Board of Directors & Staff

PIE is extremely fortunate to have a wonderful team of board members, both currently on the board, and those who have served in the past. PIE’s board is made up year-round residents, seasonal residents, parents, community members and teachers. Board meetings are held bi-monthly with an annual meeting towards the end of the summer.

PIE Board

President – Kris Davidson

Kris was born and raised on Vinalhaven and has roots going back seven generations. In 1999, she became the founding president of Partners in Island Education and led the fundraising efforts that built Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall and the Vinalhaven school library.

Kris is an accomplished pianist and taught music in the Vinalhaven and North Haven schools for almost two decades. She currently owns Davidson Realty, the leading real estate agency on the Fox Islands, and just started a new business venture “SKÅL!”, a speakeasy specializing in live music, full bar, and small plates. In her spare time, Kris participates and consults on many community projects.

Kris is passionate about preserving Vinalhaven’s history while moving into the future. She is very pleased to be serving again as the president of PIE.

Vice President – Amy MacDonald

Amy is a children’s book author and the executive director of the DaPonte String Quartet, a Mid-Coast-based chamber music ensemble. She is a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and does lots of work teaching writing to both students and teachers, as well as other adults. She has also worked as a freelance journalist.

When not on Vinalhaven, Amy lives in Falmouth, ME.  She has three grown children and a passle of grandchildren who live too far away for her taste.

Secretary – Patricia Paquet

Pat first came to Vinalhaven in 2003, when she was hired as the middle school math teacher. She taught middle school math until 2010, when she moved to teaching 5th grade. Originally from Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado, Pat received her B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1992, with a major in Environmental Biology and minor in Mathematics.

Pat recently received her Masters Certification in Proficiency Based Education. She serves as the Chair of PIE’s Vinalhaven School Enrichment Committee (VSEC).

Treasurer – William “Sandy” Lieber, MD

Sandy has been a summer resident of the Fox Islands since 1936, arriving for the first time at the age of two months. He has been a Women’s Health Care provider and medical administrator in Connecticut, the Caribbean and Africa, with early medical training and provision of care on Vinalhaven.

Sandy has had a lifelong engagement with community agencies and resources to improve educational, cultural, and medical access and services in Connecticut, Maine and overseas.

On Vinalhaven, Sandy served for many years on the board of Island Community Medical Services, and has been a driving force in PIE’s college scholarship program since its inception in 2006.

Andy Breslau

Andy brings more than 30 years of experience in media, not for profit management, communications and government to the PIE board. He is currently Senior Vice President for the Alliance for Downtown New York — an organization dedicated to the health and prosperity of Lower Manhattan.

Previous to this, he served as President of The Nation Institute and as Executive Director of City Futures. Andy has also worked at CNN, and was Director of Special Projects for the Democratic National Committee. From 1990 to 1995, he served as the Director of Public Affairs for Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger.

Andy lives on Manhattan, another 23 sq. mile island, and has been a summer resident on Vinalhaven for more than 30 years. He plays a mean blues harmonica and has brought a number of outstanding musicians to Vinalhaven for benefit concerts in support of PIE.

Karen Burns

Karen first came to Vinalhaven in 2003 as a Performing Arts Fellow through the Island Institute. After completing her fellowship, she taught high school English on Vinalhaven until 2013. Karen received her undergraduate degree in English and Psychology from Amherst College, and earned her master’s degree in Teaching (MAT) from the University of Maine, Orono.

She is currently the Chief Talent Officer of the Island Institute – an organization dedicated to creating a sustainable economic life for Maine’s island and Coastal communities. At the Institute, she works to maximize the contributions of individuals through personal and organizational professional development.

Karen lives on Vinalhaven with her husband, Bruce, and their two children, Brandon and Natalie, who attend Vinalhaven School. In addition to serving as the Programs Chair of PIE, she has been a board member of the Vinalhaven Players and Island Village Childcare.

Wanatha Garner

Wanatha grew up in Tennessee, studied zoology and architecture in college, and moved to New York after graduate school to work with an architectural firm. She and her family settled in Brooklyn and spent summers on Vinalhaven, where she feels her three children grew up in an environment that allowed them to roam and learn for themselves.

For the past ten years, Wanatha has lived on Vinalhaven year-round as the owner of Long Cove Farm, where she enjoys raising Merino sheep, marketing their wool and meat, and weaving and dyeing yarn –fulfilling her childhood dream of living on a farm.

A long-time supporter of PIE, Wanatha believes that PIE opens island children to the wider world with exposure to a variety of ideas and hand-ons experiences through art, music, and performance. “We never know which spark will set afire the imagination of our children”.

Amy Jo Lear

Amy’s connection to Vinalhaven started generations ago, dating back to a number of the original settlers. After careers off-island working at a law office or as a licensed insurance agent, Amy wanted a less confining and more adventurous life, so she returned to Vinalhaven with her husband and son to help manage and restore an old island inn.

She is also the Theater Manager for Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall. Her most important job, however, has been raising four daughters, trying to keep up with her high school age son Keaton, and spending as much time possible with her four grandchildren.

While summers are busy welcoming guests from around the world, winters are for pursuing her passion as a genetic genealogist helping reunite individuals and families with their biological past.

