Our Staff

For information about visiting or joining Big Picture South Burlington, please contact our Program Coordinator, Kevin Downey, at 802.881.9344.

Big Picture Staff

Kevin Downey
Program Coordinator

Kevin joined the Big Picture team in 2015, as the Program Coordinator.  The opportunity to support students in creating their own educational path is what keeps him here.  Drawn towards working with youth from a young age, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in education and went on to obtain master degrees in Information Systems and School Leadership.  Early in his career he worked at outdoor science schools, led extended wilderness trips for teens, and taught snowboarding. He went on to teach ESL in Russia, create a leadership program for native youth in New Mexico and became a camp director in Maine.  He and his family have now settled happily into Vermont. His diverse teaching and leadership background has a common thread of believing that opportunities for growth and learning can be found in any environment. He sees this philosophy as a great match with BP students.  When Kevin is not at Big Picture, he loves pursuing any adventure in the mountains- these days usually accompanied by his dogs and daughter!

Michelle Goldsmith

Michelle is the newest addition to the Big Picture staff. She joined the program first as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in 2015, and then as a full-time advisor in 2018. Michelle has obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Vermont in Secondary Education and English, and a M. Ed. at the Upper Valley Graduate School of Education. She is particularly drawn to hands-on experiential education, working in various outdoor education and recreation capacities before joining SBHS. She believes deeply in personalized learning that challenges students to think critically in real-world contexts. When Michelle is not at Big Picture, she can typically be found hiking in the Green Mountains or paddling on Lake Champlain.

Jim Shields

Jim has enjoyed every minute of his time as an advisor since the start of Big Picture South Burlington in 2009. He brings a variety of teaching and learning experiences to his work at BPSB. After studying Art History at The University of Notre Dame (go Irish!), Jim attended Connecticut College for a Master of Arts in Teaching degree where he focused on studio art and art teaching. After that, he taught everything from stop-motion animation to 3D game design, and also turned into a high school administrator for a few years. In 2008, Jim joined the “Interest-Based Learning Committee” at SBHS to work with a group of students, teachers and administrators, in an attempt to help students make school feel more personally meaningful. This led to the creation of Big Picture South Burlington, where Jim joined as one of the first advisors, and where he happily remains to this day! When Jim is not at Big Picture (and sometimes while he is!) he can be found playing board games, drinking coffee, and spending time with his family.