As a writer from Vermont Magazine once observed, CLiF does a lot with a little. We are able to accomplish so much thanks to our dedicated, creative, and energetic staff, board of directors, and board of advisors.

Our Staff

Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall

Executive Director

Duncan founded CLiF in 1998. He has given a few thousand literacy and storytelling presentations to children and parents throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Duncan has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College, and worked for seven years as a management consultant in Boston. He has also been a freelance writer, teacher, and radio commentator, and is active in local political and environmental campaigns. He lives in Waterbury Center, VT with his wife and son.

Jana Brown

Jana Brown

Program Manager

As Program Manager, Jana works with Duncan, Meredith, and our Board of Advisors to identify and recruit potential partners and award and implement At-Risk, Summer Readers, and Children of Inmates program grants. Jana grew up in the small town of Fair Haven, Vermont and earned degrees in Literature and Spanish from Ohio Wesleyan University. She went to law school at The Ohio State University College of Law and worked as an Assistant Attorney General in both Ohio and Vermont.  She joined CLiF in 2014. She loves exploring Vermont with her husband, young son, and golden retriever.

Kat Lane

Kat Lane

Development/Data Manager

Kat keeps the CLiF HQ running smoothly by maintaining office operations and manages donations and our donor database. Kat has many years of administrative, marketing, and sales experience, primarily in the fields of education, and travel and leisure. Beginning with her Liberal Arts degree from Colby College in Maine, Kat believes in building a well-rounded education through life-long learning, life experiences, and travel.  Over the years she has cultivated her personal skills by enrolling in classes ranging from massage therapy, cooking, and spreadsheets, to real estate, interior design, and graphic design. Kat joined CLiF in the summer of 2020. Kat brings her analytical thinking and knack for fine-tuning systems to her role as Data/Office Manager at CLiF.  In her free time she enjoys running, paddling, skiing, reading, dabbling in graphic design, and making memories with lots of family adventures.

Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall

Communications Manager

Sarah joined CLiF in January 2022, and manages press and outreach, including newsletters, social media and our blog. A lifelong bookworm, she studied American Literature at Middlebury College, and earned her master’s degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. After grad school, she worked for E! Entertainment, chronicling celebrity exploits on and off the red carpet, before leaving Hollywood behind to return to her East Coast roots. She has also worked as a creative consultant, copywriter, social media manager, AirBnB superhost and, most recently, a startup cofounder. Sarah lives in Fayston, Vermont with her husband, two children, and an array of hungry animals.

Cassie Willner

Cassie Willner

Program Manager

Cassie Willner joined the CLiF team as the literacy program manager in August 2022. She is a communicator and collaborator dedicated to ensuring equal access to high-quality learning and literacy opportunities for all. Previously, she worked in a public school library, at Vermont Afterschool as a communications coordinator, and taught middle and high school English at the Mt. Mansfield Winter Academy. When not consuming sweets, reading, traveling, or playing outside with her husband and daughter, she loves to garden and grow lots of flowers at her home in Montpelier. She is also a Jan Brett superfan. Cassie holds a M.A. in communications and journalism from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in English from Colgate University.

Our Presenters

CLiF is honored to partner with more than 65 accomplished children’s book authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers who give inspiring presentations on our behalf to thousands of children across New Hampshire and Vermont.

View All of Our Presenters

Board of Directors

Mark Beams

Mark Beams

Chair

Mark retired in 2008 from a career as an international tax lawyer that included stints at the office of international tax policy at the US Department of Treasury, and at General Electric.

Lisa Ferneau

Lisa Ferneau

Lisa is a reader, writer, and former corporate attorney who left the legal world to become a serial volunteer in her community – first with her children’s schools and sports leagues and later with non-profit boards throughout the Upper Valley.

