reading books to children raising hands

What do you want to teach?

At Saint Michael's, you can major in:

  • Elementary Education 
  • Secondary Education
  • Art Education 
  • Education Studies
Students completing majors in Art Education, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education automatically complete the courses for licensure.

Whichever you choose, you’ll have a breadth of opportunities, materials, experiences and professional mentoring that places our education program with the most highly regarded in the region among professional educators.

The mission of the Education Programs at Saint Michael's College is to contribute to the advancement of culture through education, with an emphasis on creativity, curiosity, contemplation, collaboration, reflection and social justice.

Our program gives you real world experience from Day 1.

  • You will have opportunities to visit classrooms in local schools to observe and learn from master teachers, and to teach alongside them.
  • You will prepare instructional materials, teach small and large group lessons and network with teachers.
  • You will work in school and community placements beginning in your first education class including local elementary and secondary schools, at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, COTS (Committee for Temporary Shelter), Winooski Community Center Refugee Resettlement Programs, or Burlington Boys and Girls Club, among many other places.
  • Our education program will help you develop the values and skills to teach all learners. You will become confident in meeting the diverse learning needs reflected in today's classrooms.
  • We model the same active methods and participatory techniques you will need to use in the field. We show you how to teach using the latest software and hardware, math manipulatives, SMART Boards and more.
  • We give you easy access to curriculum materials to incorporate into your lesson planning.

To complement the practical experiences, Education majors can expect to tap into and expand their creativity as well. Faculty incorporate a variety of approaches to teaching, learning and assessment into Education courses as a way to model best educational practices. For example, in Social Studies and the Arts, students use drama, music and movement to inform their understanding of history, culture and the arts as knowledge themselves. 

You will have multiple opportunities to teach students with a variety of characteristics including students from other countries and students with disabilities. Your experiences in the schools will increase in both time and responsibilities until you are student teaching full-time for one semester.

Valerie Bang-Jensen, EdD

Professor of Education

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Saint Edmund's Hall 320
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Teachers College, Columbia University MA, M.Ed., Ed.D
Smith College, A.B.

Areas of Expertise:

Children's Literature, Nonfiction, Literacy

Courses I Teach:

Digging Down to the Roots : The Meaning of Gardens (first-year seminar)
Literature for Children and Adolescents
Making Meaning: Content Area Literacy
Student Teaching Seminar
Nonfiction in the Elementary Classroom (Graduate)

Claudine Bedell, EdD

Associate Professor of Education, Director of Graduate Education

Contact Professor Bedell

Saint Edmund's Hall 304
Box 281
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Ed.D. Indiana University
M.Ed. Saint Michael's College
B.S. Purdue University

Courses I Teach:

  • Adolescent Development for undergraduates
  • Classroom Assessment Design and Practice
  • Student Teaching Seminar for graduate students
  • The Decision to Teach

I also supervise student teachers in the field.

Mary Beth Doyle, PhD

Professor of Education

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Saint Edmund's Hall 317
Box 281
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Ph.D., University of Minnesota: Educational Psychology
MA, State University College of New York at Buffalo: Special Education with Specialty in Severe Disabilities
B.S., State University College of New York at Buffalo: Elementary and Special Education

Areas of Expertise:

Curriculum design supporting students with moderate and severe disabilities in inclusive classroom communitites. Curriculum modification and design. Training and use of paraprofessional staff.

Courses I Teach:

  • Approaches to Teaching Students with Special Education Needs
  • Assistive Technology: Creating Access
  • Designing Instructional Programs with Students with Disabilities
  • Implementing and Evaluating Programs for Students with Disabilities
  • Peace and Justice Student Teaching Supervision
  • Teaching in Inclusive Middle and High School Classrooms

Daniel French, EdD

School Leadership Program Coordinator

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Box 281
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Ed.D. University of Vermont
M.Ed. Plymouth State University
Honors Diploma, Defense Language Institute
B.A. University of Connecticut

Areas of Expertise

Dan is an experienced Vermont educational leader whose research interests are focused on various dimensions of educational systems change including ethics and leadership, board governance, Policy Governance, innovation, and Open Education. He is frequently consulted by school districts and policy makers on issues surrounding the impact of technology on the future of education.

