Our Team

Janet McLaughlin, Executive Director, 1-802-448-2095

Janet been working for a more equitable society for nearly two decades in nonprofit programming and philanthropy. She joined VB5 from the Vermont Community Foundation, where she headed its Food and Farm Initiative, an effort to connect more Vermonters with healthy local foods. Previously, she spent 9 years at the DC-based Share Our Strength, where she was the national director of Cooking Matters, its food skills education program for low-income families. She is also the treasurer of the board at Pine Forest Children’s Center.

LouAnn Head Shot compressed LouAnn Beninati, Regional Manager (St. Albans, Morrisville  and Middlebury Regions), 1-802-578-5087

Throughout her career LouAnn has focused on advocacy, consulting and teaching with a goal toward workforce development for the child care profession. She most recently worked as a STARS coordinator and prior to that she was the director of Robin’s Nest Children’s Center in Burlington.  She supports VB5 projects and initiatives in her role as regional manager in the St. Albans, Morrisville and Middlebury regions.


Sharron Harrington, Regional Manager (Bennington, Brattleboro and Rutland Regions), 1-802-681-8382

Sharron is the regional manager for the Bennington, Brattleboro and Rutland regions. Most recently she was the resource development and referral specialist for Bennington County’s Community Based Child Care Support Services housed at BCCCA/ Sunrise Family Resource Center. She has been an active member of the Quality Task Force Committee of the Bennington Building Bright Futures Council and the statewide Professional Preparation and Development committee.  Prior to this work, she was a toddler and preschool teacher, advertising sales director and professional photographer.

DIdi HarrisDidi Harris, Regional Manager (Burlington, Springfield and Hartford Regions), 1-802-343-7450

Didi is a strong advocate for enhancing professional opportunities for child care providers and increasing high-quality care for Vermont’s young children. As a regional manager, her support and leadership will focus on the Burlington, Hartford and Springfield regions. She has 30 years of experience in the early childhood field having held teaching and administrative positions in a variety of settings including 20 years at the Greater Burlington (VT) YMCA.

Lorraine 573-492Lorraine Vernet, Regional Manager (Newport, Barre and St. Johnsbury Regions),  1-802-760-8878

Lorraine’s considerable experience in the child care profession has positioned her well for her role as a regional manager in the Newport, Barre and St. Johnsbury regions.  Previously, she served as the resource development specialist for the Lamoille Family Center (2000-2013), the Lamoille Starting Points coordinator, and was a member of the Lamoille Building Bright Futures Council. Earlier on and for over 2 decades, she was a center director, a preschool teacher and a toddler teacher. 

meCathy Reitz, Data and Technology, 1-802-877-3247

Cathy works with the VB5 team to track and disseminate information on project-wide progress, identify challenges and outcomes, and provide focus on effective use of technology to support mentors and staff.  Her contributions to the team allow the VB5 program to help ensure positive results for Vermont’s youngest children. Over the past 15 years, she has worked with Bloomberg Financial Markets in the role of database management, and with organizations such as PrO Unlimited and Vermont Community Foundation in roles of financial operations support. She has also held volunteer board positions including at Evergreen Preschool in Vergennes, VT.  Her experience helps us ensure that the data we follow is timely and accurate and the service related to data and technology for our mentors is a top priority.  Cathy is a graduate of the Snelling Center Early Childhood Leadership Institute Class of 2016.

er photoErin Roche, Program Development and Evaluation Manager, 1-802-382-0825

After 9 years of community-based research and evaluation at the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont, Erin joined VB5 in 2017. Erin has published widely in areas of child health (especially childhood obesity), rural economic development, and quality of life. Erin was a Peace Corps Fellow and Transportation Research Fellow while completing an MS in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Before moving to Vermont in 2006, Erin provided strategic and field marketing for technology companies, and then spent 3 years traveling, primarily with the US Peace Corps in the South Pacific.

Brenda Schramm, Mentor and Statewide Projects, 1-802-379-7267

Brenda is an active member of the Bennington county community, whose work in early childhood education is focused on promoting and facilitating quality in the registered and licensed programs she mentors. She is an effective mentor to other providers and programs, drawing on her professional experience as former owner of and preschool teacher at Chapel Road Preschool and Children’s Center for 13 years. She is a current  member of the Bennington County Child Care Association Board of Directors,  the Bennington Building Bright Futures Council, the STARS Oversight Committee and a graduate of the Snelling Center Early Childhood Leadership Institute Class of 2015.

SethSeth F. Hibbert, Communications Coordinator, 1-802-858-5459

Seth’s life and career have revolved around the written word. He graduated with a BA in English and an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Hartford in 1999 and was firmly entrenched in the Vermont publishing world as an editor for Dartmouth Journal Services and Ashgate Publishing. With his young son serving as his inspiration and feeling the pull to use his writing skills to change the world, he answered the call from Let’s Grow Kids and Vermont Birth to Five in 2015.

Jms halloween 2015Jackie SpragueConsultant, 1-802-238-2901

If someone had asked Jackie in her early years of college if she would be a teacher, let alone an early childhood educator, she would have laughed and said, “no way.”  Somehow early childhood education found her and she has never regretted it. She has worked for public schools as a teacher and early childhood special educator and in private programs as director. She held the office as Vermont AEYC president and represented Vermont in Washington, DC.  She was also the president of Vermont Division of Early Childhood. She currently consults for the Agency of Education and teaches graduate classes at Champlain College. Her work for VB5 is primarily with VCPC grants, but also supports early education licensure and early educators using TS GOLD.  What fun!

Mary Lynn Riggs, Consultant, 1-802-370-4234

Mary Lynn provides consultation and support through the Vermont Community Preschool Collaborative. She spent much of her career in public schools advocating for quality early care and education at the state and local level. As a principal and director of curriculum, she facilitated successful school and community preschool partnerships in both rural and urban communities. She is skilled at forging working partnerships between private providers and public schools under Act 166.  Her goal is to support a variety of high-quality preschool options in each community to fit the needs of families of young children.

Sherry_573-492Sherry CarlsonConsultant, 1-802-877-2420

Sherry is an integral voice and effective driver of early childhood education programs, partnerships and new initiatives. She leverages her consulting roles with VB5 (lead consultant for the Vermont Community Preschool Collaborative and project development consultation for other VB5 projects) and the Northern Lights Career Development Center for Early Childhood Professionals to facilitate change. She is former director of the Greater Burlington (VT) YMCA Early Childhood and Family Programs.