Zach Haggerty

Zach Haggerty

Zach Haggerty was born and raised in Stowe, Vermont, where he grew up with a love of reading and learned the importance of giving back to the community at a young age. He remained in Vermont and furthered both of these interests with a liberal arts education from Middlebury College, ultimately majoring in Economics. He also was a member of the Men’s Ice Hockey team. Zach currently lives in Boston and works in the asset management industry, though still enjoys making frequent trips back to Vermont to spend time with his large family, experience the great outdoors of the Green Mountains, and perhaps overindulge in some Ben & Jerry’s.
Sandy Kelsey

Sandy Kelsey

Sandy is a board-certified Emergency Physician and also Pediatrician who has practiced in varied locales in New England. He has participated in a number of International Medical trips to South America where he provided Pediatric and General Medical care to indigenous populations.

Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall

Executive Director

Duncan founded CLiF in 1998. He has given a few thousand literacy and storytelling presentations to children and parents throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Duncan has an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College, and worked for seven years as a management consultant in Boston. He has also been a freelance writer, teacher, and radio commentator, and is active in local political and environmental campaigns. He lives in Waterbury Center, VT with his wife and son.

Kathy McGowan

Kathy McGowan

Kathy currently works as an elementary school math specialist coach. She has been in the teaching profession for 18 years and has taught 4th and 5th grades. Prior to becoming an educator, Kathy worked as a credit analyst for an investment bank. She is actively involved in several Upper Valley community organizations.

Rick Mills

Rick Mills

Richard G. Mills, JD, became the EVP at Dartmouth in September 2013. He is responsible for the management and coordination of the administrative operations of the institution including financial, facility, human resources and other administrative operations.

Blanche Podhajski, Ph.D.

Blanche Podhajski, Ph.D.

Dr. Blanche Podhajski was President and Founder of the Stern Center for Language and Learning, a nonprofit that provides literacy services for children and adults, professional development opportunities for educators and medical professionals, and research on best literacy practices. She is Clinical Associate Professor of Neurological Sciences at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Dr. Podhajski received her Ph.D. in Communication Disorders, specializing in Learning Disabilities, from Northwestern University.

Katie Robbins

Katie Robbins

Katie Robbins is a child and family clinical psychologist in the Upper Valley of NH/VT specializing in social-emotional-behavioral difficulties, parent-child relationships, school psychology, and health psychology.

Posie Taylor

Posie Taylor

Posie was the Executive Director at The Aloha Foundation in Fairlee, VT. She has worked as a nonprofit consultant and has served on many nonprofit boards.

John Vogel

John Vogel

Treasurer

After 26 years at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth where he taught real estate and entrepreneurship in the social sector, John Vogel retired in 2018. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Housing Vermont and involved in a number of community development activities.

Leslie Williamson

Leslie Williamson

Secretary

Leslie served 17 years as founding director of the educational non-profit, Center for School Success. In that capacity she worked with children, their families, schools, and health care providers to help children understand how they learn best, and identify ways to advocate for their own learning and health. She is currently the President of the Academy of Brain Health and Performance, an organization that educates, equips, and empowers individuals, professionals, and communities to make brain health a priority.

Board of Advisors

Mary Ann Cappiello

Mary Ann Cappiello

Mary Ann is passionate about providing children with authentic reading, writing, listening, and speaking opportunities in and outside of the classroom, and believes that literature can change lives. A resident of Stratham, New Hampshire, Mary Ann has been teaching children’s literature and literacy at Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education since 2006. Prior to that, she spent over a decade teaching language arts and the humanities in public schools in New York and New England. Mary Ann is the coauthor of two text books, writes about using children’s literature in the K-8 classroom at The Classroom Bookshelf, and chaired the National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Committee through 2018. Mary Ann presents regionally and nationally, partners with museums and libraries, has appeared on public radio, and consults with public television.

Jonathan Clark

Jonathan Clark

Jonathan Clark is the Library Consultant for Children and Teen Services at Vermont Department of Libraries. For the last five years Jonathan has been working at the New York Public Library as Manager of School-age Children’s Programming and as a Children’s Librarian in the Bronx. Before becoming a librarian, he worked for over 10 years as a teacher and educator in Utah and New York.

