At Southshire, each of our experienced faculty members possesses:

  • A background in progressive techniques.
  • A love of teaching.
  • A respect for children as learners and as individuals.
  • A commitment to the families that are part of our community.

Coleen Healy

Teacher of the Younger Group, Lead Teacher & Head of School

Col has been teaching for 30 years. Under her care children know they are valued, respected, and highly-capable beings. Within the school community she is known for her ability to engage children where they are and orient them towards their innate potential.

Col holds a BA in Education from Goddard College, and has done graduate research on the history and practice of alternative education. She is active in the progressive education community, and has attended the Institute on Descriptive Process summer seminars at Bennington College.

Living in North Bennington allows Col to pursue her love of the outdoors, gardening, painting, reading, and cooking for family and friends. She passes these passions onto her students.

Her own children attended Southshire and she is grateful they established a good foundation to build on in their adult lives.

Sally Shaw

Teacher of the Middle Group

Sally has a dual interest in nature studies and children. She returns to education after many years as a botanist and ecologist, having worked for the New England Wildflower Society, the UMass Amhest Forestry Department, and The Nature Conservancy. Over the years, she has practiced child-centered, integrated learning in both homeschool groups and public schools.

As an educator, Sally is happiest in a mixed-age, individually-paced classroom. She is interested in different “ways of knowing,” and loves to explore each child’s unique approach to understanding. She sees children as makers, constantly creating their world, and she encourages them to pursue individual avenues of inquiry within the bounds of a chosen theme or project, and thereby truly “own” their learning.

Sally grew up in southern Vermont, and has returned to settle in Middletown Springs on an old farm with her three goats, two dogs, and two cats. When not researching something or listening to podcasts or music, she can be found working in her gardens, exploring the fields and woods with her goats and dogs, or swimming in a local swimming hole.

Sally holds an MS in Forestry from UMass Amherst, and trained in progressive education at the Prospect Center for Education and Research.

Daniel Sobel

Teacher of the Older Group

Dan Sobel has been teaching in Vermont and New Hampshire for twenty years.

A New Yorker by birth but a New Englander by temperament, he came to Vermont immediately upon graduating from Brandeis University with a literature degree and has found it a congenial environment, both natural and human, in which to pursue his interests and career, and to raise a son.

Having taught both special education and regular education, Dan has come to understand that all special needs students are regular people and that all regular education students have special needs and special abilities. Having taught students ranging in age from three to twenty, he has come to understand that even the youngest have amazing intellectual abilities and that even the oldest need and deserve a supportive and nurturing school environment.

Dan is also a musician and when not engaged in teaching or prepping for school, he can typically be found writing, playing, singing, arranging or recording. If not, he’s probably off in the woods somewhere and then good luck finding him. Discovering ways to combine his great interests in music and in education has been one of the highlights of Dan’s career, especially writing songs with students for ten years of school plays.

Dan comes to Southshire full of enthusiasm, having found a school that truly sees and values children for who they are, sets expectations that students are eager to rise to meet and seeks to foster the full expression of the individual. Southshire’s mission has never been more important than in these divided times, and Dan is looking forward to helping the school continue to make that mission a reality for students, their parents, their community and the world.