Upper Elementary Core Teacher
Jacquie spent much of her childhood near Washington D.C. in northern Virginia. Her experience in an innovative ‘leadership’ program in high school inspired the beginnings of her interest in educational reform. She graduated from Franconia College in New Hampshire with an integrated major in literature, psychology and religion, earned her certification in elementary education, and has done graduate work in education at the University of Vermont.
Jacquie spent the first decade of her career teaching at the primary level in local public schools, serving as a statewide literacy consultant, and teaching graduate level classes to teachers in mathematics through the Center for Innovation in Education.
In 1989 Jacquie founded Red Cedar School, seeking to realize her ideal vision of a school and create an alternative that would benefit her own children and other children in the community. She started the school in her home as an experiment, and was soon joined by two close friends and educators. Red Cedar is now celebrating its 32nd year.
Jacquie’s interests and areas of study include contemporary literature, U.S. history, child psychology and social justice. She teaches language arts to the upper elementary and middle school groups. Her classes integrate social studies, literature and writing. Her focus in the school includes providing educational and community leadership.
Jacquie is an avid reader, hiker and traveler. She lives in Bristol with her husband, Marc. She loves spending time with her adult children, Ari, Lizzie, Anneka, son-in-law Dan, and grandchildren Ellis and Frankie.
Middle School Core Teacher
Brendan Collins joined Red Cedar School in 2004 after completing his graduate degree in conservation biology at Antioch University New England. A native of Massachusetts, Brendan grew up roaming the fields and woods near his house, and gained a love of birding from his father. He came to Vermont as a student at St. Michael’s College where he also played for the school’s ice hockey team, and never left.
Brendan’s prior experience includes teaching at the North Country School in the Adirondacks of New York and overseeing the gardens there. While at Antioch, Brendan became interested in Vermont’s montane bird population and the ecological impact of high elevation development and climate change. Partnering with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Brendan focused his research on the rare and globally threatened Bicknell’s Thrush. His work has helped assess the conservation status of Vermont’s avian community while informing policy makers of best practices for high elevation ski and wind turbine projects. Brendan continues to work as a conservation biologist in the summers.
Brendan brings his passion for wildlife biology and the outdoors to his science classes with the upper elementary and middle school groups at Red Cedar. His students regularly participate as “citizen scientist” in ongoing ecological research projects conducted by biologists throughout North America. Brendan’s students participate in bird banding studies, and can often be found examining the wetlands, forests and fields of Addison County. Brendan leads many projects at the school including timber frame building in the outdoor classroom, tending the school gardens, and maintaining the school’s ice rink. He regularly integrates the arts into his science and math classes, leads cooking and a variety of other workshops, and leads both wilderness and academic culture trips.
Brendan lives with his wife, Jan, and two children, Quinn and Maggie, in New Haven.
Primary Group Core Teacher
Social Studies, Math, Music
Bill was born and raised in Connecticut, and came to Vermont via Middlebury College. He graduated cum laude with a double major in history and Spanish. Bill has a Masters of Education from Vermont College. He has been a member of the Red Cedar faculty since 2005.
Before delving into the field of education, Bill supported himself as a musician, playing trumpet in bands including The New Nile Orchestra, So-Called Jazz Kwintet and Ensemble V. Playing music is still a central interest for Bill. Current projects include Ensemble V and Pantet. Bill also founded Vermont Dogsledding with his wife, Lissy. Bill worked with children in a variety of settings before coming to Red Cedar, serving as a community integration specialist, assisting in classrooms, and working with students with autism.
Bill lives in Shoreham with his wife and three children, Polly, Owen and Eliot. Bill specializes in building economical greenhouses, yurts, log cabins, small houses and barns. He and his family raise ponies, goats, hens, turkeys, beef cows, and, of course, sled dogs, and manage the forest on their land. Bill’s other interests include mountain biking, soccer, sugaring, gardening and reading.
At Red Cedar, Bill integrates all these interests and wears many hats. He leads classes that actively combine intellectual inquiry and hands-on exploration and building. He brings calm and comfort to the youngest students as their core teacher, grounds their open choice and play time, and leads their math class as well explorations in science and social studies. He teaches social studies to the upper elementary and middle school groups. He teaches an introduction to Spanish. Bill is instrumental in the on-going evolution of the outdoor classroom project. He leads wilderness trips, plays mid-day games of soccer and facilitates jazz and improvisational music groups. When not doing any of the above, Bill can usually be found with students in the work studio of his classroom or in the yurt, putting solar panels on a miniature futuristic garden city, tanning a hide, building a windmill sculpture, or creating a pulley system.
Megg Del Giacco
Elementary Core Teacher
Language Arts, Math
Megg graduated from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY as a 4 year basketball player with a major in communications and minor in political science. Upon graduation she began working for The Girl Scouts in Washington D.C. Part of her responsibilities were to design programming for girls. Her role afforded her opportunities that included leading fourteen teenagers on an expedition to the Galapagos Islands, editing The Teen Publication, and major event planning. Her passion for social reform, and enjoyment in working with the girls and their families, led her to pursue a career in education. Megg realized it was through teaching that she could make a local, lasting impact on the future, and also love what she was doing. After completing a Master’s degree in Education she worked as a 4th grade classroom teacher until her second son was born.
For the last several years, Megg has been home with her three children enjoying all the challenges, experiences and joys that come with being a full time at home parent. She stayed active as a volunteer for a variety of causes and loved every minute of it!
At Red Cedar, Megg serves as the core teacher for an elementary group. She teaches language arts for the primary and elementary groups, as well as math for the elementary group. In her spare time, Megg enjoys watching her kids do anything, being with family and friends, sewing, pottery, being on the lake, and spinning. She lives in Middlebury with her husband, Eamon, three kids, Rhys, Matty, and Maeve and their dog Dori!
Hannah Billian is a graduate student at UVM in the Masters in Leadership for Sustainability program. The focus of her studies is at the confluence of education, social justice, and land stewardship. She joined Red Cedar School as administrative coordinator in 2020.
Hannah’s undergraduate degree is in Sustainable Forestry and Biology from Warren Wilson College. After college, Hannah taught for many outdoor and environmental education programs in and around New England including the Chewonki Outdoor Classroom program and the Chewonki Wilderness Trips program. She was a Science Teaching Fellow at the Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki- a high school semester program for juniors, and she taught Kindergarten and Pre-K at the Juniper Hill School- a place-based, forest school in mid coast Maine. Hannah also worked directing the semester school for the Kroka Expeditions Semester Program in southern New Hampshire. In this position, she both ran the program and served as a lead guide on countless wilderness expeditions, including multi-month self supported backcountry ski expeditions in northern Quebec. She still works part time for Kroka in a development capacity, and as a mountain bike programs lead instructor. Hannah is also an avid cyclist and mountain bikepacking guide and she holds certification as a professional mechanic from the United Bicycle Institute in Oregon. Hannah currently serves on the board at Earthwalk Vermont. Hannah spends most afternoons and evenings out on her gravel or mountain bikes, getting to know the plants and critters she pedals past while watching the seasons turn from behind her handlebars.
Hannah is a potter, basket maker, and woodworker, and enjoys getting covered in mud and wood shavings while crafting with the primary during free choice time. Hannah loves teaching natural history and botany to children of all ages, and in between supporting the school, reading to the primary and taking care of administrative tasks, Hannah most enjoys spending time out in the wind and weather of the outdoor classroom, making fires with the students and bearing witness to the magic of nature immersion.