Deborah Dutcher

Deborah Dutcher

A northern NH native from Colebrook, Deborah began her library career began across the river from there as the Director at the Alice Ward Memorial Library in Canaan, VT. She served as the Media Specialist at Canaan’s K-12 school for three years as well. During her time in Vermont, she worked closely with VELI, Vermont’s Early Literacy Initiative, and she served as an officer with the Vermont Library Association. She was director of the Allenstown Public Library and Loudon, NH’s public library before becoming the Youth and Adult Services Librarian at the NH State Library. Currently, Deborah lives happily just outside of Concord with her husband and her cat Simba.
Toni Eubanks

Toni Eubanks

Toni Eubanks is the director of the Barton and Glover public libraries in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. She has volunteered in many capacities, including the reading programs in her children’s classrooms, Junior Great Books programs for first and fourth grades, after-school programs for the local PTO, and Everybody Wins! Vermont.

Jess Kell

Jess Kell

Jess Kell is the Parenting Program Coordinator for Lund’s Kids-A-Part program, based at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.

Jane Knight

Jane Knight

Jane has worked at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, VT since 1994. She has been the store’s children’s book buyer since 2006. She has also served as an ESL teacher in Colorado and a tutor with Central Vermont Adult Basic Education. She served on the board of Planting Hope, which is based in Montpelier and La Chispa, Nicaragua, for five years.

Jennifer Kusnarowis

Jennifer Kusnarowis

Jennifer has been a Reading Specialist and Title 1 Teacher at Boscawen Elementary School in Boscawen, NH for 13 years. Prior to that, she taught first and second grade, and was a Reading Recovery teacher. She works with struggling readers to improve their reading skills, as well as with strong readers in an enrichment program. She writes grants, organizes and runs school-wide literacy events and activities, and is an active member of the Merrimack Valley School District Language Arts Committee and Title 1 School-wide Planning Team. She lives in Concord, NH with her husband, daughter, son, and dog. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, archery, and kayaking. She has personally experienced the benefits of the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) and is eager to give back.
Julia Rogers

Julia Rogers

Julia Rogers is a former CLiF Program Director and Office Manger. Julia coordinated logistics for hundreds of literacy events during her tenure at CLiF and brings that experience to the Advisory Board. Before CLiF, her previous experience in literacy included teaching English and translating fairy tales in Tanzania and delivering books to children in rural Lao villages. Julia now operates a consulting business that assists young people in planning “gap year” travels.
Rubi Simon

Rubi Simon

Rubi Simon is the Library Director at the Howe Library in Hanover, NH. Her prior management experience in Vermont includes the Director of the Fletcher Free Library in the city of Burlington, and the Burnham Memorial Library in Colchester. Prior to coming to Vermont in 2009, Rubi successfully held a management position at the Boston Public Library as the Assistant Neighborhood Services Manager overseeing the 27 branches for the city. In this capacity she concentrated on staff development, city-wide initiatives and programming focused on literacy development relating to youth services and diverse populations. Throughout her career, Rubi has volunteered for many community-based groups; most recently she has served as a member of the Vermont and New Hampshire advisory committee for the U.S. civil rights commission. In addition she has been an advocate for minorities, and engaged with organizations which promote leadership and civic engagement among Latinos. Mrs. Simon currently lives in Etna, New Hampshire with her Husband and 3 daughters.

Michele Tine

Michele Tine

Michele is an assistant professor in the Education Department at Dartmouth College, where she splits her time between teaching the next generation of educators and conducting research about the ways in which poverty impacts learning and academic achievement. Prior to her time at Dartmouth, Michele earned her Ph.D. at The Lynch School of Education at Boston College, conducted neuroscience research at Brandeis University and the University of Pennsylvania, and taught fifth grade in a under-resourced school in Massachusetts. She currently lives in Norwich, VT with her husband, two children, and piles and piles of books.

CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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