Williston Heartworks Staff

The teaching faculty at the Heartworks, Renaissance, and Endeavour Schools have earned a certification in early or elementary education and/or have comparable educational training and experience. Throughout the year, teachers and directors participate in professional development programs, both on and off-site, aimed at expanding and improving their teaching skills and enhancing the mission of our Schools. We are dedicated to providing a program based on quality and consistency in all of the schools. All of our faculty and staff are asked to embrace a heartful and peaceful approach with children and to uphold the philosophies of the school.


Michele Karode

School Director
Michele joined Heartworks in the Spring of 2017 and spent her first year as the Director of our STEAMworks Preschool in Essex. Michele has a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle Level Education and a minor in Special Education from the University of Vermont. She spent two years in Massachusetts public schools teaching math, history and special education. While she enjoyed working with older children, she kept gravitating towards the curiosity of a child’s learning and now believes early education is the most important part of a child's development. She knew at a young age, while working as a camp counselor in her hometown in Ohio, that working with children was her passion.
In addition to education, she has also worked over three years in business as the JCrew Corporation’s training and hiring manager for Boston. Being a resource for her peers to develop their own skill sets in the workplace is something Michele feels grateful to have been a part of in this position. This business experience along with supervisory and management experience and her passion and degree in education, has made Michele so valuable as a School Director.

Michele truly enjoys working with children, having the opportunity to watch them grow and develop. She cherishes being a part of a child’s “ah ha!” moment, where they understand something for the first time.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, attending sporting events and trying out new restaurants.

Kelly Kennedy

Associate Director
Kelly joined Heartworks in 2016. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Vermont. Her education included an in-depth study of the exceptional early childhood schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. She has over 15 years of experience teaching toddler and preschool aged children in Vermont, Ohio, and New York City. Kelly's areas of interest in the classroom include designing beautiful child-centered spaces and activities, exploration and learning through music and body movement, and the fostering of self-esteem, social skills, and a love of learning. When Kelly is not working with children, she enjoys biking, gardening, reading, dancing, attending live music shows, and traveling.

Joanna May

Music Teacher Joanna has been singing and making music for most of her 47 years as a performer and teacher, and for hospice clients in our community as a singer/director with the VNA's Noyana Singers. She studied voice at Indiana University and received a Vermont teaching license and Master's degree in Integrating the Arts into Education from St. Michael's College. Joanna is a certified Music Together teacher and center director. Her most recent musical endeavor was a week-long workshop learning to lead Bobby McFerrin-inspired Circle Songs. She joined Heartworks in 2015 and is the mother of 2 music-loving boys. Joanna's best musical influences were her parents, whose love of music made for a lot of singing in the car.


Jayne Methot-Walker

STEAM Art Teacher
Jayne has a degree in Art Education and a B.S. from UVM in Animal Science. She has worked as a certified Art Educator in Vermont for over twenty years. She lives in Grand Isle with her retired husband. They are both active members of Lyric Theatre in Burlington, and have two daughters.  One is a senior at UVM and the oldest lives in Portland, Oregon. Jayne’s current hobby is learning the techniques of stand up comedy.


Heather Benton

Coordinator of Professional Development, STEAM and Substitute Teacher
Heather joined the Heartworks family in 2012. She is licensed by the State of Vermont in Early Education, and is certified to teach through the third grade level. A native Vermonter, she attended the University of Vermont and earned a B.A. in psychology. Heather resides in Essex Junction and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, crafting and serving as a Deacon in her church.