Drew McGhee

Drew is a teacher and artist based in Brooklyn, New York, where she is a long time master teacher at  Saint Ann’s School. She has spent the last twenty summers on Vinalhaven, painting, making other art, and spending time with her husband and three children.

Drew grew up in Chicago and is a graduate of Stanford University. She is a former governor of the Brooklyn Heights Association and currently serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society and the Island Institute, in Rockland, Maine.

Kelly Richards

Kelly was an elementary teacher for over 40 years, primarily at The Paideia School in Atlanta, GA. Since 2010 she has taught mindfulness to children and adults and recently helped to create a K-12 curriculum called SEE (Social Emotional and Ethical) Learning that is currently being introduced to schools around the world.

After 30 deeply satisfying family summers here, Kelly and her husband, Peter (also a teacher), made VH their permanent home in 2014. They love the opportunity to give back to this small community that has meant so much to them, especially by volunteering in the school.

Kelly appreciates the way PIE extends each child’s educational reach, by offering interesting new things to learn about during, after and outside of school. She serves on the VH School Enrichment and Programs committees.

Abigail Trafford

Abby is a writer and public speaker. As a journalist with Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post, Abbie’s work focused on science and medicine, and the impact of longevity on society and private lives, covering major stories from landings on the moon to the politics of health care. Her books include: My Time: Making the Most of the Bonus Decades after Fifty, As Time Goes By, and Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life.

A long-time supporter of PIE, Abbie has come to Vinalhaven School several times to lead a “Vinalhaven Press Corps” of student-journalists, who report the news of the island and explore the issues facing the community.

Abbie is a life-long “Vinalhavenite”, whose family just celebrated 100 years on the island. During the winter months, Abbie lives in Boston.

Karen Walbridge

Karen and her husband arrived on Vinalhaven in 1973. Since then they have returned every summer, eventually with kids in tow. She writes, “We love the island and the close-knit community. Our kids, now married (one on Vinalhaven), return with their spouses and kids.

Over the last ten years we have become more involved with activities in the community. I got interested in PIE through the SCAMPS summer art program that my granddaughter Hailey has been involved in and loved. I am impressed by the imagination and vision of PIE and hope that I can somehow bring my perspective as an educator and summer resident to use.”

Karen worked for 28 years in the Office of College Advising at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA, eventually becoming the associate director.

Robb Warren

Robb was born and raised on Vinalhaven in a fishing family. He received his Bachelors of Science in International Affairs from UMaine in 1987, and soon thereafter, his teaching certificate. Since then, Robb has taught every grade between 3rd and 12th, both on and off island, with a brief foray into school administration. He is currently in his third year teaching grade 4-5 ELA and social studies at Vinalhaven School. Besides the PIE board, Robb is active on a number of Vinalhaven community boards and committees, including the Planning Board, Islands Community Medical Center, PIE’s Vinalhaven School Enrichment Committee, and the Vinalhaven School Leadership Team.

Robb’s son, Trey, received his degree in Civil Engineering from UMaine in December 2017. Daughter Lily is thriving in her third year at the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut.

Alexandra Wettlaufer

Alex is a Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also the Director of the Plan II Honors Program. Alex and her husband Art have been coming to Vinalhaven for more than 30 years, and her children have spent every summer of their lives on the island.

Alex joined the PIE Board in 2015, and has enjoyed working on PIE’s Scholarship Committee with its range of scholarships to support student travel and education.

Alex and both of her children loved participating in Experiment in International Living (EIL) summer programs, and she is very excited about the PIE/EIL partnership that provides an annual scholarship for a Vinalhaven student to do the same.

Honorary Members

Patricia Colhoun
Barbara Davidson
Kristine Davidson
Rona Hokanson
Elizabeth Howard
Margaret Qualey
Sheri Romer-Day
Ernest Stockwell (1923-2011)

PIE Staff

Executive Director – Alice Bissell

Alice first came to Vinalhaven to visit her family, and stayed to marry fisherman Steve Rosen. Together they raised two children, who both attended Vinalhaven School and went on to graduate from Maine colleges.

Alice has a BA in Visual Arts and a MAEd in Arts Education. She is passionate about the importance of education, and the key role the arts play in learning and creativity. While her children were in school, she headed up the Vinalhaven School Enrichment program and was instrumental in establishing the school’s art program. She also taught art and photography at North Haven Community School for 20 years before retiring to become ED for PIE in 2015.

Alice feels that being PIE’s ED is an ideal way for her to continue using her skills to make a difference in her community – even though she is (supposedly) retired!

Business Manager – Julie Peterson

Julie Peterson is a Vinalhaven native and year-round resident. After having moved off the island and working for Crowe Rope Company for 5 years, she returned to Vinalhaven to raise her children. Julie has 3 daughters who keep her on her toes – 2 in college and a 4 year old! Besides her girls, reading, crafting and traveling add pleasure to her life.

With an associate degree in Accounting, she has been working for Partners in Island Education since 2002. Along with PIE, Julie also keeps books for Andrews Plumbing & Heating, the Union Church and several island lobstermen.  Julie has also enjoyed serving on several community committees over the years, including the Vinalhaven School Board and the Vinalhaven 4th of July Committee.