Michelle Ralston: Head of School, Mathematics


Education:  University of Hartford, BS in Mathematics; M.Ed. St. Michael’s College

Years at Riverside: 3

Teaches:  Algebra 1

Serves as: Head of School

Why Riverside? “ For years, I watched Riverside graduates come to St. Johnsbury Academy as prepared students and self - assured young people.  From a distance, I have admired those graduates and commended the school. More recently, I have felt the enthusiasm my two grandsons have for their school, Riverside.  I became certain that it was a place for me to transform my career. I could not be happier with my choice”.

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

Krystal Ingalls : Front Office, Director of Finance and Operations

Experience:  20 years of bookkeeping and financial experience.

Years at Riverside: 8

Serves as:  Director of Operations; Business Manager; Auction Coordinator

Why Riverside?” I love working at Riverside because I have many opportunities to step away from my desk and involve myself with students and learning activities.

Personal: Krystal lives with her husband, Chris and two daughters in West Glover.  She is a dedicated supporter of the Northeast Kingdom Skating Club and enjoys being active in her free time with weight training.   

Suzanne Tanner: Art

Education:  Kutztown State University; BFA in Graphic Design

Years at Riverside: 27

Teaches:  art to grades PreK through 8

Why Riverside? “Many years ago Bob Gessner, the math teacher at that time, invited me to graduation. I was impressed by the eighth  grade class speeches and their delivery with such poise and confidence.  I realized then that this was a school community that I wanted to be part of”.

Personal: Suzanne grew up all over the United States, traveling with her military family.  In 1993, she settled with her own family in Danville.  Suzanne is an artist as well as an educator, creating handmade paper, sculpting sheets into intricate paper imagery, and weaving blankets.  She loves to garden, tandem mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

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


Education: Colby College, BS; Antioch University, M.Ed in integrated learning.

Years at Riverside: 13

Teaches: Middle school Spanish and 8th grade World Issues and Current Events

Serves as:  Director of Co-Curricular Programs; 6th Grade class Advisor

Why Riverside?” I am glad to be part of the small community at Riverside, a place where she sees students truly engaged in their learning”.

Personal:  Nelia lives in a historic home in KIrby with her husband, Dave, daughter, Cora, and two beloved labradors.

Nathan Gair: Spanish, Latin

Education: BA, Dartmouth College

Years at Riverside: 4

Teaches: Latin, Spanish, Ancient History

Why Riverside? “I like teaching at Riverside because of my fond memories of going to school here, the students’ high level of engagement, and the extremely supportive culture.”

Personal:  In his free time Nathan enjoys music and theater.  He plays the trumpet; chess; and a game called "Cosmic Wimpout".  He also enjoys skiing and making quesadillas.

Peter Sahlin: English, American & Ancient History, Drama

BA, Harvard College

Education: Harvard College; AB in English and American Language and Literature

Years at Riverside: 16

Teaches: Middle School English, 6th Grade Ancient History, 7th  Grade American History

Serves: as the 8th Grade Advisor

Why Riverside?  “I was struck by the engagement of the students, the strong relationships between students of disparate ages, and the joyful attitude toward education I found in all Constituencies”

Personal:  Peter plays golf and keyboards. Peter and his wife  live in Fairlee with their puppy, Daphne.

Joel Gilbert: Science, Grades 6 - 8 Science Teacher/Consultant and Guest Science Teacher for Grades K - 5

BS, Cornell University

Education:  Cornell University; BS in Science

Years at Riverside: 16

Teaches: PreK-8 Science

Serves: as the 7th Grade Advisor

Why Riverside? “I chose Riverside because of the environment of curiosity and love of learning in the community”

Personal: Joel lives in East Burke with his wife, son, Jim ‘15 and daughter, Aurora ‘18

His hobbies include martial arts, sports, and strategy games

Alice Lee: 3rd Grade Classroom Teacher

Education: Lyndon State College, B.S. Elementary Education

Years at Riverside:  16

Teaches:  Grade 3

Why Riverside? “We chose each other.  I was drawn to the small size, the ability to know everyone, the parent involvement and the support for both the children and the teachers who teach them. I appreciate the high expectations the school has for its students”.

Personal:  Allee lives with her husband in Lyndonville and has three sons and a granddaughter. She also spoils four pets: Bertie, Ernie, Sid, and Simon.  Alee loves reading and crafting.

Sarah Broome: Wellness and PE Teacher for Grade K - 3

Education: Springfield College, B.S. Human Services- Concentration Early Childhood Education

Years at Riverside: 6

Teaches: K-3rd grade Physical Education and Wellness Teacher  

Serves as:  Instructional and Administrative Assistant

Why Riverside? “Riverside has been in  my heart since 2001 when my eldest daughter, Amy ‘03 was a student.  My son, Addision graduated in 2015.

Personal: Sarah enjoys playing trivia with her friends and daughters, fishing with her son, and riding in military jeeps with her husband

Heidi Toney: Kindergarten Classroom Teacher


Education: Keene State College, B.S. in Early Childhood Education; Southern New Hampshire University, Masters

Years at Riverside: 4

Teaches: Kindergarten

Why Riverside? “ I chose Riverside for the friendliness of the students, faculty, and staff.  I was also drawn to Riverside because of its close-knit family feel and community centered commitment”.

