Celebrate National Teachers’ Appreciation Week!

Left to right: Micale, Carolyn, Bobby, Mark, Sabra, and Leila

Left to right: Micale, Carolyn, Bobby, Mark, Sabra, and Leila

| Categories: Fairbanks Museum, Learning

Let’s say thank you!

It’s that very special time of year where we recognize the creative, extraordinary, and invaluable teachers who are there to guide us through our exploration and pursuit of knowledge!

Here at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium we are fortunate to have educators who are as diverse and unique in their characters as they are in their expertise and backgrounds. Each one holds the belief Franklin Fairbanks once held that inspired him to create the Museum, “to bring the world to St. Johnsbury, and bring St. Johnsbury to the world.”

Left to right: Micale, Carolyn, Bobby, Mark, Sabra, and Leila

Featured above may be faces you recognize, but the individuals you see below display the true passion and spirit of the teaching mission that is the Fairbanks Museum.


Carolyn Guest has been director and lead teacher of the Balch Nature Preschool for several years. She’s also facilitated other annual preschool programs such as Animal Buddies, Nature Reading Buddies, and coordinates with the Victorian Holiday Open House. Carolyn is looking forward to extending the preschool hours to full day for the first time in its history!




Micale provides educational volunteer assistance for Balch Nature Preschool, but also supports our Nature Gift Store. During our annual Astronomy Camp she was also found to be indispensable through her ability to connect with students one-on-one.





This gentleman may be perhaps the most recognized face of the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium! Bobby Farlice-Rubio has been providing scientific education, ranging from ancient Native American history to astrophysics, for over thirteen years. When not presenting a never forgettable planetarium show, he can often be found “out in the field” with groups of students identifying Vermont’s unique seasonal flora and fauna – although you may recognize him from his monthly space-science segments on WCAX!



This young lady can often be found dashing back and forth between the newly expanded Museum campus. Sabra is an AmeriCorps Member serving with the Lyndon Economic AmeriCorps Program. As a science educator, she provides an extensive range of classes and planetarium presentations. She provides on-site after school program enrichments, occasionally substitutes in the Balch Nature Preschool, and currently acts as director for the historic Franklin’s Guides program.



Long-time supporter of Vermont Public Radio, Mark Breen may be the most recognizable voice of the Museum since he’s been providing the state of Vermont weather resources for over 30 years! He may specialize in meteorology, but he also presents phenomenal space-science classes both in and outside the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium. Mark also has been the forefront of the Eye On The Sky broadcasts from the Fairbanks Museum, including writing the blog version of EOTS that includes regularly updated maps ranging from precipitation to radar, the Farm & Garden Forecasts, and the Skywatch Almanac Weather blog.


And the one who makes this all possible! The one who schedules and oversees all the classes, events, organizations, programs, and school visits, all the while teaching her own classes, Leila Nordmann. She’s been directing the educational programs for the Museum for over six years. In that time she has built the list of total Museum classes, spanning from insects to climate change, to its current standing of 70 available classes! You may not know it without asking, but if you ever need a butterfly identified you would want to bring it to Leila – and you’ve certainly seen many of her own personally pinned butterflies in our exhibits.


Of course, not all of our educators are featured here today. There’s the assistant Balch Nature Preschool teacher, Ashleigh; well known meteorologist Steve, who also provides all of Sunday’s planetarium shows; Oliver, who served as a science educator intern for several summers and will be returning as the new full-time planetarium director; Rebecca, who provides a class about the history and methods of taxidermy; and of course Christian, our educational volunteer assistant who specializes in space-science programming. Of course we can’t forget, our incoming summer interns, too!

Although the greater surrounding community of St. Johnsbury has come to know and love these faces, Vermont isn’t the only place our educators have reached. From conferences, partnering with other organizations, workshops, and even teaching other educators, everyone in some way has worked tirelessly to bring a piece of St. Johnsbury to the rest of the world.

It’s quite clear the world would be a very different place if it weren’t for the compassion and hard work of educators and teachers across the globe. In celebration of National Teachers’ Appreciation Week, the Museum educators would like to thank the students, teachers, staff, parents, volunteers, and supporters who have contributed and worked with them. It’s been our privilege to not only bring a closer look in to the natural world around us, but to motivate and foster stewardship of a healthy planet with you and our community.

Thank you!


Don’t forget, we currently have an opening for our educational team. If you are interested in becoming a part of this proactive team, we currently have one AmeriCorps Member position available within the Balch Nature Preschool. Click here to learn more.


The month of May is considered National Teachers’ Appreciation Month, while May 8 – May 12 is better recognized as National Teachers’ Appreciation Week and May 9 marking National Teachers’ Appreciation Day!


Tags: astronomy, Balch Nature Preschool, Education, Fairbanks Museum, geology, history, National Teachers Appreciation Week, Northeast Kingdom, schools, Science, teachers, vermont