wolf
Youth Voice Coordinator

Matt has worked with youth and young adults in Vermont for over fifteen years – working to inspire & empower their leadership development and advocating for them in the VT system of care. Matt has done direct service work with young people in, or formerly in foster care, as well as those involved in the corrections system, and those struggling with their mental health or substance use. Matt has years of history promoting young adult leadership & peer support work statewide in Vermont, as well as, training and supporting youth workers to develop a strengths-driven, empowerment system of care for a population of youth that is crossing the line between our children’s and adult service systems.     

Our Board

Vermont Afterschool places a high value on the contributions of all board members and the blend of their unique talents and commitments. We are grateful and deeply indebted to board members for their volunteer leadership resulting in improved educational and youth development outcomes for Vermont’s children and youth.

Raquel Aronhime
Community Impact Manager
United Way of Northwest Vermont

Raquel joined United Way in 2012.  Currently, she manages the volunteer-led process to grant out $1.5 Million annually to local programs addressing priorities in education, income and health needs, as well as participating in collaborative partnerships to address systemic change.  Her key interests are in the areas of youth development; advancing work in equity and inclusion; and performing arts.  Prior to United Way, Raquel was a project manager at Tetra Tech ARD where she supported USAID-funded local governance and infrastructure projects in Latin America, Africa and Central Europe.  Raquel spent five years at the U.S. Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C., first as a Country Desk Officer for South America, and later as a Training Administrator, designing and facilitating training programs for both domestic and international Peace Corps staff and Volunteers. Other work experiences include teaching Spanish and French in independent schools, working with Cuban and Haitian migrants and refugees at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Slovakia. Raquel holds a B.A. in French and Spanish from Wake Forest University, and an M.A. in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training.  She resides in Burlington with her husband, Scott, and their two children, Eva and Sam.

Virginia Burley, Secretary
Founder, Community Connections

Ginny Burley is the founder and former director of Community Connections, a project of the Montpelier Public School District and Washington Central Supervisory Union along with community partners Washington Central Friends of Education and Montpelier Alive!, which are both 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Since 2001, Community Connections has been serving the children and families of Berlin, Calais, East Montpelier, Middlesex, Montpelier, and Worcester with before- and afterschool programs for youth ages pre-k to 12; mentoring; prevention programs; drop-out prevention and alternative diploma. Her prior work experience includes serving as Assistant Director of the Adult Education Resource Center at Montclair State College, coordination of home visiting services at the Family Center of Washington County, and development of the Central Vermont New Directions Coalition, a substance abuse prevention coalition.

Jim Fitzpatrick
Co-Founder and Advisor, SchoolSpring

Jim has been in the education field 27 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. He has managed school districts with multi-million dollar budgets. As a school administrator he was considered a leader and entrepreneur, especially in the area of technology. As principal of Champlain Valley Union High School, Jim pioneered the first distance-learning program in the Northeast. Since 1990, doing business as Fitzpatrick Associates, Jim has provided in-service and keynotes to educators around the world on issues involving responsibility, organizational climate, school culture and positive discipline. He is a member of various national educational groups and has traveled to over 25 countries and 40 states for his work. He holds a Masters Degree and Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration and Planning from UVM and a Bachelors Degree in History and Geography from Kent State University.

Vicki Graf
Principal, Jericho Elementary School

Vicki is the principal at Jericho Elementary School and has been working with students in Vermont as a teacher and principal for 35 years.

Katie Flanagan Mobley, Chair
Dean of Enrollment and Community Relations, Community College of Vermont (CCV)

Katie has worked in higher education since 1997, beginning as an admissions counselor at her alma mater, Middlebury College. In 2002, she graduated from the University of Vermont’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program. She has worked at the Community College of Vermont for the past fourteen years in a variety of roles including Coordinator of Academic Services and Co-Director of Secondary Education Initiatives, where she was involved with ACT 77 and the Expanded Learning Task Force. She has served on the Building Bright Futures Council, and she is currently on the board of Vermont Family Network.

Barbara Russ, Immediate Past Chair
Retired Teacher, Principal, and Afterschool Program Director

Barbara Russ is the former director of the Student Success Winooski & Beyond in the Winooski School District, Winooski, VT. Barb has over 30 years of experience working in education and much of that work has focused on literacy. Barbara is a literacy consultant for Scholastic and regularly provides professional development for 21C program directors and staff throughout Vermont. Barbara is the former director of UVM America Reads and Counts, a senior lecturer teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses, and program coordinator for the elementary education program at the University of Vermont. Additionally Barbara has worked as a classroom teacher, Language Arts Coordinator, and principal within various public schools in Vermont and holds a PreK-12 Vermont Principal License and K-6 Vermont Elementary Teaching License. Barbara earned a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Vermont in 1979 and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction in 1984, supplemented by extensive coursework in education leadership. She is the co-author of several articles published in professional journals for educators and is co-author of the book Elementary Schools: Where Children Succeed in Literacy. Barbara currently serves as president of the Williston Town Band.

Vicky Smith
Executive Director, King Street Center

Vicky Smith, M.S.W. is executive director of King Street Center, a not-for-profit community organization located in Burlington, Vermont that provides children and families the core life-building skills necessary for a healthy and productive future.  She currently serves as board chair of Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, an anti-poverty organization, sits on the Flynn Center for Performing Arts Educational Advisory Committee and participates on a number of local advocacy networks. Vicky received her M.S.W from Adelphi University/Vermont and has been director of King Street since 2007.

Rich Tulikangas
Director, Linking Learning to Careers

Rich Tulikangas currently serves as Director of Linking Learning to Careers, a statewide initiative through VocRehab Vermont to increase career and college readiness for high school students with disabilities. He has been passionate about helping prepare young people for life beyond high school and been a leader of numerous programs and organizations in Vermont and nationally with that focus for over 30 years. He served as founding Executive Director of Linking Learning to Life/Navicate, Work-Based Learning Director for the National Academy Foundation (now NAF), Consultant and Program Director in several capacities for the VT Agency of Education and was loaned to the Governor’s Office to develop the state’s School-To-Work plan. Rich has a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and an MEd from the University of Vermont in Human and Organizational Resource Development. He has presented at numerous state, regional and national conferences and his teaching focuses on supporting secondary educators with successfully developing and managing high quality work-based learning opportunities.

Lauren Wooden, Treasurer
Executive Director, Champlain Valley Educator Development Center (CVEDC)

Lauren Wooden is the Executive Director of CVEDC, the largest educational service agency in Vermont. CVEDC provides professional learning and other services to not only their member districts in four north and west counties, but to educators throughout Vermont both face-to-face and virtually.  As the leader of this non-profit, Lauren works with educational leadership teams and partners to bring high quality learning that is aligned with Vermont’s work in equity, innovation, best practices and collaborative learning.