Board Members

Chris Arieta Board Secretary

Chris Arieta began meditating with VIMC in 2006 after taking introductory classes with Jack Millet, Claire Stanley and Cheryl Wilfong, founding teachers. Chris has enjoyed being on the set-up committee and particularly enjoyed welcoming new meditators to the Sunday Sittings. Chris retired from Landmark College after 28 years where she worked as an advisor, Department Chair and Director of First-Year Academic Programming and Placement. She lives in Brattleboro with her husband. She is interested in cultivating a spiritual life and has been a committed yoga practitioner for 40 years. She finds happiness in nature and in her garden. She also loves spending time with her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, who live in Keene, NH. Currently, she is Secretary of the Board and representative to the Administrative Committee.

Sarah Cooper Ellis

Sarah Cooper-Ellis has been a student and practitioner with VIMC since its beginning and before that carried the basket with Solar Hill Sangha. She has attended retreats at IMS. Kate Wylie, Claire Stanley, and Cheryl Wilfong are among her influential teachers. Sarah is a retired early childhood teacher. She authored the novel Landing and is working on other projects. Sarah joined the board in 2022. She volunteers at Vermont Insight in many ways, including being on the setup committee.

Susan Dreyer Leon

Susan Dreyer Leon is an assistant teacher at Vermont Insight. She has been practicing meditation in the Insight tradition since 1999, first at New York Insight Meditation Center and then at VIMC. Susan was Board Chair from 2014 to 2020 and currently serves as the Teacher’s Council representative. Susan is a full-time faculty member in the Education Department at Antioch University New England . Susan lives in Springfield, Vermont with her family.

Denise Glover

Denise Glover has been practicing for 20+ years and practiced in the Engaged Buddhism tradition with Thich Nhat Hanh for many of those years. She came to Brattleboro in 2017 and started sitting with VIMC shortly after. Denise is a dedicated practice leader and volunteer at Vermont Insight.  She joined the board in 2022.

Drew Kovach

Drew Kovach is a co-founder of Vermont Insight Meditation Center and a dedicated practice leader. Drew started his practice in 1975 at the New York Zen Center under the guidance of Rev. Kando Nakajima, Roshi. A retired therapist, he lives in Brattleboro. He is currently serving on the board as the representative of the Practice Leaders.

Lisa Schmitt
Board Treasurer

Lisa Schmitt‘s practice started when she partnered with the Austin (Texas) Shambala Center to provide meditation instruction for middle school girls, which inspired her to develop a regular practice of her own and participate in weekend retreats. She is currently strengthening her practice at VIMC. She has recently retired from a 30-year career in education, teaching math and science in schools on the East Coast and in California. Lisa completed her formal career in education as the head of a girls’ school in Austin, Texas, but she continues to work with families and children as a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Lisa is an avid gardener, hiker and camper and especially enjoys exploring state parks. She lives in West Chesterfield, New Hampshire. She serves as VIMC Treasurer.

Paula Swenson
Paula Swenson

Paula Swenson joined the Vermont Insight Sangha in 2011, primarily studying with Jack and Claire. She served as Board secretary from 2015 to 2021. She works closely with VIMC’s administrative assistant, teachers, and other board members. She rejoined the board in 2023 as the board representative to the Elder’s Council.

Steve Wangh
Board Chair

Steve Wangh first studied meditation with Joseph Goldstein in 1974. Since moving to Brattleboro in 2014, he has been practicing at VIMC and is now President of the Board. Steve is a playwright, author, director and acting teacher. He is Arts Professor Emeritus at New York University.