Courses I Teach

  • From Assessment Into Action: Using Data to Transform Schools
  • School Leadership
  • Legal and Financial Management of Schools

Kristin Gehsmann, EdD

Associate Professor of Education, Coordinator of the Master's in Reading Program
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Ed.D. University of Vermont
B.S., M.S. Central Connecticut State University

Dr. Kristin Gehsmann is an Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Master’s in Literacy Concentration at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT.  A former elementary school teacher and PreK-12 literacy consultant, Dr. Gehsmann teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy development, assessment, instruction, and intervention.

Dr. Gehsmann conducts her research in culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse communities, often focusing on bringing research-based best practices to scale through ongoing, job-embedded professional development.  Her research also explores ways to address achievement differences between students of different backgrounds.  Some her research has been featured on the “What do we know about the achievement gap?” website of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and has been published in books, peer reviewed journals, blogs, and newspapers. 

Dr. Gehsmann enjoys working with graduate and undergraduate students on their own research.  For example, in the summer of 2014, she worked with Shelby Knudson, class of 2015, on a project entitled, Narrowing the Literacy Achievement Gap: Increasing Third and Fourth Grade Boys’ Motivation to Read. This project was one of 60 selected from a field of over 500 to be featured in the Council for Undergraduate Research’s “Posters on the Hill” award celebration in Washington, DC. She is currently working with Megan Murray, Class of 2018, on a project entitled, The Impact of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury on College Students’ Reading, Writing, and Spelling: A Study of Common Challenges and Possible Accommodations.  

Dr. Gehsmann is active in local and regional education policy, recently serving as a consultant to the Agency of Education in Vermont on a standards revision project and several literacy steering committees throughout New England. Nationally, she advises school districts and educational consortia on “best practices” in literacy assessment, instruction, and intervention.  She currently serves on five editorial review boards: Teacher and Teacher Education; American Journal of Evaluation;; Reading and Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties; and the Journal of Literacy Research. Dr. Gehsmann has just completed her second year as Moderator of the Faculty Assembly and Chair of the Faculty Executive Committee at Saint Michael’s College. 



Aostre Johnson, Ed.D.

Professor of Education

Contact Professor Johnson

Saint Edmund's Hall 322A
Box 281
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A.B. Harvard University
M.Ed. Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ed.D. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Areas of Expertise:

My areas of specialization are curriculum and pedagogy, lifespan development, early childhood education and ethical, religious and spiritual dimensions of education. I teach courses in both the graduate and the undergraduate education departments, coordinate the graduate curriculum concentration and elementary licensure program and also direct the program on spirituality and education.

My Saint Michael's:

I like the strong sense of community at Saint Michael’s among faculty, staff and students and the atmosphere that encourages us all to talk about the ethical dimensions of education and about our sense of mission and purpose in life. As to Saint Michael’s students, I appreciate their interest in and support of each other. I like the balance that many have between respectful openness to new points of views and willingness to question them thoughtfully. I appreciate their desire to find a way to include a focus on academics with strong friendships and service.

One of my favorite classes is Pedagogy because it is a very challenging but ultimately rewarding class to teach. It is a required undergraduate elementary education class. The students must gain many skills and master many theories in order to create a month long thematic unit on a topic that interests them--and that they will some day teach. I see so much growth in most students over the semester which results in unique and interesting units that they are proud of. Another class I enjoy teaching is a graduate course on Spirituality and Education. I appreciate the diversity of perspectives that students (who are also teachers) bring to the class and the depth of class discussions as we explore many theoretical frameworks and personal interpretations. I often hear back from these graduate students that the course helped them to make changes in their classrooms that they feel are transformational in some way for their own students.

You can get a great deal of personal attention from excellent faculty members here if you want it.

James Nagle, PhD

Associate Professor of Education

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Saint Edmund's Hall 302
Box 281
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M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
J.D. Suffolk University Law School
B.A. Georgetown University

Areas of Expertise:

James is co-director of the Middle Grades Collaborative, a professional development organization serving middle school teachers throughout Vermont.  James also serves as co-editor of the Middle Grades Review, an international, peer-reviewed journal for scholars and practitioners who wish to broaden the discourse of middle grades education in the areas of democratic education, innovation, and social justice.  His research interests are new literacies, personalized learning for students and pre-service  teachers, and professional development learning networks.

