Meet The Team


Junior Counselor Lead Teacher and Co-Summer Program Director

Lauren was born in New York City and says she is from everywhere and nowhere. She traveled to Vermont to begin her education where she also began working as a preschool teacher. She became a certified Pre-K teacher in Massachusetts while continuing her education at MassBay where she graduated with High Honors in Elementary Education. She is continuing her education at Lesley University where she studies Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy specializing in Dance/Movement Therapy in both their Undergraduate and Graduate Programs. In her free time, Lauren loves to dance, play instruments, sing, make art, do yoga, ski, see live music with her friends, and play with her dog, Dazzle.


Co-Early Education Director and Lead Pre-K Teacher

Suzanne is from the Delaware Water Gap region of New Jersey, and spent the majority of her childhood exploring the Appalachian Mountains and the Jersey shore with her family and friends. She's been Visiting Vermont since 1992, and became a "transplant" here in 2015. She has a bachelor's degree in Education from East Stroudsburg University in PA. Suzanne moved here for a teaching opportunity, and that lead her to finding NOW. In Suzanne's free time she likes to do paper curling, jujitsu, see live music, gardening, and connecting with the Earth. 


Founder & Executive Director

Moie grew up in Vermont, and has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Union Institute and University. She started the Neck Of the Woods (formerly MECA) Program in 2012 and has absolutely loved watching the Program and families grow through the years. In her free time she loves reading, singing, playing guitar, yoga, playing soccer and spending time with her sweet family.


Cofounder, School Age Director, and Executive Assistant

Katie grew up in Pennsylvania, and moved to Vermont 2 years ago. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Juniata College and is a licensed early educator in the state of Vermont. She began working at MECA in 2018 and assisted Moie in MECA's transition to NOW in 2020. Katie has a bachelors degree in early childhood education, a Vermont teaching license and 6 years of experience working with children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, reading, and playing field hockey.

NOW Commitment to staff: 

A livable wage for all employees  

A focus on the mental health and wellbeing of every employee  

A commitment to provide continued high-quality education and training


McKinley Pierce

Pre-K Lead Teacher

McKinley was born in raised in the Mad River Valley. She has lived in Massachusetts, California, and New Zealand. After McKinley graduated from Harwoord, she went on to obtain her Personal Training Certificate with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is currently continuing her studies at the Community College of Vermont where she is studying psychology. She has been coaching and counseling children since she was a teenager in dance and ninja warrior classes. In her free time, McKinley likes to do ninja and compete, travel, hike, do anything involving movement and sunshine, read, and drink coffee. McKinley has been featured on the sports entertainment competition TV show, American Ninja Warrior!


Infant Toddler Lead Teacher

Iliana moved from Mexico to Arizona at the age of 15. She studied at the University of Phoenix to earn her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Ili moved from Arizona to VT with her husband Derek. She has 3 kids and 1 grand daughter (age 3). Iliana started working at MECA for Moie in 2018. She took a short break during the COVID pandemic for the 2020-2021 school year, and rejoined Neck of the Woods when Infant/Toddler Programming began in 2021. In her free time, Ili likes to hike, snow shoe, and play tennis .


Larissa Gemberling

Enrichment Coordinator and Marketing Team

Larissa was born in Miami, Florida and raised by her lovely adopted family up in Pennsylvania. She moved to Vermont in 2015 where she attended Lyndon State College. She graduated with a degree in Visual Communications. She is attending CCV working towards her ECE degree and directors credential. Larissa has experience working with children as a lead preschool teacher in Pennsylvania, an infant teacher in the Mad River Valley and, most recently, a pod teacher and nanny for a group of families in the Valley. She loves snowboarding, mountain biking and all things art! You can find her seeking adventures with her fiancé José and their three dogs Paco, Viper and Kona. 


Abigail Schramm

Pre-K Assistant Teacher

Abigail was born and raised in Bradford, Vermont. After she graduated high school, she studied at Community College of Vermont where she obtained a degree in human services. During this time she interned in a 1st-grade classroom for a semester. She spent most of her career working with adults in the mental health field but found Neck Of the Woods when she realized she wanted to work with and make an impact on the younger generation. In her free time she enjoys reading, making art, and spending time with friends and family. 


