Robyn Freedner-Maguire was named campaign director for Let’s Grow Kids in December 2014 after serving as coordinator for Vermont’s Early Childhood Alliance. She has extensive experience coordinating and engaging diverse community groups to achieve positive change on a variety of initiatives. She worked previously at the Vermont State Employees' Association (VSEA). Before joining VSEA, Robyn worked as the field director of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force where she oversaw the field campaign that gained marriage rights for same-sex couples. Robyn and her partner of 10 years, Naomi, are parents to three amazing children, Neko (6) and the twins, Luca and Aldin (4).
Contact Robyn: (802) 310-6683 | Email
Sarah grew up in a log home in the woods of Essex, Vermont. She went to St. Michael's College and then earned an MA from the University of Hawaii. On her return to Vermont she worked for then-Congressman Bernie Sanders before joining the movement to end domestic and sexual violence, working first at the Women’s Rape Crisis Center in Burlington and then doing statewide public policy regarding violence against women. She is a 2002 graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center for Government. Sarah chairs the Burlington Police Commission and serves on a number of statewide boards. She lives in the Old North End of Burlington with her partner David and tries to keep up with their eight-year-old son.
Contact Sarah: (802) 735-2205 | Email
Brian Maier joined Let’s Grow Kids in January 2017 after working in electoral and legislative politics in Vermont and around the country. He was born and raised in Middlebury and graduated from The College of Wooster with a BA in sociology. He found his organizing passion as a field staffer for the Vermont Democratic Party (VDP) in 2014, and then on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in New Hampshire and other states. Brian then returned to Vermont to help direct the VDP’s 2016 Coordinated Campaign. He has also worked as an intern for Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith and for the Vermont State Employees’ Association. Outside of work, Brian is an avid hiker and skier, and enjoys live music and fantasizing about adopting many, many dogs.
Contact Brian: (802) 448-0549 | Email
Megan Stearns grew up on Long Island, New York. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2003 with a BA in English, and subsequently studied film and television acting at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in Manhattan. After a brief stint in Hollywood, she relocated to Vermont in 2010 in search of a more "salt of the earth" sort of lifestyle. From 2010 - 2014, Megan worked at the Humane Society of Chittenden County, ultimately serving as their director of development & communications. In February 2014, a few months prior to the campaign's launch, Megan joined Let's Grow Kids as communications director. In 2015, Megan became LGK's creative director. She manages the communications team and focuses specifically on the campaign's brand identity, marketing and advertising, including market research. Outside of LGK, Megan is a graduate of the Women's Small Business Program (2015) and Leadership Champlain (2013), played a central role in crafting Burlington's new urban agriculture ordinance, originated the lead role in the Farm to Ballet Project, and works on commission as a pet portrait artist.
Contact Megan: (802) 448-2135 | Email
Jen has lived and worked in Vermont off and on throughout her life. Prior to joining Let’s Grow Kids, Jen worked in the public policy and advocacy field, most recently serving as director of public policy & advocacy with WOMEN’S WAY in Philadelphia. Jen has also worked with organizations including Amnesty International USA, The ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania and the American Cancer Society. Jen received her MS in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and her BA in Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College. Jen lives in Essex Junction with her husband, Chris, and dog, Princess Muffin, and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, going on adventures and curling up with a good book.
Contact Jen: (802) 448-4163 | Email
While studying journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, Nicole wrote feature obituaries for the Boston Globe and interviewed celebrities like John Malkovich and Tori Amos for feature stories in the university paper. Nicole worked as a newspaper reporter for weekly and daily papers before translating her love of storytelling into the world of nonprofit communications at Perkins School for the Blind, Helen Keller’s alma mater. After moving to Vermont in 2012, Nicole worked as an editor at the Burlington Free Press where she oversaw the Arts and Weekend sections of the paper before returning to nonprofit work at the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. Through her fundraising and communications work at the VNA, Nicole worked closely with the VNA Family Room Parent Child Center and developed a passion for the importance of quality early experiences for all children. Joining the LGK team in April of 2016 allowed Nicole to combine her interests in communications, storytelling and early childhood issues. Outside of LGK, Nicole loves to experiment with combining textures and colors through collage art and fashion. She also enjoys hula hoop dancing.
Contact Nicole: (802) 391-0545 | Email
Rebecca Copans joined Let’s Grow Kids in June 2016 after working with the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. For seven years, Rebecca worked in governmental affairs, public relations and communications. She made the difficult choice to leave a career she loved when her first child was born; working as a realtor allowed her to rely on child care only part-time, while juggling those extra days with the help of grandparents, babysitters and a lot of luck. A graduate of the University of Vermont and Dartmouth College, Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in political science as well as a master of arts degree. Her thesis concentration was the history and societal use of language and its effect on early cognitive development, which helped her to begin to think critically about how to give our children the very best chances to succeed. This thesis work led her and her husband to adopt their eldest daughter. Rebecca lives in Montpelier with her husband Jon and three children, Shelby, Lucy and Hazen.
