Allison Caldwell, Co-Director and Middle School Teacher

Allison is a graduate of Wheaton College, Norton, MA. She completed a yearlong teacher internship at The Prospect School and Center for Research and Education, in North Bennington, VT. She received her MA from Goddard College. She taught in public school, at The Prospect School, and The Southshire Community School. While Associate Director of Hubbard Hall Projects, in Cambridge, NY, she developed a Children’s Theater program. In 2000 she and her husband moved from Southern Vermont to Montpelier, where she began work as supervisor of teachers at Turtle Island Children’s Center, where she met Lottie and Shawnee. River Rock School began as part of TI but became independent in 2007, and she and Shawnee began their careers as Co-Directors. She has taught the Middle School program for the past five years.

Shawn Perry, Co-Director and Elementary School Teacher

Shawn has been working with elementary school aged children since 1992, at Turtle Island Children's Center and River Rock School. She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Johnson State College with a specialized focus and certification in reading instruction for grades K-12, with post-graduate course work through Trinity College and St. Michael's College, and intensive seminars at Dartmouth College in the study of Reggio Emilia, focusing on emergent curriculum and curriculum design.

Shawnee spent over a decade working during summers with high school students in the Upward Bound Program, and taught integrated high school coursework in biology, English composition and creative writing. Other teaching experience includes working with migrant children through the Vermont Rural Education Project and volunteering for the Adult Basic Education organization.

Shawnee's strengths include teaching conflict resolution skills. Her patience, creativity and genuine respect of children provide a uniquely supportive and safe environment through which students can explore the often difficult techniques of compromise and negotiation. She brings a love of the "Old Arts" into the classroom, including storytelling, baking, gardening and weaving. Shawnee believes that learning is a lifelong experience and strives to instill respect and value in all aspects of a child's daily being.

Board of Directors

Allison Caldwell, Director

Shawn Perry, Director

Ruth Ann Sullivan, Chair

Elly Wood, Immediate Past Chair

Gregg Punchar, Treasurer

Jen Pia-Needleman, Secretary

Les Birnbaum


Advisory Board Members

Gina Ritscher