Travis Nutting

Pre-K Assistant Teacher 


Lindsey Langdon

Infant Toddler Assistant Teacher

Lindsey was born in Vermont and raised in New Hampshire. She returned to Vermont when she was 16 to live closer to her family. Lindsey attended Keene State University in New Hampshire where she studied Early Childhood Education. What drew Lindsey to NOW was our strengths based philosophy which Lindsey believes would have benefited her brother who was diagnosed with ADHD at a young age and struggled in a traditional public school setting. In Lindsey's free time, she loves hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, swimming, boating, four wheeling, anything Disney related, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog, Dazy, 

Travis was born and raised on the Jersey Shore and spent a lot of time with his father in New York City (NYC) as a child. He went on to go to school at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He is currently enrolled at Northern Vermont University to obtain a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Travis was drawn to NOW because it seemed like a positive, nourishing, exploratory, environmentally conscious place for youth to prosper. He has been drawn to working in human services especially with underserved populations. One of his favorite memories is working at a sleep-away camp in the Hudson Valley with homeless youth from NYC. In his free time, Travis loves to paint, play guitar, walk in the first, read, listen to music, go to art museums, laugh, and be out in nature.


Crystal Downey

Infant Toddler Assistant Teacher

Crystal was born in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont when she was 11 with her Mom. As soon as she arrived in the green mountains, she knew she was home. She has been working hard since she was 15 years old while attending Harwood. Crystal is a mom whose love for children has much since she was younger. She has always wanted to pursue a career with children and decided to make that dream come true when applying to Neck Of the Woods. She is fluent in sign language and excited to share that knowledge with the children. In her free time, Crystal like to read, sing, do crafts, knit, cook, and bake.


Alex Bueti

Infant Toddler Assistant Teacher

Alex was born and raised in Vermont and has been in Waterbury their whole life. After graduating from Harwood, Alex attended Curry College in Massachusetts where they obtained a Bachelors degree in Art. During their studies at Curry, they helped develop a curriculum for art therapy as well as working with children at The Y as a volunteer and camp counselor. Alex found Neck Of the Woods  and loved how the program accept and welcomed every body. In their free time, they love to create art, write, read, play volleyball, anime, planting, and spending time with friends, family, and their cat. 




Patty Kirpan

Early Education Lead Teacher

Patty lives in Moretown,Vt. Patty recieved her Bachelor's Degree from Trinity College in Human Services/Early Education and Master's in Special Education from Johnson State University. She has been a licensed preschool and Kindergarten teacher in local schools for over 40 years. After officially retiring in 2012 and raising 11 kids, she couldn't resist jumping right into the MECA program with Moie whom she has known before birth. When not at NOW, Patty enjoys swimming, kayaking, downhill skiing and traveling.


Emily Cetin

Preschool Assistant and After School Teacher

Emily grew up in Barre Vermont. She studied at University of Maine at Farmington studying Outdoor Recreation Business Administration.

Emily is excite about Neck Of The Woods because she is looking to gain experience working with children and learning more about creating outdoor curriculum. In Emilys free time you can find her hiking with her dog Ayla bean, kayaking and enjoying the outdoors.


Sage Rentsch

Infant Toddler Assistant Teacher

Sage grew up in upstate New York and moved to Vermont with her mom at the age of 11. She was part of the 2018 Lamoille Union gradating class. Sage was a big mentor for her niece as she grew up and this helped form her passion for childcare. She was drawn to NOW for the strong emphasis on outdoor education. Sage can be found in each classroom jumping in right where she is needed! In her free time Sage enjoys yoga, swimming, playing golf and hiking with her dog Chico and fiancé Marcus. 


Destiny Miller

Infant Toddler Assistant Teacher

Destiny grew up in central Vermont and graduated from Thetford Academy. Growing up in a large family Destiny was always one to help with her younger cousins. This helped foster her love for working with children. Destiny found Neck Of The Woods and strongly believed in the foundational pillars that NOW stands for. In her free time you can find Destiny spending time with family and friends. Looking for the best swimming holes along the river, as well as drawing and painting. 


Sydnie Allen

Afterschool Teacher

Sydnie is a local Vermont gal born and raised! She attended University Of Vermont class of 2019 receiving her bachelor degree in Animal Science. When She is not leading games and activities at our afterschool program Sydnie works at PEAK Vet in Williston Vermont as a vet tech. In Sydnie's free time you can find her enjoying hikes with her boyfriend Siemen and dogs Billie and Ryder. As well as spending family time on their local dairy farm.


Hannah Bessette

Early Education Float

Bio coming soon

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Anna Stegemoeller

Afterschool Teacher

Anna was raised in Indiana and Minnesota as the oldest girl in a large christian family. After high school, her years were full with hands on employment, plenty of travel, and adventurous outdoor activities. Presently, in her older years, she still thrives with the hands on activities of chores, gardening, and guitar playing.  Anna felt encouraged to become a member of the NOW team, because the NOW approach - learner centered and strength based philosophies that support development of multiple intelligences - resonates with Anna.  In her free time, she likes to spend time playing outside with her dog and practices yoga/meditation, stretching, skiing, and reading.