check children for ticks daily



Our Board

Current Village School Board

Elizabeth W. Davenport

Wendy Davenport fell in love with the Village School when she visited as a prospective parent 25 years ago. Since then her two children have graduated from the Village School and consider it to be an integral part of their education. She has served on the Board for many years and has worked as the Curriculum Director at the school for over 10 years. When she is not at the Village School, she is teaching at the Chicken Coop School in Orange. She has a Masters in Education with an emphasis in English. She taught 5th and 6th grade for 15 years at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge and two years of 6th grade at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. Her husband, Ben Holmes, is the founder of the Farm School.

Rise Richardson

Rise Richardson has been Director of the school for over 20 years. She grew up in Chicago, graduating with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois. After living in Israel for a year, and then a year in England, she settled in Massachusetts. In the 1980s, Rise was part of a group of local parents that began looking at education, and serving the needs of both their own children, and the children in this area. They formed the Village School in 1989, and it has been a labor of love since. Rise and her husband John have a small farm, with maple sugaring, sheep, hay fields, pastures, woods and gardens. When not at the school, you can find her in the summer blissfully weeding in the garden, and in the winter, cross country skiing through the woods. Rise has three grown children, the youngest of whom was lucky enough to be the first Village School graduate.

Catherine Szal

Cathy Szal has taught science and coordinated the science/nature program at the Village School for 19 years. Cathy is an aquatic biologist working primarily on biomonitoring studies of Vermont upland stream sites. Cathy graduated from U.V.M. with a B.S. in Biology. She has managed a water quality laboratory and worked with an alternative energy firm. She is the mom of two thriving Village School alumni. She considers it an honor to sit on the board of the school that has been such an important part of her children’s rich childhood.

Walter Thornton

Walter Thornton has been a member of the Village School Board of Directors for the past 10 years. He is a retired structural engineer with 40 years experience specializing in the facade repair and restoration of historic buildings. He has been a resident of Royalston since 1981 when he and his wife moved there to build their home. He is the vice president of the Millers River Educational Cooperative, which founded the Village School in 1989, and was also a member of the Village School Board of Directors in the early 1990’s. Walt oversees the renovations of the existing buildings at Camp Caravan, and was project manager for the construction of the new Village School building at Camp Caravan.

Rick Walton

Rick Walton graduated from college in the late 1970’s and immediately moved to Boston. He discovered the Millers River Educational Cooperative (MREC) and pitched in all of its projects, the most ambitious being starting the Village School in 1989. During a 17-year stint as a software engineer, Rick moved west and soon after started the Gardner Ale House Brewery and Restaurant in Gardner, MA, with a view to re-establishing and growing urban community. Through the years, Rick has remained a member and ally of MREC and the Village School and has sent all three of his children there. He has twice been a board member of the Village School, his most recent term having started in 2014. Rick resides in Phillipston, MA, but spends much of his time in Gardner at the Ale House dreaming up new projects appropriate for the surrounding community. Rick gladly trumpets the Village School to his Facebook faithful whenever the opportunity arises.

Gwen Richardson

Gwen was in the first preschool class in the founding year, 1989, of the Village School and is now a parent of a Village School preschooler. Gwen is currently the Sales Director at Repurpose, Inc., a brand of sustainable, compostable home goods found in grocery stores nationwide.   Gwen has a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media & Cultural Studies from Northeastern University. After spending 10 years in Boston and 10 years in Los Angeles, Gwen and her family are now happily residing in Petersham, in north-central Massachusetts, the Village School being a primary draw back to her local roots where nature and community give roots to the next generation.

Will Szal

Will Szal graduated in the Village School’s second class, and is the step-parent of a recent graduate. His background is regenerative agriculture and alternative economics. In 2017, he helped start a blockchain called Regen Network, focused on monitoring and compensating responsible land management. He currently serves on the Boards of Regen Foundation, Terra Genesis International, PBC, and on the Steering Board of Redesigning for Resilience and Regeneration. Will enjoys getting out on his mountain bike, in summer or winter. He lives in Montague, MA along with his partner, stepchild, and cobberdog.

Misty Perez Truedson

Misty is the parent of two current Village School students.  She is Chief of Staff of Free Press, a non-profit devoted to press freedom.  Misty also shepherds the Village School annual Auction and Pancake Breakfast.


Interested in Learning More?

Contact us to speak with the director & set up a tour.

The Village School

253 S. Royalston Rd
Royalston, MA 01368