Steve Holmes joins North Branch School


RIPTON — Teacher Steve Holmes has joined the ranks of the school faculty at The North Branch School in Ripton. Homes will teach seventh, eighth and ninth grade math to its students. In addition, Rose McVay, longtime NBS math and science teacher, will assume the additional role of associate head of school while continuing to teach the three-year science curriculum.
“Along with teaching math with enthusiasm, expertise, and humor, Steve brings a great number of interests and skills — from robotics, rocketry, drawing, coaching, juggling, computer programming, 3-D printing, photography, animation, carpentry, and a dozen other abilities and skills, Steve is a full-blown polymath,” says Tal Birdsey, head teacher at the school. “He also is highly adept at helping kids navigate growing up to become better people.” 
Holmes graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Colgate University and most recently taught 7/8th-grade math at Mill River and Otter Valley high schools. He was awarded the Mill River Union High School Rockstar Teacher Award in 2018. Prior to teaching, Steve worked for several years as Director of IT at Vermont Bicycle Touring and owned a custom software development company. He has also spent the last several years coaching youth ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball. Steve is the author and illustrator of two children’s books under the pseudonym JJ McGeester. 
“I was looking for the opportunity to teach in a smaller environment with kids who are eager to learn and excited to be at school,” said Holmes. “I believe that North Branch is just that place and I am impressed with the work that the school has done to offer personalized and robust education for its students”. 
McVay, with a degree in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, began at the school in 2004 and taught math for thirteen years. In 2016 she switched over to teaching science. She has been directly involved over the years with many administrative aspects of the school including scheduling and planning, curriculum design and direction, student counseling, hiring, and mentoring/supporting new teachers. 
“This appointment helps to more formally recognize the work Rose does at and for the school,” said Mia Allen, board chair. “Rose is an incredible teacher but also provides unending support to the students, school and NBS board in many other ways. We also felt this was an important step in the long-term planning for the school.”
“Rose’s commitment to the school has always been awe-inspiring,” said Birdsey. “She understands how the school works, how it has evolved, and what goes into making it work. She has the unique perspective of being close to the students but also believing in the larger mission of the school, and she has a desire to make sure the school thrives far into the future.”

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