Professional Learning & Support

VPA Winter Symposium, January 29th & 30th

Winter in Vermont is so beautiful, but nothing compares to Winter at the Woodstock Inn. Join the VPA and the Center for Creative Leadership for rejuvenating, engaging, and meaningful professional learning. The VPA is bringing you a new cozy winter event with the Winter Symposium at the beautiful Woodstock Inn.

  • Who: The target audience is school leaders, central office administrators, athletic directors, and aspiring school leaders
  • When: The evening of Sunday, January 29th & Monday, January 30th
  • Cost: $435 per participant. The cost includes 9 hours of professional learning, all related session materials, Sunday evening snacks, breakfast and lunch on Monday. The cost does not include any overnight accommodations.

Learn More and Register Here

Navigating Challenging Conversations to Improve Educational Equity

(No-Cost Webinar for Vermont Educational Leaders)

December 13: 2022 from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

With Kate England of Insight Education Group

Target Audience: Board Members, School District Leaders, Building Leaders

Districts and schools are striving to improve equitable opportunities, access, and outcomes for all students. As school board members and district and school leaders, there has never been a more critical time to lead this work. Many times, this means having the skills to navigate challenging conversations with stakeholders at all levels of our organizations.

Webinar participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Learn about specific tools to navigate conversations successfully
  • Practice using tools to work through scenarios
  • Learn from colleagues who are facing similar challenges
  • Share experiences and ask questions of the facilitators and each other

This webinar will be limited to the first 100 participants. 

Please only register if you are able to attend the live session. The presentation portion of the webinar will be recorded for those who are unable to attend. 

Participants who register for this webinar will be asked to submit scenarios that they have faced in their work in education related to equity and inclusion. These scenarios will be used to shape the content and experience of the workshop. Information collected in the following form is for planning purposes only. Your information will remain anonymous.

Registration and Pre-Questions (Registration Deadline: November 29)

(This is not a zoom registration. The first 100 registrants will receive zoom access ahead of the webinar.) 

Step Up to Conflict: 1/2 Day Workshop for Vermont School Athletic Directors

Date: 2/8/23

The Step Up to Conflict workshop was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) in collaboration with the Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute, a valued partner of CCL for over 30 years. We believe that: 

  • Conflict is inevitable: When people work together they bring differing perspectives, opinions and motives that can lead to conflict.
  • Conflict is not always bad: Many conflicts — when handled properly — can create an atmosphere of creativity and innovation.
  • Conflict management skills can be learned: While natural ability is helpful, we know these skills can be effectively developed and improved.
  • Mobilizing reframes boundaries to develop community.
  • Weaving interlaces boundaries to advance interdependence.
  • Transforming cross-cuts boundaries to enable reinvention.

Time: 8:30am to 12:30pm

Location: VSBIT Conference Room in Berlin, VT. 

Target Audience: Vermont School Athletic Directors, all coaches, officials, and Vermont educators are welcome as well. 

Cost: $200 per participant, includes materials, refreshments, and lunch 

Registration Deadline: 1/30/23

Registration Link

Ongoing Offerings

Half-Day, Center for Creative Leadership Workshops

Thanks to the VPA Waddington Leadership Initiative, the VPA is able to offer 7 additional workshops to VPA member organizations. The overall cost of these workshops for VPA member organizations is reduced by more than half. Vermont schools and districts can learn more and schedule any of the below listed half day workshops here:

  • Leading People Through Change
  • Influence-The Business of Getting Things Done
  • Feedback That Works
  • Step Up to Conflict
  • Direction, Alignment, Commitment
  • Boundary Spanning, Turning Boundaries Into Frontiers
  • Learning Agility: Unlock the Lessons of Experience

Half-Day Effective Learning Environment Practices Workshop

This workshop focuses on the development of effective classroom management and teaching reflective practices. Some educators struggle with unwanted student behaviors that impact the opportunity for a safe and healthy learning environment. This workshop focuses on strategies for educators that build  high expectations and real time support for unwanted student behavior. This workshop focuses on strategies that build strong relationships with students while holding students accountable for high expectations which ultimately alleviates unwanted behaviors. 

Participants will learn how to:

  • Teach and facilitate shared expectations along with teaching content
  • Develop classroom norms, procedures and process to ensure a positive learning environment
  • Discipline, not punish, as necessary in a way that affirms student dignity 
  • Provide feedback to students on behavior using the SBI research method
  • Learn the 7 C’s of classroom Climate
  • Utilize the zone of proximal development to make sure students are engaged
  • Design the physical learning environment in a student-friendly manner

Contact: Jay Nichols at for more details and cost structure


The staff absolutely loved the session! They really appreciated the energy and the positivity. They also really liked how they got some practical ideas.  At least two staff members rearranged their rooms from the activity we did. Many folks came up to me afterwards to say that it was a great session.”  -Erika Schneider, Director, Hartford Area Career and Technology Center

“Not only was the content “spot-on”, but the delivery, tone and pace was just what we were looking for. Frankly, I thought it was one of the best we’ve had here for our staff in some time.” -Scott Farnsworth Assistant Director Hartford Area Career & Technology Center

Better Conversations Every Day (Full Day Workshop)

The VPA has worked closely with the Center for Creative Leadership to be able to offer Better Conversations Everyday to Vermont educators. Nearly 200 Vermont educators have already had the chance to experience this capacity building, highly engaging and effective one day workshop. View more information here, and inquire directly with Mike ( or Jay ( for costs and open dates.

