Michelle Ralston: Head of School, Mathematics

MICHELLE RALSTON: Head of School, Mathematics
B.A. University of Hartford; M.Ed. St. Michael's College

Michelle began her teaching career at Danville School and then spent 25 years at St. Johnsbury Academy as a teacher of mathematics; Department Chair; and Dean of Academic Affairs.  She has worked as an independent curriculum consultant for the VT Department of Education, and most recently was a teacher and administrator at Lyndon Institute. Michelle knows Riverside well from teaching our alumni throughout her career as well as being a grandmother to two of our students.  Even before taking on this position, she knew well that "Riverside has happy students and is a wonderful learning environment."

Michelle enjoys spending time at home; going to the movies with her grandsons; biking, skiing, and rock wall climbing.

Krystal Ingalls : Front Office, Business Manager

Krystal has 20 years of bookkeeping and financial experience.  Before joining the Riverside staff, she worked for Community National Bank and Orleans County Supervisory Union.  She loves working at Riverside because she gets so many opportunities to step away from her desk and involve herself with students and learning activities.  Her passion for event planning has made her a great asset to our fundraising strategies; Krystal has helped to organize the auction, the yard sale, and the fun run in recent years.

Krystal lives with her husband and high school sweetheart Chris and their two daughters in West Glover, VT.  She is a dedicated supporter of the Northeast Kingdom Skating Club and enjoys being active in her free time, especially weight training.  She looks forward to earning a personal trainer certification in the future.

Suzanne Tanner: Art

BFA, Kutztown State

Suzanne’s art classes take place in the Yurt, where work tables in a u-shape give students space to spread out and explore art in a variety of mediums. Never one to sit still, Suzanne is always walking around her classroom talking with each student about his or her work, giving encouragement and suggestions. Her art curriculum integrates art history and cultural studies with practice in the elements and principles of design: line, color, shape, texture, pattern, form, and movement. The art classes “travel” around the world exploring different countries, cultures, artists and art styles. Although gentle in her approach, Suzanne is persistent in her expectation that each student work at his/her highest potential and feel success artistically.

Suzanne grew up all over the United States, traveling with her military family, until settling in Danville, VT nineteen years ago with her husband and two sons. Suzanne graduated from Kutztown State University with a BFA in graphic design. She has taught art at The Riverside School for over eighteen years. Suzanne is an artist as well as an educator. She creates handmade paper, sculpting sheets into intricate paper imagery.  During the warm months, you will find her digging in her garden, climbing mountains or exploring the back roads with her husband on their blue tandem mountain bike. In winter, she cross-country skis and snowshoes out her back door.

Nelia Rath: World Issues, Spanish, Director of Co-Curricular Programs


BA, Colby College; M.Ed, Antioch University New England

Nelia Rath grew up in a variety of communities, an experience that fostered her love of exploring the unfamiliar.  This love has become an essential component of her philosophy of education.  Students in her class participate in lessons designed to engage, stimulate, and provoke deeper thinking about concepts and ideas.  Nelia believes in challenging students, knowing that as they digest their experiences in school, they develop both skills and an appreciation for their personal growth.  Students leave her class as more confident problem solvers with well developed study skills.

Nelia graduated from Colby College and earned her M.Ed. in integrated learning at Antioch University.  She continues to work with Antioch as a Critical Skills Master Teacher though their Center for School Renewal. Before joining the faculty of Riverside in 2005, Nelia worked with high school students at the Shackleton School, guiding adolescents through learning on expeditions away from home.  Her experience working many summers at Camp Killooleet have enhanced her understanding of adolescence and helped her to develop an interest in training young educators. She lives in a historic home in Kirby with her husband, chef and restaurant owner, Dave, daughter Cora, and two beloved chocolate labradors. Nelia is glad to be a part of the small community at Riverside, a place where she sees students truly engaged in their learning.

Peter Sahlin: English, American & Ancient History, Drama

BA, Harvard College

It's not surprising that a man who frequently wears a bowtie, attended a prestigious prep school, and graduated with an English degree from Harvard, loves words, great literature, and perfect grammar. Peter has high academic and behavior standards and knows how to inspire his students to achieve them. His middle school English program is rigorous and lively. He demands much from his students, and they thrive with high expectations. Rich discussions of the works of Harper Lee, Mildred Taylor, or Shakespeare, as well as a variety of poets and topics in American history happen around the large Harkness™ table in his classroom.