Courses I Teach:

  • Academic Literacy in Content Areas
  • Approaches to Teaching in STEM Fields
  • Co-teaching Academic Literacy for STEM Fields
  • Curriculum and Instruction in Middle and High Schools
  • Educator as Researcher
  • Middle School is Not a Building
  • Organization in Middle Schools
  • Proficiency Based Learning in High Schools
  • Student Teaching Seminar in Middle and High Schools
  • Teaming in High Schools

Amy Saks Pavese

Licensure Coordinator

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Saint Edmund's Hall 310
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Ph.D. University of Colorado at Boulder
B.A., M.Ed. University of Notre Dame

Areas of expertise - Teacher identify formation

Preparing teachers to work with culturally diverse students
Educational foundations
Elementary math and science

Courses Taught

Educational Foundations
Student Teaching Seminar
Schools and Society
Student Teaching Supervision

Jonathan Silverman, EdD

Department Chair, Associate Professor of Education

Contact Professor Silverman

Saint Edmund's Hall 308
Box 281
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B.S., M.S., Ed.D. University of Vermont

Areas of Expertise:

As Coordinator of the Arts in Education program, my areas of interest are arts education, aesthetic perspectives on education, interdisciplinary curriculum, creativity and foundation. I strive to help students become “more imaginative, resourceful and critically reflective practitioners.” My philosophy is that the arts offer members of society a viable way to become knowledgeable, literate and morally responsible.

Courses I Teach:

  • Aesthetic Perspectives on Culture and Education
  • Arts: The Creative Process
  • Educator as Artist
  • Student Teaching Seminar

John Tapper , Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Elementary Education

Contact Professor Tapper

Saint Edmund's Hall 314
Box 281
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Ph.D., New York University

Areas of Expertise

Instructional approaches for supporting struggling math learners, poverty and math performance, applied social science research methods.

Courses I Teach:

ED 325 Teaching Elementary Math
ED 427 Inquiry Science Practicum

John Tapper completed his PhD in Teaching and Learning at New York University. His research includes teaching methods that support struggling math learners and the effects of poverty and race on mathematics learning. Before going to New York, John was the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Barre, Vermont. In the 1990s, he cofounded the nationally recognized Westminster Primary Program, an innovative non-graded public school in southern Vermont. John has provided professional development on topics ranging from mathematics learning to multiage teaching throughout the U.S., Eastern Europe, and Japan.

“Mathematics, in schools at least, is about opportunity,” he said. “When students are successful with math classes they can graduate high school and go on to college. My goal, regardless of whether or not students enter STEM careers, is to be sure they have access to every opportunity math affords them.”

John was an elementary classroom teacher, math curriculum coordinator and math coach for over 20 years. His teaching experiences range from the two-room elementary school in Vermont, where he began his career to his work at the Neighborhood School on the Lower East side of Manhattan. John completed his PhD in Teaching and Learning at New York University focusing his research on teaching methods that support struggling math learners and the effects of poverty on mathematics learning. He is the author of several papers on math learning and the book, Solving for Why: Understanding, Assessing, and Teaching Children who Struggle with Mathematics. Solving for Why was the winner of a 2012 Academy for Emerging Professionals Award for publications for professional development.


Amy Knight


Contact Professor Knight

Saint Edmund's Hall 316
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B.A. Speech/Language Pathology from the University of New York at Buffalo
M.A. in Special Education from the University of Maine at Orono

Areas of Expertise:

Literacy and language development for students with disabilities, dyslexia, special education practices and law, co-teaching, differentiation, inclusion

Courses I Teach:

GED 643: Instruction of K-6 students with learning challenges in language arts
GED 640: Language and Learning
ED 340: Teaching in Inclusive Elementary Classrooms
GED 661: Special Education Practicum and Seminar

Jenny Stearns, M.Ed, M.A.

