VPA Podcast

About: The VPA Podcast was started in the winter of 2019. Original artwork by Montpelier High School Student-Class of 2022, Lili Ecklund Gustavson. Production and editing by Mallori Longevin and music title, Fate, by FreeBeats.io. Our hosts are Mike McRaith and/or Lauren Thomas of the VPA. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

  • Sidelines Conversation – Rob Miller

    Rob Miller is a master’s Crossfit athlete, father of two and four-time cancer survivor. He grew up in South Africa playing any sport he could. His love of sports helps drive him in his career and the constant pursuit of his goals. We talked about athletes making great employees and how he uses many of his athletic endeavors in his business world.

  • Sidelines Conversation – Mike Tromello

    Mike Tromello is a man who wears many hats. When I first met him, he was the strength and conditioning coach for Harvard Westlake and assisted with their water polo team, whilst creating an incredible gym. Mike is in a constant state of growth and personal development. He coaches top CrossFit and Hydrox athletes but has also transcended back into the world of youth football coaching his son’s football team. We discuss all these things and the metamorphosis between being a collegiate football player and developing a successful gym’s climate and culture. There are nuggets of gold within this podcast, so if you’re looking for helpful tips on coaching, mindset, or developing culture and climate, this is a great listen for you!

  • Episode 19 – Dr. Wendi Williams

    In this episode, Mike talks with celebrated psychologist and educator, Dr. Wendi Williams. Dr. Williams’ career spans two decades and features important research and writing, recently becoming Provost at Fielding Graduate University, previously as the Dean of the School of Education for Mills College, and much more. 

    In her words, she “has committed her life’s work to educate clinicians, teachers, institutions, policymakers, advocates, and the general public. Her work threads the intersection of psychology and education with black women’s liberatory leadership practices by which to understand our everyday lived experiences. We talk about the inspiration she draws from the women in her family, adrienne maree brown, Octavia Butler and bell hooks, the importance of balance and being grounded in our bodies for equity leadership, the challenges around paces and modes in justice-centered leadership, and I share some of my favorite Dr. Wendi Williams quotes back to her for her to elaborate on. A head’s up that the recording ends a little abruptly as we lost track of time a bit–but as you listen to the knowledge, joy, and care that Dr. Williams brings to all of her work, including in this episode– we think you’ll be like us and want to hear more.

  • Episode 18 – Dr. Delaney Ruston of Screenagers

    In this episode we talk with filmmaker and primary care physician, Delaney Ruston. Delaney is most well known for her films, Screenagers, and Screenagers–The Next Chapter. These films have been screened widely, aired on PBS, and were at the forefront of advocacy campaigns, including with the World Health Organization. For her work in using films to build movements, Delaney has won several awards including Harvard’s McLean National Council Recognition Award and New York’s Fountain House Advocacy Award. You can learn more about her work and films at: https://www.screenagersmovie.com/

  • Sideline Conversations – Katie Tromello

    On this episode of Sideline Conversations we spoke with Katie Tromello. Katie is a licensed therapist in Southern California who works with student-athletes. As a former professional athlete, she utilizes her skills and athletic qualities in her professional life. We dug into the ideas of being perfect and how being your authentic self can be liberating.

  • Sideline Conversations – JJ Castillo

    Introducing Sideline Conversations: a podcast for those that are interested in athletics and sport. We’re hoping to connect with those who were athletes, are athletes or work with athletes, to build some connection between what athletes go through and how it connects to their life and their career. We’re looking to see how athletics connects to everyday lives and hoping that the guests we are able to cultivate and bring in can bring some insights and some revelations to many of you and maybe some connections that you also feel in your day to day life.

    My first podcast is with a former student-athlete of mine from La Quinta, California, JJ Castillo. I thought of JJ for this because he is an incredible soccer player and a first generation Mexican American. His dreams of playing professional soccer didn’t pan out but his journey evolved into working in the soccer industry in a different way! His story and outlook is so positive, give it a listen!

  • Episode 14 – Bob Johnson

    In this episode, we talk with Bob Johnson, Associate Executive Director at the Vermont Principals’ Association. We had the chance to talk to Bob on his last day at the office before retirement. Bob has worked for the VPA for the past 19 years. We hear about his early career, how the job functions and get some of his advice in the work going forward to best support all students and their communities.

  • Episode 15 – Alin Bennett – Education Reimagined

    In this episode we spoke with Alin Bennett of education reimagined. Alin is Education Reimagined’s Vice President of Practice and Field Advancement. He is a staunch advocate for national school transformation and creating an equitable education system. His previous work has included supporting curriculum development, leading advisories, and leading schools in ways that continuously advanced learner-centered, equity-based practices. Alin is based in Providence, RI where he lives with his wife and two young children.


  • Episode 13 – Joe Truss

    In this episode, we speak with Joe Truss of Truss Leadership. Joe will be a speaker and stand presenter at 2022 leadership academy. Joe is committed to dismantling white supremacy culture in schools. He is a father of 3 children and a husband of a High School History Teacher. He brings 18 years of education experience, and originally grew up in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Learn more about Joe and his current offerings at: https://culturallyresponsiveleadership.com/

  • Episode 12 – Future Design School

    In this episode, we speak with Sandra Nagy, who leads the Education Practice at Future Design School, building strong academic partnerships with school leaders that help to drive their strategic priorities through consulting support, professional development and efficacious curriculum resources. We talk with Sandra about the premise of the school, their Future of Education Report, and the how and why schools might more fundamentally reimagine the goals, design, and methods of learning to better help students be future ready. Here is the link to their upcoming, June 7th free webinar event: Understanding the Future of Education