Besides holding the bar high for academics, Peter also puts his heart and soul into playing hard. He can often be found on the golf course, 4-square court, or jamming with students on his electric guitar. He supports our chorus with his piano playing, is a dedicated DJ at our dances, and co-directs our annual middle school musical. Peter lives in Lyndonville, and spends free time with extended family in New Hampshire, Boston, and Cape Cod.

Joel Gilbert: Science, Physical Education

BS, Cornell University

Joel Gilbert's enthusiasm for all things "science" yields engaged and curious learners. He guides students' naturally inquisitive minds with the belief that science should not be learned only by reading or listening to a collection of isolated facts; science should be observed and experienced in the world around us. The experiential lessons and labs that Joel designs make science both interesting and thought provoking for Riverside's middle school students. The bridge building contest, egg drop lab, rocket launching unit, and dissection lab are but a few of the perennial favorites. It is through these lessons that students develop a conceptual understanding of the content, an understanding that stays with them beyond the science classroom.

Joel is a graduate of Cornell University and has taught science at Riverside for over ten years. He also teaches physical education to middle school students, as well as serving as the seventh grade advisor. In the fall he coaches our 7th-8th grade soccer team. When not in his classroom, Joel, or "Mr. G.," can usually be found playing basketball or a strategy game. He lives in Burke with his wife and two children, both of whom have attended Riverside.

Joy Sanders: 5th Grade Classroom Teacher

BA, Emmaus Bible College

What first sparked Joy's interest in teaching was her traveling opportunities in high school. She was part of teams doing service work in Alabama and then further abroad in West Africa, where she saw the opportunity to serve and challenge others young people more clearly than ever. She pursued this dream through her studies at Emmaus Bible College, earning a degree in Elementary Education and minoring in Counseling/Psychology. Joy culminated her academic study during in a 4-month student teaching placement at an international school in Nairobi, Kenya. There she was able to put into practice the management techniques necessary to foster learning in a diverse classroom group (14 countries were represented in her class of 20). Joy also discovered her personal style as a teacher, inspiring learning creatively through active, authentic, real-life projects. 

Joy began teaching at Riverside soon after returning home and has enjoyed being back in beautiful Vermont working as a part of our supportive staff team with energetic 5th grade learners. A journey through the class year with Joy's fifth graders might include castle building, debates between teams of peers on a current events issue, or holding a mock Vermont town meeting. Intermixed with the hands-on learning projects are many opportunities for students to develop their literacy skills and problem solving reasoning. Joy's value of differentiation makes her classroom a place where each student is supported in growth as an individual. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys a Vermont country life of hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing with friends and family near her family farm.

Erin Glocke: 4th Grade Classroom Teacher

BS, Penn State College

Erin's background is in summer camps and environmental education, where she quickly learned of her love for working with youth. She recently graduated from Penn State College with a degree Childhood and Early Adolescent Education, and came across Riverside’s website during her senior-year job search. She says, “I knew Riverside was a unique place and that I wanted to be a part of it. The immediate pull was pictures of students learning outside.The more I learned about Riverside, the more I loved it.  Ultimately, I was attracted to the position because of the strong community feel and because of the flexibility allowed for teachers. It is so rare that teachers have so much say in what type of work they want their students to do, and while it can sometimes be overwhelming to have so much freedom for choice, it is ultimately a special opportunity.” Erin says that in her first month as a full-time teacher she has been both challenged by the work and supported by the community. “Riverside is proving to be a wonderful place to grow as a teacher.”

Erin loves to spend time in the outdoors: hiking, biking, and kayaking.  She also appreciates venturing into new things, and so looks forward to learning more about outdoor pursuits in the Northeast Kingdom: mountain biking and skiing.  She knows her students will be there to help her learn!

Alice Lee: 2nd-3rd Grade Classroom Teacher

BS, Lyndon State College

When you enter Alice Lee’s 2nd-3rd grade room at Riverside you immediately recognize that you are surrounded by learning.  The walls are covered in the daily work of math jobs, or craft projects hang from the ceiling, and bulletin boards show off student writing.  Students work at small tables, and get lots of individual attention from their teacher Alice Lee. At times the room transforms itself during a thoroughly integrated unit about the rainforest or the ocean. “Allee’s” soft spoken, calm but firm nature, as well as her organization and attention to detail help young Riversiders quickly build skills and become budding scholars.  Her creativity and artistic abilities guide their imaginations and nurture their joy of learning.  Her students enjoy exciting, integrated learning that happens through her guidance.

