Zack's Place Board of Directors
Enrichment Programs for People with Special Needs in the Woodstock VT Area Zack's Place Board of Directors

Zack's Place Board of Directors

Zack's Place Board of Directors 2016

Zack's Place is governed by a non-paid board of directors who make policy, oversee the budget, and meet at least once a month with the executive director. The executive director is a paid employee and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the enrichment center. We employ and pay a part-time art director as well as a per diem bookkeeper whose time averages about two hours a week. We also pay a variety of independent contractors who come to the center to instruct or oversee the implementation of specific programs, either weekly or monthly. Many of our program providers are volunteers as well.

The board of directors presently is comprised of ten members and they annually elect the four officers, a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Our board members are actively involved in the center in various ways. They assist in fund raising, grant writing, building maintenance and improvements, and volunteer their time, often on field trips or at the center itself. They have been known to sew costumes for and appear in our musical productions, bake at cake sales, toil in our gardens, and install our kitchen.

The executive director (ED) is our only full time employee and is responsible for budget preparation, organizing the programming, supervising the participants, communicating with family members and caregivers, fundraising, grant writing, administrative duties, supply ordering, staff oversight and review, money management, and more.

Part-time employees include one administrative assistant (AA), who works four days a week, to assist the ED with daily administrative tasks, and is also responsible for the production of the Zack's Place "Little Phone Book" which is a recent fundraising endeavor handed off to ZP by a former Woodstock foundation; two program directors (PD) who are in charge of overseeing implementation of our daily programs each of whom typically work two days a week; and a part time bookkeeper, who is responsible for production of all the financial reports, including the monthly profit and loss statements, budget use year to date, checkbook ledger, and deposit report.

Board members are a diverse group of people whose combined experiences and skills offer a unique blend of talents that serve ZP very well. Each board member, in addition to their routine board duties, includes themselves in certain activities that really enhance the function of this wonderful community enrichment center.

Because of the small community setting in which ZP finds itself, its board members immerse themselves in the fundraising arena, the day-to-day activities of ZP, and often find themselves as volunteers to fill gaps in programming. They serve as waiters, bartenders, cooks, and entertainers at fundraisers called "Dine Arounds". These are themed dinner parties hosted by community members who provide all of the food and drink in their own homes. All proceeds pass to ZP. Even former board members continue to serve as volunteers at activities and functions in order to insure the continued success of ZP.

All of their combined time helping in these diverse roles helps ZP to better serve the participants and keeps overhead down. Board members also often make substantial financial contributions through, not only direct donations, but also by attending fundraisers as paying guests.

Being a board member for ZP is a richly rewarding experience with immediate gratification as one views the participants' enthusiasm for their ever ongoing projects and knowing that their lives are richer and fuller with each day.

Current Board

ZP is fortunate to have the experience and creativity of its volunteer board of directors. Including entrepreneurs, special educators, and sports champions, board composition reflects ZP's vitality as well as its viability, and our directors contribute to the business acumen, volunteer ethic, and spirit of adventure upon which ZP is based.

Board President, Norm Frates, Jr.
Norm is the Vice President of mortgage lending for Mascoma Savings Bank in Woodstock Vt. As the founder of Zack's Place and the father of Zack, who had Cerebral Palsy, he was inspired to develop a great place for special needs people of all ages. He wanted them to come and experience a welcoming, educational, active community center in downtown Woodstock. Norm also serves his community through participation in the Woodstock Rotary Club, Vermont Special Olympics, past president of the Woodstock Ski Runners and has been involved in various nonprofit boards throughout the Woodstock area.

Vice President, Bettyanne McGuire
Bettyanne is a retired New Jersey attorney who specialized in special needs estate planning, guardianships, and advocacy for adults and children with disabilities. She has served as chair of the board of a large New Jersey mental health services provider with a $28,000,000 budget as well on her local New Jersey School Board where she chaired the finance and collective bargaining committees. Bettyanne's past experience and knowledge of the issues confronting the families of persons with special needs allows her to bring compassion and insights to the special population served by Zack's Place.

Secretary, Katie Merrill
Katie began her career in the hospitality business, coordinating special events and fundraisers for ten years; and in 1999 was considered one of the top 100 women in business in Phoenix, Arizona. After the birth of her son Jacob, she began working with a non-profit and assisted in creating a day program for undocumented workers which focused on solving problems associated with illegal immigration. Currently Katie works for Vermont Law School as a a recruiter and volunteers at The Thompson Senior Center and Zack's Place.

Jim Godfrey, Treasurer
Jim is a Partner with the accounting firm Tyler, Simms, & St. Sauveur, in Lebanon, NH. Jim's specialization in the firm is working with not-for-profit organizations for which he has a comprehensive understanding of their needs, and the myriad of issues that they face. After graduating from Woodstock Union High School in 1984, Jim attended the University of Vermont. Jim was raised in Killington along with an older brother with special needs. His professional and personal experiences allow him to contribute meaningful input to the Board and help ZP achieve its mission. Jim is also a board member of Upper Valley Court Diversion, and on the audit committee of The Church of Our Savior. He currently resides in Killington with his wife Eileen and son Lucas, a senior at Woodstock Union High School.