Instructor, Education
View Curriculum Vitae

Contact Professor Stearns

Saint Edmund's Hall 318
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B.A., Sheffield Hallam University
M.A., Education Management, Sheffield Hallam University
M.Ed, Sheffield Hallam University

Areas of Expertise:

Early Childhood Education
Children's Play, Development and Learning
Reflective Practice in Education

Courses I Teach:

Student Teaching Seminar
Schools and Society
Educational Foundations
Child and Adolescent Development

Rebecca Wigglesworth, M.Ed.


Contact Professor Wigglesworth

Saint Edmund's Hall 306
Box 281
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B.A. Stanford University: English
M.A.T. Brown University

Areas of Expertise:

Middle and Secondary Literacy, content area reading and writing.

Courses I Teach:

  • Schools and Society
  • Middle and Secondary Literacy (graduate and undergraduate)
  • Student Teaching Supervision

Children's Books

There are over 10,000 different titles in the Children and Young Adult section of the Durick Library to assist you with curriculum planning.

Teaching Materials and Technology

You will have easy access to a rich variety of instructional resources to practice teaching in any subject area, including math manipulatives, leveled texts for teaching reading, computer hardware (including the Smartboard and iPad), software for designing lessons, Tegrity lecture capture, adaptive technology (Ablenet switches, audio output devices), and electronic portfolios.

Mentoring Children

Woven into your teacher education courses, you will have opportunities to work with school aged children in classrooms, as well as in various community venues. Our Education classes provide direct services to children and youth at:

In addition, many Education majors provide additional community service through participation in various MOVE programs working with children and youth.

Study Abroad

During your semester abroad you may study educational practices in other countries. Many of our students find opportunities to work with children in other countries and learn about the local educational systems during their semester abroad. Recently, students have found placements in Italy, England, Australia, Ghana, Ecuador and many other countries around the world.

We particularly encourage our students to extend their teaching and cultural experiences by spending the Fall or Spring semester of their junior year in the ASE program in Bath, England. One day a week you will be in a classroom that corresponds to your selected age group and subject interests. Complementing the practicum, you will actively engage in a seminar on the British educational system further preparing you for this in-school experience. By the end of the semester you will have a portfolio and evaluation from your in-school experience. You will also select from tempting liberal arts courses in literature, history, politics and art to complete your 16 credit program. Many of the seminars are taught by faculty from Oxford University and include field trips. The academic program includes residencies in Stratford and Oxford. During break you will have ample opportunity to travel and take advantage of the many cultural sites throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. 

Possible 9th Semester

Though many students finish in four years, students may choose to student teach during a ninth semester. Students who have completed ALL requirements except for student teaching and have passed Praxis I and Praxis II have the option to complete their student teaching during a ninth semester. The student may attend the commencement exercises at the end of their eighth semester, but will be recommended for licensure only after successful completion of student teaching.

For information, please contact: Jonathan Silverman, Education Department ASE Study Abroad Coordinator, x2306, or Peggy Imai, Director of Study Abroad, x2222,

After graduation, our majors go on to careers like:

  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Middle School Teacher
  • High School Teacher
  • Art Teacher
  • ESL Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Curriculum Designer
  • Principal
  • Boys and Girls Club Program Director
  • Journalist
  • Museum Educator
  • Social Worker

Many of our graduates go on to pursue a Master's in Education here at Saint Michael's.  Others have pursued advanced degrees at institutions like:

  • Boston College
  • Columbia University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Massachusetts


Student teaching provides elementary, middle, and secondary education students who are earning an education major/license the opportunity to design, implement, and evaluate instruction under the direct supervision of a licensed teacher.  This internship is the equivalent of three full courses.

Along with working in the schools, student teachers take the Student Teaching Seminar. The class examines issues raised through the student teaching experience, supports the construction of the professional portfolio required for Vermont teacher licensure, and bridges the transition from student teacher to professional practitioner. As a community of learners we address the themes of creativity, curiosity, contemplation, collaboration, reflection, and social justice through topics such as student diversity, classroom management and culture, standards-based lesson and unit planning, instructional strategies, and assessment.  We develop skills together to successfully enter the teaching profession and create a professional development trajectory.

Learn What Matters