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Who We Are

Advance Vermont is a statewide partnership of leaders from business, education, government, nonprofits and philanthropy with a unified goal to increase educational attainment in Vermont for the benefit of our residents, communities and economy. Our mission is to advance the civic and economic vitality of Vermont by growing the number of Vermonters with postsecondary credentials, increasing equity in educational attainment, and strengthening connections among education, training, and employment.

Advance Vermont is funded in part by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation, Jane’s Trust Foundation, and the Windham Foundation, with support from the Lumina Foundation.

Our History

Over the last decade, there have been increasing efforts to grow postsecondary attainment in Vermont. In 2009, Vermont government and higher education leaders signed a compact to increase college attainment to 60 percent in 2019. The following year in 2010, Act 133 established the PreK-16 Council with responsibility to coordinate efforts between the preK-12 and higher education communities to reach a new statewide goal that “at least 60 percent of the adult population will have earned an associate’s or higher-level degree by 2020.” Six years later, a cross-sector convening of executives from across the state selected the goal of 70 percent attainment by 2025 to include both degree and non-degree education and training credentials. In 2017, Governor Phil Scott endorsed the 70 by 2025 goal at the Advance Vermont launch event and the collective impact organization 70x2025vt was established. In 2018, 70x2025vt became known as Advance Vermont. Advance Vermont has successfully convened stakeholders to elevate conversation and spur action, launched efforts to raise awareness about the importance of education beyond high school, advanced the policy dialogue on access to and completion of postsecondary education, and harnessed data to inform stakeholders.

Vermont State Senate

Becca Balint

Senate President Pro-Tem

Windham Foundation

Liz Bankowski

Former President & CEO

Agency of Education

Heather Bouchey

Deputy Secretary

Vermont Adult Learning

Hal Cohen

Executive Director

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Scott Giles

President & CEO

North Country Career Center

Eileen Illuzzi

Former Director

Community Colleges of Vermont

Joyce Judy


Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Lindsay Kurrle


Center for New Leadership
at Marlboro College

Kate McGowan


Chroma Technology Corporation

Paul Millman

Former President

New England Association of
School Superintendents

Mary Moran

Executive Director

Middlebury College

Laurie Patton


Let’s Grow Kids

Aly Richards


Vermont Community Foundation

Dan Smith

President & CEO

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Bill Stritzler

Owner & Managing Director

Vermont Business Roundtable

Lisa Ventriss

Former President

Wakefield Global

Al Wakefield


House Education Committee

Kate Webb


“Putting a focus on adult learners who need education and skill training is the right thing to do for Vermont and our workforce needs.”

Scott Giles

President and CEO of VSAC

MyFutureVT Steering Committee

Advance Vermont recently launched MyFutureVT, the state’s free online one-stop for career and education resources. The site provides Vermonters with the information and assistance they need to access valuable educational opportunities that will advance their careers, employable skills, income stability, and job readiness.  Steering committee member have played an essential role in the development of MyFutureVT.

Amanda Arnold, Quality Assurance Manager, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living

Mat Barewicz, Economic and Labor Market Information Chief, Vermont Department of Labor

Alex Beck, Workforce and Education Program Manager, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation

Jason Finley, Work-Based Learning Coordinator, Randolph Technical Career Center

Elaine Haney, ThinkVermont Project Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Maureen Herbert, Associate Dean of Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division, Vermont Technical College

Bob Keeley, Education Project Manager, Vermont Agency of Education

Mike Keogh, Director of Business Engagement, Community College of Vermont

Patrick Leduc, CIO and Vice President of Career and Education Outreach and Human Resources, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Ethan Maurer, Chittenden County Regional Director, Vermont Adult Learning

Veronica Newton, Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education

Rich Tulikangas, Director of Linking Learning to Careers, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living

Liz Schlegel, Executive Director, The Alchemist Foundation

Len Schmidt, Adult Technical Education/Coop Coordinator, P.A. Hannaford Career Center, Vermont Adult Career and Technical Education Association

Mary Anne Sheahan, Executive Director, Vermont Talent Pipeline Management

Roxanne Vought, Executive Director, Vermont Business For Social Responsibility

Carolyn Weir, Executive Director, J.Warren & Lois McClure Foundation

Adult Working Group


Identify and eliminate barriers for Vermont adults with some or no postsecondary education so that they may obtain the education and training needed to achieve their work and life goals.