Dennis Shillen
Dennis is a senior partner at the Woodstock law offices of Shillen and Mackall, P.C. As a personal injury defense attorney, Dennis advocates for victims' rights. Dennis is also a long-time member of the Woodstock Rotary Club and an active supporter of several area cultural institutions including Pentangle Council on the Arts and Billings Farm and Museum.

Nerissa Edwards
Having skied in Vermont during her childhood, Nerissa finally moved to Waterbury in 1989 and then later to South Woodstock. She has worked as a Counselor at Montpelier High School, Crossett Brook Middle School, Thatcher Brook Primary School, Reading Elementary School and Albert Bridge School. She is currently a counselor at Woodstock Union High School. She has a strong belief in community service and has subsequently worked with students of all ages on many different service projects. A memorable project was helping dig mud out of the Bethany church with 20 high school students after the Flood of '92. It never occurred to her that she would have a similar experience here in Woodstock after Irene. Nerissa is a Make A Wish of Vermont Wish Grantor. She is also on the Board of Shir Shalom. Her partner Jim and her children Austin and Sawyer have all volunteered at Zack's Place

Ron Jaynes
Ron Jaynes recently retired as President from Jaynes and Berge Inc. He has lived in Woodstock since 1971. He received his BA in Business Administration from the University of Georgia. He has served on many local boards including: Woodstock Elementary, Woodstock Union High School, Woodstock Foundation Advisory Board, Vermont National Bank Advisory Board, Unitarian Universalist Church and Mertens House.
     Currently serving on the following Boards: Lawrence and Mary Rockefeller Woodstock Foundation Fund, Woodstock Associates, Wise Development Committee and Zack's Place.
     He was recipient of the Woodstock Recreation Center Volunteer of the year award 1991 and Chairman of the Woodstock School Fund. His interests are volunteer work, improving his spanish, travel and sports.

Lisa Burrell
Lisa Burrell is an Account Executive at Woodstock Insurance Inc., a company servicing commercial and personal lines of insurance. The daughter of a local farming family, Lisa's roots lie deep in Woodstock. She continues to live in the Woodstock Area with her husband Todd, and daughter Jessica, who has Cerebral Palsy. Jessica came to Zack's Place the very first day it opened in 2006, and has been there almost every day since enjoying her friends and the activities they share. From its early days, Lisa became involved in helping out at Zack's Place, pitching in with bake sales and organizing parent and caretaker activities. She eventually organized a ZP Parents Group to help with coordinating family events and field trips. Lisa is a dedicated mother and she and Jessica enjoy time together, baking, "sugaring", and creating goods to sell at local farmers markets. As an avid member of the Prosper Home-Makers Club, she meets monthly to share her homemaking skills with friends and help with a local fundraiser "The Chicken Pie Supper". She recently became one of the local artisans who sell crafts and homemade foodstuffs at the newly opened Home Grown Market in Woodstock next to the Pizza Chef restaurant.

Sylvie Lavoie-Finer
Sylvie had the good fortunate of becoming a Woodstock resident in 2014. She has two awesome children, a daughter, Brielle, who is a senior at WUHS and a ZP volunteer; and a son, Dustin, who attended WUHS, and is now a senior at McGill University in Montreal. She has owned and operated Finer Vermont Tours since 1984, a wholesale tour company. She plans and organizes group tours, primarily for the mature market, in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa. She greatly enjoys the outdoors with back country/cross country skiing, hiking, kayaking; and also doing yoga on a regular basis.
     Sylvie states: "I've had special needs people in my life growing up and perhaps this has drawn me to ZP. My best friend Joyce in Elementary School, had cerebral palsy. We so enjoyed each other's company. I have fond memories of sleepovers at her house and just being giddy girls. Then when I was 16, I lived with a family and shared a room with their 2 year old son Bobby, who has Down syndrome. He is now almost 40 and has been surrounded by so much love in a family with 8 children. I often think, if they lived nearby, he too would enjoy ZP."
     As a board member, she is looks forward to volunteering and meeting new people at ZP, and she feels honored and blessed to be part of this amazing, loving place with such special folks; both participants & staff!

Helen Norton
Helen resides in Thetford Center with her husband, Emmett and daughter, Erin. She believes strongly in supporting and advocating for valuable, interesting, educational, and fun life-long opportunities and activities in the Upper Valley community for individuals of all ages with special needs. She was drawn to Zack's Place with her daughter, Erin, who has participated in Zack's Place since its opening in 2006, because of the focus on friendship and quality programs.
     A 30-year resident of the Upper Valley, Helen has worked in real estate and the arts, as rental manager and sales person with Quechee Real Estate, and as executive director of the New Hampshire Youth Orchestra. She currently works part-time as a personal care assistant. She has served as a board member for the Friends of Thetford Education, Vestry of St. Barnabas' Church, High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program, and as a member of the family faculty for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. In addition to serving on the Zack's Place board, she is an active volunteer assisting with Special Olympics and parent fundraisers and enjoys participating in all the daily activities with her friends at Zack's Place.

Jeff Dillon
Jeff Dillon is a global healthcare professional currently serving as Vice Consul, Trade & Investment Officer for Healthcare for the British Consulate. He has held senior level roles at G.E. Medical and Philips Medical. He holds various board positions in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, as well as serving as a Rotarian. Having a brother with special needs, he has been active in all types of organizations to generate opportunities and improve the well-being for him and his peers. He is thrilled to be a board member at Zack's Place and looks forward to contributing in both the short and long term.


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