are Thriving Communities
Co-Founder & Engagement Director
Eric is widely referred to as one of the nation’s best teachers of creativity, and the father of the teaching artist profession. In 2015 he was awarded the nation's highest honor for an arts educator (the Arts Education Leadership Award by Americans For The Arts), and was named one of the 25 most important people in the U.S. arts. In arts learning, he has taught at Juilliard (13 years), Stanford University, NYU, Tanglewood and Lincoln Center Institute (35 years), and The Kennedy Center (12 years). He is the founder and co-designer of the International Teaching Artist Conferences, the recipient of the first honorary doctorate in teaching artistry (New England Conservatory), and was the keynote speaker at UNESCO's first world arts education conference. More about Eric.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Paul brings 30 years experience as an arts administrator, musician and educator to his role as Executive Director of the Community Engagement Lab. His innovative community-engaged projects have been GRAMMY nominated, featured as models of best practice at national conventions, and received national awards for children's media, including the Parents’ Choice Foundation Gold Award. He has founded three non-profit arts organizations which have attracted regional and national funding and programming awards. Before relocating with his family to Vermont in 2009, he was founder and music director of the Nashville Chamber Orchestra for 20 years, and music director of the Nashville Ballet for six years.
Creative Education Director
Susan brings with her years of experience helping educators enact student-centered pedagogies in Vermont. In addition to her work with CEL, she serves as the program lead and teaches courses in UVM's Educational Technology Online sequence, and co-directs UVM's Learning Lab, a network for educators to engage in action research with their students. Through her work as a district-wide technology integration coach and ten year experience as a professional development coordinator at the Tarrant Institute of Innovative Education at UVM, Susan designs professional development experiences that model best practices in teaching and assessment. She worked at Harwood Union High School as the English department chair as well as the Library Media Specialist. In 2007, she won the Milken Educator Award for Vermont.
Staff Teaching Artist
Ashley is a teaching artist, dance educator and choreographer whose work investigates how movement creates a more aware, engaged, and connected community. She has received multiple grants for her work in public schools and community sites and is a Juried Teaching Artist through the Vermont Arts Council. Projects include teacher trainings, school residencies, dance in libraries, restorative justice and correctional facilities programs as well as community-inspired and inclusive original productions. She received her Ed.M from Harvard Graduate School of Education and teaches at the Dance Factory in Springfield, Vermont.
Naomi has a decade of bookkeeping and financial management experience with Vermont businesses and nonprofits. Following professionally in her mother’s footsteps, Naomi began her bookkeeping career while still in high school. After graduating from Mills College in Oakland, California with a B.A. in Economics, she specialized in accounting work for nonprofits and fiduciary attorneys. As owner of Even Keel Bookkeeping, she leads a team of consultants that support a wide variety Vermont businesses and non-profit organizations. More about Naomi.
Staff Teaching Artist
Gowri is a visual-teaching artist, whose practice includes sculpture, illustration, and writing. Born in England, she moved to the US in 2007. Savoor has been a practicing teaching artist for over 20 years, with experience in arts integration and community building. Savoor is the instigator of A River of Light, a movement committed to bringing art to the community through participatory art events, installations, and lantern parades. She is also the co-founder of Teaching Artists Connect, an organization providing creative and inspiring professional development workshops for teaching artists and educators in North Carolina and beyond.
JASPER KANYE PADFOOT WORBILL
Minister of Mirth
Jasper joined the Lab team as a support specialist in October 2019. He arrived with a long pedigree of success at providing insightful and nurturing counsel. Jasper specializes at inspiring thoughtful, empathetic listening among the individuals and teams he works with. He is also well known for inspiring clear minds and bold thinking among his co-workers, especially during NPW sessions (Nature Planning Walks). He holds top credentials with, among others, the AKC, GATB (Goldens Are The Best), and BFF (Best Friends Forever).