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Folklife center hires new education director

MIDDLEBURY — Mary Rizos is the newest staff member to join the dedicated crew at the Vermont Folklife Center. As Education Director, she leads the team in developing outreach to Vermont schools and organizes and conducts workshops in documentary work at the center’s Middlebury headquarters and around the state.
Rizos was a high school and middle school Spanish teacher for 12 years before joining the Folklife Center. During that time, she also taught photography and Latin American Studies, and led students on international trips built around history, identity, community, and cultural exchange.
“There are so many great things happening in education in Vermont right now. I’m excited to have joined the Vermont Folklife Center and to be able to support teachers’ work and students’ learning through inquiry and media-making,” said Rizos.
With a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, and an M.A. in Journalism with an emphasis on documentary photojournalism from the University of Montana, Rizos is exceptionally qualified to build the Center’s statewide education programs, Folklife Center Management said.
 “The purpose and mission of the Folklife Center’s Discovering Community education program is something I believe in and care about deeply: cultivating an attitude of openness and curiosity, examining our relationship to media and culture, and supporting young people in expressing themselves, exploring their interests, and realizing their important roles in community and society,” said Rizos.
Rizos has also produced multimedia work exploring the culture of bodybuilding, daily life on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and microfinance and water access in the Andes. She has worked collaboratively with students on projects about their personal and educational experiences in rural Vermont.

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