Waddington Leadership Initiative Cohorts w/Center for Creative Leadership

The Waddington Leadership Initiative is currently enrolled through cohorts 11 and 12. We will alert members when additional opportunities and cohorts are opened.  Cohorts 13 and 14 are currently getting underway. Read More on the Cohorts

VPA Podcast

The VPA has podcast series with a growing number of episodes. Check out the descriptions and listen here. Now available on Apple Podcasts.

VPA School Visits

Members of the VPA staff welcome the chance to visit our members in their schools. We can get to know one another better, hear from members directly, and see schools in action. We also can highlight some of the great work happening around the state. If you are interested in having VPA staff visit you school, feel free to fill out this form.

VPA Videos

The VPA is building a library of videos that can be accessed. Some are free webinars and others are professional learning opportunities that have a fee. You can review the options and learn more at VPA Videos.

Ongoing Support Offerings

VPA Zoom Drop In Meetings

Check VPA-Leads weekly newsletter for the zoom links and notes. We have been offering zoom drop-in meetings for school leaders since Mid-March 2020. We recommend blocking a time in your calendar and join when you are able. Open to all VPA members.

  • 9am on Mondays focuses on High Schools
  • 9am on Thursdays focuses on Middle Schools
  • 9am on Fridays focuses on Elementary Schools
  • 9am on the 4th Wednesday of the month focuses on New School Leaders
  • 9am on Wednesdays focuses on Athletic Directors

Mentoring and Mentor Training

The VPA offers three mentor training dates per year to keep current mentors up-to-date and to invite new mentors into the mentoring program. The VPA also helps match new school leaders in Vermont with mentors. (read more & registration). 

Member Affinity Spaces

“A Place of Our Own”- Affinity Group for Vermont Administrators of Color (VPA member benefit)

 “Just a quick note to thank you for your leadership with the VPA Affinity Group for Leaders Of Color.  It was, by far, one of the most supportive, inspiring, and informative 90 minutes I’ve ever had in my professional career.  We’re talking top 2-3 here- and my career is 28 years old. I am truly grateful to you.” (VPA Affinity group member)

Our group provides an opportunity for BIPOC administrators, working in predominantly white schools to come together and share experiences, learn from and support each other through our triumphs and challenges. The sharing of stories, experiences, ideas, successes and lots of laughter, provide a place for healing and growth that allows for racial equity transformation. Additionally our affinity group has become a wonderful place to network, make state-wide connections and as well as  providing leadership and guidance on issues of educational equity.

The group is facilitated by Bonnie Johnson-Aten, long-time educator in Vermont and currently Principal at Edmunds Elementary School, with support from Kevin Robinson, Integrated Arts Academy Principal.  We will generally meet virtually once a month, with quarterly in-person gatherings.We hope you will consider joining us.


Bonnie Johnson-Aten

“A Place of Our Own” An Affinity group for LGBTQIA+ Administrators (A VPA member benefit)

“I want to share with you that during a segment of our Leadership Team meeting, I ended up finally “outing” myself to all my district colleagues. I share this with you because the confidence, level of social-emotional safety, and security I have been experiencing as a result of being in the affinity group paved the way for this to happen today.  I was able to leave day one of this week-long meeting feeling more empowered and secure in my own inner truth than I have in my last two years.”  (VPA Affinity group member)

Our group provides an opportunity for LGBTQIA+ administrators and athletic directors, to come together and share experiences, learn from and support each other. The sharing of stories, experiences, ideas, successes, challenges, and lots of laughter, provide a safe and secure place. We have found that similar issues come up, no matter where we work in Vermont. Additionally, our affinity group has become a wonderful place to network and make state-wide connections, as well as provide leadership and guidance on LGBTQIA+ issues.

The group is facilitated by Kevin Dirth, former Superintendent of the Maple Run Unified Schools and long-time educator in Vermont. We generally meet virtually once a month and hope to occasionally meet in person several times a year. We hope you will consider joining us.

Kevin can be contacted at:

Direct One-to-One Support

  • As one part of VPA member benefits, members can reach out directly to the VPA for an initial consultation on any given challenge in real-time.

Leading Vermont Schools, Cohorts

  • This program is focused on relatively new and new to Vermont principals and assistant principals. It is a cohort model course that meets once a month. In person and hybrid options are available. If you are new or relatively new please consider signing up. If you know of a new leader please share this information with them. For more information you can read the 2022-23 brochure here and you could email me with any questions. Jay Nichols,

Vermont Employee Assist Program

  • INVEST EAP, The Employee Assistance Program offers help and support for you and the members of your household for a wide range of issues including

Support At the National Level

National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS)

  • Resources and support on all kinds of sorts of related rules and issues, The NFHS is the body that writes the rules of competition for most high school sports and activities in the United States. Most high schools, whether public or private, belong to their state’s high school association; in turn, each state association belongs to the NFHS. Over 17,000 high schools belong to associations that are members of the NFHS.

National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Leadership Networks

  • NASSP is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. NASSP’s (National Association of Secondary School Principals) Leadership Networks are collaborative spaces for school leaders to share similar lived experiences, passions, and interests so we can connect with each other on a personal and professional level. All networks meet monthly for one hour.

National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

  • As a national organization, NAESP operates through a network of affiliated associations in every state, the District of Columbia, Canada, and overseas.