Former Chancellor, Vermont State Colleges & Board Member, McClure Foundation



  • Pam ChisholmCommunity College of Vermont
  • Maureen HerbertVermont Technical College
  • Steve LookNorwhich University
  • Melissa MarcelloChamplain College
  • Heather NewcombVermont Works for Women
  • Len SchmidtP.A. Hannaford Career Center
  • Bill SugarmanVocRehab
  • Merrilyn Tatarczuch-KoffVSAC

Communications Working Group


Build a statewide understanding of the importance of postsecondary education/training in order for Vermonters to achieve financial and workplace stability and for Vermont to stay economically and civically vibrant.

Associate Vice President for Marketing & Creative Services, Middlebury College



  • Greg BrandBlue House Group
  • Amanda ChaulkVermont Technical College
  • Pat CoxBeacon Associates
  • Maryanne DePrescoVSAC
  • Karen FlemingGreen Mountain College
  • Samantha HaimesUniversity of Vermont
  • Alana ReddenAdvanced Vermont Fellow
  • Liz SchlegelAlchemist Foundation
  • Elaine SopchakAgency of Commerce & Community Development
  • Carolyn WeirVermont Community Foundation

Data & Analysis Working Group


Coordinate, rigorously and objectively analyze, and present data to inform strategy development and review, and to measure success in moving toward achieving the attainment goal.

Dean, University of Vermont College of Education & Social Services

Scott Thomas


  • Mat BarewiczVermont Department of Labor
  • Paul CilloPublic Assets Institute
  • Wendy GellerVermont Agency of Education
  • Laura MassellCommunity College of Vermont
  • Anna PrescottVSAC
  • Krysta SadowskiGallagher, Flynn & Co
  • Catherin WelchSaint Michael’s College
  • Alex YinUniversity of Vermont

Youth Working Group


Identify and eliminate barriers to or gaps in current efforts to address college and career readiness, postsecondary aspirations, continuation, and graduation for Vermont youth.

Chief Academic Officer, Vermont State Colleges System

Yasmine Ziesler


Executive Director, New England Association of School Superintendents

Mary Moran


  • Matt BourgaultVSAC
  • Melissa ConnerStafford Technical Center
  • Jess DeCarolisAgency of Education
  • Paul GambleCommunity Engagement Lab
  • Marie JohnsonUniversity of Vermont
  • Emilie KnisleyBlue Mountain Union School
  • Samantha MillsStudent, Champlain College
  • Holly MorehouseVermont Afterschool
  • Jay NicholsVermont Principals’ Association
  • Natalie SearleCommunity College of Vermont
  • Rich TulikangasDivision of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Debbie WarnockBennington College


Tom Cheney, Executive Director

Prior to his current position, Tom served as the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Human Resources. Previously he worked as a legislative assistant to Congressman Peter Welch in Washington D.C. and chief of staff to Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith. Born and raised in Vermont, Tom graduated from Milton High School and the University of Vermont. He serves as a justice of the peace, vice chair of his town’s board of civil authority, member of his local school board, and on the board of trustees at Lund.

Tom Cheney

Executive Director

Marilyn Tagliavia, Director of Communications and MyFutureVT

Marilyn leads all external communications and marketing initiatives for Advance Vermont and our free online career and education resource, MyFutureVT. Previously, Marilyn worked for local public relations agencies including Junapr, and has a background as a news editor. Marilyn received her bachelor’s degree in communications and community media from Johnson State College. Marilyn grew up in the Northeast Kingdom and central Vermont, and currently lives in Burlington with her partner John and puppy Poppy.

Marilyn Tagliavia

Director of Communications & MyFutureVT

Nataleigh Noble, Communications Intern

Nataleigh is a recent graduate from the University of Vermont, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Public Communication with a concentration in Community Media and Journalism. Nataleigh is a Burlington local and is excited to start her career journey with Advance Vermont.

Nataleigh Noble

Communications Intern

Funders & Partners

Funders and partners are vital to Advance Vermont’s work. The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and the Lumina Foundation provide the support to make this initiative possible. Partner organizations help leverage existing efforts and resources and provide opportunities for collaboration.


Ready to join our partnership?
Interested in learning more?
We want to hear from you.

We’re always looking to help make connections and support innovative projects.