“Allee” joined the Riverside faculty in 2003, bringing a wealth of experience and resources. She is proud of her Kingdom roots, having grown up among the farms in Danville and graduated from Lyndon State College with a degree in Elementary Education.  In her early career, Alice worked in a variety of schools including a one-room school house, later she was a staff person at a local non-profit organization.  She has three boys of her own and has facilitated many community activities for children of all ages. 

Sarah Broome: 2nd-3rd Grade Assistant Teacher, 2nd-3rd Grade Wellness Teacher

BS, Springfield College

Sarah is a Northeast Kingdom girl with deep roots in this community. She attended elementary school in the Arlington district of St. Johnsbury and St. Johnsbury Academy. I have been married for thirty years and has four children. Riverside has been in her heart since 2001 when her eldest daughter, Amy '03 was a student. Her son, Addison graduated in 2015. Sarah enjoys playing trivia, fishing and riding in military jeeps.

Heidi Toney: Kindergarten-1st Grade Classroom Teacher


B.S. Keene State College; M.Ed Southern New Hampshire University

Upon entering Heidi's classroom, you will notice walls that are covered with print from daily lessons in Math, Literacy, and Writing, as well as from student work and projects. Students are trained to work independently at various work stations, while mini-lessons take place at a table in the center of the room. During these times, you may find students playing math games, practicing words through different mediums, or wearing headphones at the listening center while they listen to books on CD. You may also find them at a reading group, a math group, and at other times at a whole class lesson on the rug. Students spend quick check-ins self assessing their work behaviors. Heidi enjoys using song, movement, and kinesthetic learning opportunities with her young students. 

Heidi grew up in the Northeast Kingdom town of Peacham and earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education at Keene State College. Early on, she was trained as a Reading Recovery teacher in Pymouth, NH and has spent time as a Reading Recovery teacher at different times throughout her career. As a classroom teacher, Heidi has taught mostly in Second Grade, with stints as a Preschool and Kindergarten teacher and as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher. She later earned her M.Ed. on nights and weekends through SNHU. Heidi is also trained in Leveled Literacy Intervention and Guided Reading. 

During her personal time, you can find Heidi attending football, soccer, basketball, softball, and baseball games to watch her nieces and nephews. She enjoys camping, hiking and spending time with family and friends. Heidi is newly married and loves spending time with her husband.

Heidi Jenkins Andrews: Preschool Director


BA, Lyndon State College

Heidi Jenkins Andrews, grew up in Danville and earned her Bachelor of Science In Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education at Lyndon State College. She has fourteen years of early childhood education with a focus on Preschool. 

When not working, you can find her taking walks with her 6 year old son William and her dog Tanda, gardening, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.

When entering Heidi's preschool classroom you will see children exploring the eight "Reggio Emilia" inspired centers that she has designed for discovery. This curriculum focuses on group and project work with parent involvement while the physical classroom environment acts as the third teacher.

Heidi has a personal relationship with each student and is able to discover their individual interests for appropriate curriculum development. She then integrated these themes into the subject areas.

When asked how she feels about joining our school, she replied, “I feel so honored to be here, and I’m extremely excited to collaborate with the outstanding staff and to work with children and families of The Riverside School Community. This is an amazing school, and I’m excited to develop an enriching environment for three, four, and five year old children.”

Dianah Hale: Preschool Assistant Teacher

BA, Johnson State College

With a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and licensed in the state of Vermont: Kindergarten - Grade 6 /Elementary, Pre-K - Grade 12 Literacy, and a Provisional License in Early Education; Dianah finds joy in preparing children for elementary success.  She has over 25 years experience working with young children.  She has a great passion for early literacy which shows in the classroom.  She believes children learn best when they feel loved and secure, in an educationally stimulating environment which encourages natural curiosity.  

Dianah is excited to be part of the Riverside Community with the ability to watch children grow through the years.  “The staff camaraderie is wonderful.  They are such a caring group of professionals.”  

Outside the classroom, Dianah enjoys spending time with her family.  Hiking and camping are just two of her favorite ways to do this.