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Dexter Mahaffey

Head of School - Appointed 2014

Graduate Degrees

  • M.A. English, Bread Loaf School of English
  • Ph.D. English, University of Louisville

Undergraduate Degree

  • B.A. Sociology/Anthropology, Middlebury College

Best VCS Moment

Having lunch with students the day I interviewed, listening to them speak with such passion about their experience at VCS.

Inspirational Quote

“What you want to do as a teacher is to make people aware of the complexity of experience, of the complexity of the world—that our little corner is real and very important, but it’s not the whole. And we should make the effort to understand as much of the rest as we can possibly manage. This is not a threatening position: it is an enriching one. If we can do it, we will be richer, we will be better. This is what education should aim to do: to draw out from us what is there so that it can interact with what’s outside.” –Chinua Achebe

Interests and Hobbies

World literature, writing, cultural exchange, trails, Ghana, small farming, music, and angling

Brief Biography

Having spent much of my childhood in Kentucky (the home of my father’s family), I followed my mother’s roots to New England for college at Middlebury, where I rode a bicycle on every Vermont back road I could find, fell in love with the Long Trail, and discovered Irish folklore. Over the years, I’ve worked at public and private schools at the primary, secondary, and university level around the country, in a variety of teaching and administrative roles. Along the way I pursued a master’s degree at Bread Loaf and a doctorate at Louisville, where I indulged my passion for international relations through a dissertation on the historical rhetorics of Africa. I have always enjoyed writing, at times working as a journalist, and at others on poetry and fiction. But above all else, I enjoy time with my wife Era and our two sons Iain and Kai, who constantly remind me of the essential and inspiring vocation that education is.

Scholarship. Community. Global Responsibility.

At Vermont Commons School, our goal is to engage students with their world. We achieve this through programs and a curriculum grounded in local and global involvement.