Superintendent Rene Sanchez
Rene Sanchez serves as the superintendent of the Champlain Valley School District in Vermont. Taking the superintendent role in Vermont in the summer of 2021 provided a return home for his family. His wife, Jean, is a native of Brattleboro and an alumnus of the University of Vermont.
In South Bend, as the Assistant Superintendent for Operations for the South Bend Community School Corporation. He oversaw Human Resources and Transportation. Within HR, he created the New Teacher training monthly series focusing on equity and Universal Design for Learning. In the transportation realm, he spearheaded placing WIFI on the district’s school buses. This action led to South Bend Schools’ bridging the digital divide during the COVID-19 pandemic and to recognition of the district in local, state, and national news.
Prior to that, as principal of Houston ISD’s 3000+ student Chavez High School, his team founded the IB Diploma and Career Programmes, the Process Technology A.A.S program with San Jacinto College, was featured in the book, UDL: Moving from Exploration to Integration for its culture and use of Universal Design for Learning schoolwide, and was recognized by America Achieves and the Organization for Economic and Community Development for closing the academic gap with affluent schools. Scholarships increased from $6 million to over $19 million. And, in just 3 years, his vertical team increased their fine arts programs by 250%.
Originally from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Rene completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Government and International Studies. He has a law degree from Ohio State. From the University of Texas at Austin, he has a Master’s degree in Education. He is currently enrolled at Indiana State to conclude his Ph.D.
He has been married to Jean for sixteen years, and they have three children and three dogs. He loves to cycle, cook, read, fish, golf, and work in the garden and yard.
Gary Marckres, COO
Gary joined CVSD as the Chief Operations Officer in 2022 after serving four years as the Director of Operations and Financial Management for the South Burlington School District. Prior to entering school operations management, Gary served 31 years in the Army in various leadership roles to include six years as the Commandant of an Army Education Institute. During his Army career, he served 10 years as a school board member and several years as the Chair of both the Grand Isle and Champlain Islands Board of School Directors. He earned a BS in Business Administration and Organizational Development in 2012 from Post University through career lifelong learning while serving in the military. Born in Bennington Vermont, Gary now lives in Essex with his three children and their golden retriever. He enjoys golf, fishing, running, and being outdoors.
Sarah Crum, Director of Learning and Innovation
Sarah assumed the role of Director of Learning and Innovation in 2022. Prior to that, she was the Director of Student Services for the Williston Schools. She has spent most of her professional career in Vermont as a Special Educator at CVU. Prior to teaching in Vermont, she taught high school English in Telluride, Colorado, and English as a second language in France. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English, Secondary Education, and Special Education from Vanderbilt University, a Masters in Curriculum from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a reading endorsement from the University of Vermont. Sarah believes in an inclusive model of student services and advocates for a collaborative model of differentiation to ensure that all students are integrated into the learning environment. Outside of school, she spends time traveling and playing outdoors with her husband and three children and reading whenever she can grab a quiet moment.
Anna Couperthwait, Director of Student Support Services
Anna joined CVSD as the Director of Student Support Services in 2022. Prior to that, she was the Director of Special Services at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg. She graduated from CVU in 1988 and liked it so much that she returned, first as a special educator and then as an administrator. Anna received her Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Vermont and her Master's degree in Special Education from Lesley College. Her professional experience includes being a 1st and 2nd-grade classroom teacher, a Reading Recovery teacher, and a special educator at every grade level. She's been lucky enough to teach in a variety of places, including the suburbs of Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta, but is happy to be settled back in Vermont. Anna is a strong advocate of inclusion and the belief that all students belong to all of us. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntington. When she is not working, you can find her cheering on her girls at ski races, traveling, or spending time outdoors.
Asma Abunaib, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Asma is a community development strategist and analyst with more than 15 years of experience in conflict transformation, peace-building, leadership and community coalition building, training and capacity building, project management, gender mainstreaming, inclusive adult education, intercultural communication, monitoring and evaluation, and policy advocacy. She served in relief and development programs in national, international, and United Nations agencies. She has extensive experience with management, design, implementation, facilitation, and co-facilitation of conflict analysis, conflict transformation and peacebuilding, humanitarian coordination, and financial literacy/capability training and coaching. Asma has a master’s degree in intercultural service leadership and management and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy studies. She worked for a social services agency (Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity -CVOEO) developing and implementing a culturally responsive curriculum and a culturally responsive coaching session process for New American populations in the State of Vermont. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Three Stones International, LLC on Adult Education, Facilitation, and Dialogue, connecting and networking with local civil society across Africa.
Mark McDermott, Director of Human Resources: Personnel, Policy and Legal Services
Mark has been the Director of Human Resources: Personnel, Policy and Legal Services for the Champlain Valley School District since the 2017-18 school year. He is a 1991 graduate of Northeastern University and a 1999 graduate of the Boston College Law School. Mark’s involvement on school boards and his strong belief in public education led him to seek an active role in the District. He and his family live in Charlotte.
Bonnie Birdsall, Director of Digital Learning & Communication
Bonnie Birdsall grew up in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts after which she taught second grade in a small private school in Boston. She earned her Master’s Degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and then worked on a national school reform project in Cambridge and Worcester, MA. She went back to teaching when she moved to Vermont, in a Williston multiage first-second grade class before following her passion for technology in education to the role of Digital Learning Leader. She is the 2015 Vermont recipient of the ISTE Making IT Happen Award and Vita-Learn's Frank Watson Award. Bonnie completed the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont School Leadership Project in 2018. Recognizing the value and importance of telling our stories led to a focus on communication and public relations. She transitioned to her current position as Director of Digital Learning & Communication for the district in 2018. Bonnie has presented at numerous conferences and workshops, taught graduate-level and local courses, and enjoys working with young kids and grown-up kids alike. Bonnie lives in Shelburne with her husband. Their two sons went through CVSD schools. She enjoys good books, good walks, and good food.