• Helen Beattie, Executive Director

    Helen is the Executive Director of UP for Learning and the co-Founder and Director of Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together. As a licensed School Psychologist and Educational Consultant, she has specialized in strategies to engage youth in school change efforts, using survey data as a tool.

    She has co-authored a state-wide student leadership curriculum entitled, “Our Voices: Our Community” and implemented a project-based middle and high school curriculum entitled, “Lights, Camera…Leadership!”.

    Helen has facilitated numerous student leadership and faculty development retreats, taught Master’s level courses on school reform and experiential education strategies, and consulted with the Vermont Rural Partnership for the past 16 years. She has taken a leadership role in varied civic engagement, service learning, and youth voice efforts in Vermont and on a national level. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

    She is also a graduate of the Vermont Snelling Center Educational Leadership program.

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  • Mary Schell Whalen, Director

    Mary is a veteran high school history teacher who has worked extensively with student voice and participation as democratizing principles in her classroom. Working with her students, she has compiled a diverse array of experiences as participants in participatory action research projects both locally and nationally. Mary brings first hand experience and professional passion to the question of how we create and nurture meaningful student partnership within our classrooms and schools.

    She is also a recipient of a Rowland Fellowship for "Declaring Ourselves!" a action research project concerning civic engagement in the 21st Century, works in collaboration with the Community Works Institute.

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  • Bruce Perlow, Associate Director

    Bruce has worked with UP as an educational consultant, YATST school coach, and leadership team member following twelve years as a classroom teacher. As Associate Director he is involved in all aspects of UP's work including supporting and leading initiatives, working with schools as an onsite and virtual coach, collaborating with partnership organizations and state agencies, and developing curriculum, policy advocacy, and written publications.

    Bruce was first introduced to YATST at the 2011 Rowland Conference and immediately felt “awed and inspired” by the students and the work they were doing, partnering with adults to redesign their schools and their learning experiences. As a result, Otter Valley, where Bruce was a Social Studies teacher and coordinator of alternative pathways, participated in the Getting to ‘Y’ initiative, which culminated in a “wonderful and successful” community dialogue night. Bruce was then able to bring YATST to Otter Valley in the form of a credit-bearing class. Now, he draws on that experience and his work with other UP schools to help school teams realize the potential of partnering with UP. Bruce says, “It is an honor and pleasure to do this work.”

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  • Serena Franks, Operations Manager and Events Coordinator

    Serena is a Vermont native, born and raised in Central Vermont. She began her leadership roles while attending Twinfield Union School and went on to receive a degree in Sports Management from Lyndon State College. Her love and passion has always been in education and working with children. Most recently, she worked at Williamstown Elementary offering reading intervention to children in grades 3-5. Her favorite part of the job was finding creative ways for students to make real life connections to the readings to enhance their learning. One of Serena’s biggest pleasures in life is having students discover their own way of learning.

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  • Martha Rich, Leadership Team Member

    Martha Rich joins the YATST team after twenty-one years as a school leader at Thetford Academy (TA), where she worked to build a culture of trust in students. Youth-adult partnerships at TA led to nationally recognized programs in service learning, student participation in strategic planning and policy making, championship robotics teams, and new graduation standards that encourage students to take charge of their own education. As a national facilitator with the School Reform Initiative, Martha has helped TA and other schools develop strong professional communities based on shared responsibility for learning.

    Martha earned her BA degree from Wellesley College and an MAT from Wesleyan University. She began her career in Vermont education as a seventh-grade English teacher in Barre City. She then spent fourteen years on the faculty at Dartmouth College, where she taught courses in education and women’s studies and directed the secondary teacher preparation program.

    Seeking a return to the “real world” of schools, she became Head at Thetford Academy in 1991. In 2006 she was named Vermont Arts Education Advocate of the Year. In 2008 she received the VPA’s Robert F. Pierce Secondary School Principal of the Year award.

  • Peter Evans, YATST Coach & Leadership Team Member

    Over the past 35 years, Peter has taught in Vermont elementary, middle and high school settings, as well as serving as principal at each level.He earned an Ed.D. from the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services.

    Peter is on the faculty at the graduate school of the University of Vermont in Burlington, as well as Saint Michaels’ College, Colchester, Vermont, where he teaches a variety of classes to aspiring principals.

    In addition, he has represented Vermont principals on several state-wide projects including the Vermont High School Completion Task force (Act 176) and the Vermont Civic Involvement and Service Learning Advisory.

    Peter has served as president of the Vermont Principals’ Association and as a delegate to the National Leaders’ conference sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in Washington, DC. He was named Vermont Secondary Principal of the year in 2008.

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UPLogo with words FINAL 5-1-14

There is no greater power than a community discovering what it cares about. 
-Margaret Wheatley 


Listen UP

  • YATST Student Member

    The student-led faculty meeting was unlike anything I have ever seen in terms of students and teachers holding a discussion about a topic as sensitive as their teaching methods. I heard from a lot of teachers in the “go-around” that they were awestruck about what had just happened.

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East Hardwick, VT 05836

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