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The Board:
Our board of directors consists of a diverse and motivated group of women committed to the success and vibrancy of girls in our community. Their wide range of expertise is instrumental in achieving the overall goals of GEMS.

Kara Merrill


Kara is in her 10th year as a school counselor at Randolph Union High School. She has been involved with GEMS since its infancy. Kara is a firm believer in the power of summer programming from her years as both a camper and counselor at Lotus Lake Summer Camp in Williamstown, VT. Kara loves the Randolph community and her work at the high school. She is one of the first people to get to know students as 7th graders and remains in touch right up until she helps them work on their post-secondary planning, RU has been an amazing place for Kara to begin her school counseling practice, and GEMS is a way to be involved in the greater community. Kara lives with her husband and two small children in Warren, VT. Kara and her family spend lots of time skiing, hiking, swimming and just enjoying the outdoors.

Shelby Girard


Shelby joined the GEMS Board in 2021 because she has witnessed and appreciates the organization's unique approach to helping young people build the confidence and connections they need to thrive in middle school. She is the Development Director at Rural Vermont, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for the social, ecologic, and economic health of our farms and communities. She brings her background in fundraising and financial management to GEMS, and currently serves as Treasurer. She lives in Brookfield with her husband, their two kids, and dog. She also serves on the volunteer committee that brings programming and community events to the Old Town Hall in Brookfield's Pond Village.

Ann Howard


Is a life-long resident of Braintree who has a BA in Literature from Castleton State College. She has been working with older adults for the past 10 years, mostly in the Lebanon region, first as a PCA and then as a Care Coordinator and Office Administrator for a non-medical home care agency. Growing up in a multigenerational family, Ann has always been comfortable with people of all ages. She enjoys serving her community, cooking and crochets blankets with more enthusiasm than skill. She hopes to bring kindness and curiosity to the role of SASH coordinator!

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