Personal:  Heidi is a Northeast Kingdom native, having grown up in the town of Peacham. She now lives in Waterford with her husband, Paul and 4 dogs. Heidi has twin stepdaughters, Ashley and Chelsey.  Heidi enjoys finding a variety of things to do with family and friends, from hiking, to paint nights, to having dinner, to watching sports and movies.  She also enjoy various types of bands, musicals, and comedians!

Heidi Jenkins Andrews: Preschool Director


Education: Lyndon State College, BS in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education

Years at Riverside: 3

Teaches: Preschool

Serves as:  Director of the Preschool Program

Why Riverside? “I feel so honored to be here and I am 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 am excited to develop an enriching environment for three, four, and five year old children’.

Personal: Heidi enjoys taking walks with her son, William, gardening, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Dianah Hale: Preschool Assistant Teacher

Education: Johnson State College; B.S.

Years at Riverside: 3

Teaches: Teaching Assistant in Preschool

Why Riverside?  “I have an opportunity to watch children grow through the year.  I especially enjoy seeing the children that were once my preschoolers, helping other young children on campus”.

Personal: Dianah enjoys spending time with her husband, four children and 4 grandchildren.  She enjoys hiking and camping.


Lydia Ham: Music

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Education:  Messiah College, B. Music Composition; minor in TESOL( Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Years at Riverside: 2

Teaches:  chorus, instrumentals to Grades PreK through 8

Why Riverside? “ I am delighted to begin my teaching career as part of the well-known Riverside Community”.

Personal:  Lydia lives in Sheffield with her family, pets, and a herd of goats

Deandra Early: Middle School Math

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Education: Colby College; BA in Biology with a concentration in environment science; minor in mathematics; Antioch University New England; MEd for Experienced Educators, Educating for Sustainability

Years at Riverside: 2

Teaches:  Middle School Math

Why Riverside? “ The character of the students is what drew me to Riverside. When I substituted here, I was struck by how kind, engaged, and self-aware the students are. The community is like none I have come across before and I am thrilled to be part of such a special school”.

Personal: Deandra enjoys mountain biking, backcountry skiing, traveling, and, most of all, spending time with her husband and two young children on their land where they are working to create a small self-sufficient family farm.

Monica Pineda: Middle School Spanish

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Education: Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, B.S. in Psychology

Years at Riverside: 2

Teaches: Middle School Spanish

Why Riverside? “I have chosen to work at Riverside because I love the small school and close community.  I enjoy the small classes and the way that teachers bring their own experience and passion to their lessons.  I have enjoyed seeing how the kids interact with each other.  They are helpful to each other’.

Personal: Monica lives in South Kirby with her husband and dog, Match. Her favorite hobby is spending time with them.

Lauren Belknap: 2nd Grade

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Education:  Lyndon State College, BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education

Years at Riverside:  2

Teaches: Grade 2

Why Riverside? “I chose Riverside because I value the sense of community, the small class sizes, and the out of the box learning opportunities for my students.  Riverside is truly a special place”.

Personal:  Lauren enjoys yoga, grilled cheese sandwiches, and the mountains of Vermont

Pam Laferriere: 1st Grade


Education: Lyndon State College;  B.S. Elementary Education;  Trinity College; MA

Years at Riverside:  2

Teaches: Grade One

Why Riverside? “I fell in love with Riverside on the very first day of school working with the8th graders on their day or orientation.  The commitment to foster a sense of responsibility, commitment and leadership with these students is extraordinary.  I am honored to be part of this experience”.

Personal: Pam loves to read, cook, and learn new forms of art.  She enjoys working on her new home in Burke and spending time with her children and grandchildren”.

Laryssa Fortier, 4th Grade Classroom Teacher


Education: Keene State College, BS in Elementary Education and Psychology

Years at Riverside: First Year

Teaches:  4th grade teacher

What grade you will be teaching: Grade 4 

Why Riverside? “I was drawn to Riverside because of its emphasis on building a strong community where individual interests and learning styles are valued by all faculty, parents, and fellow students. The freedom in curriculum design and implementation, as well as the small class sizes, that an independent school setting allows is refreshing. To find a school that shares my values, in one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, is a dream come true.”

Personal: When not at school, you can find Laryssa spending time outside either horseback riding, hiking with her dog Max, mountain biking, and swimming. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and cooking. 

Carmenza Montague: Spanish in Grade K - 5

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Education: Universidad Externado de Colombia; M.S. in international business and trade Universidad Politecnico Grancolombiano, B.S. in marketing and advertising

Years at Riverside: 2

Teaches: Spanish in Grade K - 5

Why Riverside?” Nowadays life would be hard to imagine without all the fun and warmth I receive from this school community”

Personal:  Carmenza lives with her husband and two young children in Burke Hollow. She enjoys mountain biking, skiing, knitting, sewing, and the colors of fall.

Hanna Galinat: 5th Grade Classroom Teacher


Education: Oberlin College, BA in English/ Creative Writing, minor in Environmental Studies; Antioch University New England, M.Ed. in science education

Years at Riverside: First year at Riverside

Teaches: 5th grade

Why Riverside?: The emphasis on outdoor and project based learning and the sense of community spoke to me. 

Personal: Hanna and her family are fixing up a farm in Peacham, VT and raising two wonderful little boys. When they're not busy taking care of cows, their draft horse, or chickens, you can find Hanna and the fam playing outside or making yummy messes in the kitchen. She also enjoys reading, felting, and romping around the hills of Vermont.