Contact Rebecca: (802) 922-3452 | Email
When Seth was in 4th grade, he impressed his Voorheesville, New York elementary school classmates by writing a short story that spanned eight sheets of paper. From that moment on, it was clear his life and career would revolve around the written word. He graduated with a BA in English and an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Hartford in 1999 and has since been firmly entrenched in the Vermont publishing world as an editor for Dartmouth Journal Services and Ashgate Publishing. With his young son serving as his inspiration, and feeling the pull to put his writing skills to good use, he answered the call from Let’s Grow Kids and Vermont Birth to Five in 2015. When he’s not in the office, you’ll find Seth exploring antique and salvage shops with his wife, in the yard with his dogs, losing graciously on the volleyball and dodgeball courts or giving his son a raspberry.
Contact Seth: (802) 858-5459 | Email
Jessica grew up in New Jersey, the daughter of an in-home child care provider. She earned a BA in psychology from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2007 and then graduated with an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 2010. Her graduate work focused on child development and school psychology. After graduating, Jessica relocated from New York City to Vermont with her husband, Evan, and worked with children in various mental health settings. Jessica joined Let's Grow Kids in 2015 to advocate for all children to have the best start in life. She lives in Colchester with her husband, her dog and her three children, Ethan, Madeline and Isabella.
Contact Jessica: (802) 559-0084 | Email
Amie was born in Arizona and moved to Enosburg Falls, Vermont when she was 12. She has been an early childhood advocate for 16 years, working and subbing in child care centers, and having owned and operated a registered family child care program in her Franklin County home for 14 years. Amie has served on a variety of early childhood boards and groups and was a child care provider support group leader. She graduated from Springfield College in 2016 with a BS in Human Services and a concentration in Early Education. Amie has two children (Mariah and Hunter) and, collectively, they enjoy hiking, dribbling soccer balls, shooting hoops, fishing, reading and cooking.
Contact Amie: (802) 347-1037 | Email
Shayla grew up in Saranac Lake, New York in the Adirondack Mountains. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BS in psychology in 2004, and then moved to Vermont to start working in the field of autism. Prior to working with Let’s Grow Kids, she served as the volunteer and community outreach manager for the Humane Society of Chittenden County, where she managed a highly-active volunteer program of more than 200 people. She has also worked as a health service administrator for an outpatient drug treatment facility. Shayla lives in Colchester with her husband, their super adorable new baby, Nolan, and Ludo the Loveable Wonder Dog. She enjoys any outdoor activity spent with her family and loves spending time with her horse.
Contact Shayla: (802) 448-4409 | Email
Maroni was born and grew up in Gabon, a small francophone country on the west coast of Africa. He moved to Vermont in 2004 and graduated from Johnson State College in 2012 with a BA in political science. Maroni’s career in politics was launched that same year with an internship for Senator Bill Doyle during the Vermont legislative session. After graduating from college, Maroni worked as an organizer and canvasser for Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). He met with extraordinary success as a canvasser, raising the most money for VPIRG in the organization’s history, and ranking among the nation’s top canvassers. VPIRG subsequently invited Maroni to work in their Montpelier office on major donor activities. Maroni’s position with Let’s Grow Kids as a field coordinator is a perfect fit for his love of meeting new people and learning from them. He also enjoys snowboarding, being outdoors in the summer and, most of all, spending time with his family.
Contact Maroni: (802) 242-0454 | Email
A first generation American of Syrian and Spanish descent, Vicky grew up in Ohio where her mother ran a home-based child care. She has a B.S. in International Business from the University of Dayton, and an M.A. in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from SIT Graduate Institute. A foray into the business world led Vicky overseas for four years until she eventually saw that serving the public good was her true calling. As the education and outreach coordinator at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Vicky taught Windham County kids about food, farming and social justice. She also trained parents and teachers how to incorporate food and nutrition into the classroom to instill good habits from an early age. Vicky knows how important the first years of life are for children and is a passionate advocate for her younger comrades. She is a 2016 graduate of the Snelling Center for Government's Early Childhood Leadership Institute. Vicky lives in Brattleboro with her loving husband and darling dog, Honey Bear.
Contact Vicky: (802) 793-2744 | Email
Anna Gebhardt moved to Vermont in 1997 to pursue a degree in early childhood education at Champlain College. After graduating she worked at several child care centers throughout Vermont and eventually opened a small preschool in her home in Burlington’s Old North End. Her family made the tough decision to move out of the state in 2007 and she became the director of a small Montessori preschool in Arizona. Their love of Vermont quickly brought them back to Burlington at which point Anna knew she had to get involved in making a bigger difference in the lives of children. Her experience working in a variety of child care settings made her passionate about the problems facing Vermont’s families. She has been working to bring more attention to the challenges facing parents with young children for the last 8 years, so joining the Let’s Grow Kids team was a natural fit. Anna is often found enjoying the beauty of Vermont with her son (17), daughter (10) and amazing husband.
Contact Anna: (802) 242-1373 | Email
A resident of Burlington, a world traveler and an avid Green Mountains fan, Elizabeth (Beth) calls Vermont her tried-and-true home. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 2004 with a BA in English and received her MS in environmental education at Lesley University in 2009. Her professional roles have ranged from teaching environmental science courses at the Community College of Vermont to recruiting, engaging and coordinating volunteers as the VT Yankee volunteer manager with the American Red Cross. In her spare time, Elizabeth reads, travels, journals, takes pictures, hikes and gets crafty.
Contact Elizabeth: (802) 448-0483 | Email
Let's Grow Kids Addresses
19 Marble Avenue, Suite 4
Burlington, VT 05401
c/o The Permanent Fund, dba Let's Grow Kids
3 Court Street
Middlebury, VT 05753