Photo: Harwood graduate Katarina Lisaius (left) and Harwood student Lili Platt discuss the future of education at a conference for teacher leaders in Hanover, NH.

Locals organize and present at conference elevating and celebrating teacher leadership

On Saturday, April 7, teachers from all over Vermont and New Hampshire came together at the Hanover Inn for a conference known as ECET2 (Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching). ECET2 NH/VT is organized by current and former Vermont and New Hampshire Teachers of the Year, including Warren Elementary School teacher Katie Sullivan, and sponsored in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The invitation-only conference was for teacher leaders identified by their principals as inspiring or aspiring leaders in their schools, districts and/or states. It is a local celebration dedicated to embracing passion and expertise through providing high-quality, relevant professional development.

This year, the theme of the conference was Teaching Today, Inspiring Tomorrow and featured a panel discussion that included two local panelists, Katarina Lisaius (Harwood 2007) and Lili Platt (Harwood 2020) both from Warren. The other members of the panel consisted of New Hampshire’s commissioner of education, a member of the VT State Board of Education, a New Hampshire high school senior, the assistant dean of the UVM College of Education, and the superintendent of the Barre Supervisory Union.

Lisaius is an outreach representative for Senator Bernie Sanders. Working for the senator for five years, she has focused on education and workforce development. Born and raised in Warren, she said attending Vermont’s public schools helped prepare her for public service. She graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a degree in political science. She discussed some of the education issues that Senator Sanders is currently focusing on including making college free for lower income students.

Platt is a sophomore at Harwood Union High School. She is committed to helping teachers and students create equal opportunities in classrooms. She is part of the team working with students and their teacher to implement the Harkness pedagogy in classrooms. In 2017 she launched the Harwood International Refugee Club, which has raised close to $3,000 to support refugee causes locally and internationally. She discussed her participation in the Harkness protocols at Harwood and also suggested that high schools should provide more opportunities for students to learn in ways that are outside of traditional areas of study, such as internships.

ECET2 NH/VT was co-organized by Sullivan of Warren Elementary School and was attended by Heidi Ringer of Warren Elementary School and Rachael Potts of Harwood Union. The conference was also cosponsored by Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom.