Kristin Douthitt, Director of Lower SchoolKristin Douthitt studied child development, mathematics and elementary education at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her career in education began in 1993 in a kindergarten classroom with her own beloved kindergarten teacher. Before coming to VMS she taught Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and Tennessee. In 2001, Kristin joined VMS as a kindergarten teacher and then moved to third grade homebase in 2002. During this time, she took on various leadership roles including the K-12 department chair for mathematics and then the lower school division chair. She took over the leadership of the lower school in 2018. Kristin believes that positive school culture is the backbone of successful student learning. Nurturing a collaborative relationship grounded in common goals and relational trust and communication establish the child at the center of their lifelong learning with a supportive team encouraging them through their journey. This empowers and motivates early learners to be deeply engaged in their education, building rapport with others and using their curiosity to build knowledge. Kristin encourages innovation and best practices in teaching through risk taking, professional development and research. Since all students are different, it is important to rely on data, intervention and constant reflection of practices and progress to provide each student with a quality education that speaks to the VMS mission. Kristin believes that the lower school should be a safe, nurturing and encouraging environment for students to learn and demonstrate a growth mindset.
Kabe ErkenBrack, Director of Middle SchoolKabe ErkenBrack is a Colorado native who was born in Grand Junction and grew up in Denver. After graduating high school (and a brief stint working at Casa Bonita), he lived in Germany as an apprentice stone mason for a year. After carving stone, Kabe studied Philosophy and the History of Math and Science at St. John’s College in Annapolis. Upon graduating, he spent a year playing music in Austin, Texas before returning to the Washington, D.C. area to begin his work as a teacher.
In 2006, Kabe was hired as a middle school special education teacher in a low-income neighborhood in Washington, D.C. There he learned how to earn the respect of students and the nuances of discipline. After the charter school, he taught Math and was the Special Education Coordinator at the Field School, in Washington, D.C. Next, he traveled to Boston and earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, while interning at the MATCH Public Charter School and the Perkins School for the Blind. Kabe joined VMS in 2011, where he also teaches Math and Philosophy and emphasizes that “Education is more than sitting in desks and learning what people tell you.”
Maggie Pavlik, Director of Upper SchoolAs a native of Chicago, Maggie discovered the Colorado Rocky Mountains at the base of Pike’s Peak, where she attended and graduated from Colorado College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Colorado Teaching Certificate. Maggie worked in Littleton, at The Mackintosh Academy, a school for talented and gifted students, as a middle school generalist. She moved to Vail to be part of the Vail Mountain School Faculty in 2001. Her first summer in the valley, Maggie taught for SummerQuest, and she found that private schools also served an important public purpose. Today, Maggie still serves on the SummerQuest board. After several years as a middle school humanities and math teacher, Maggie served as the Middle School Director at VMS.
When Maggie’s children were young, she worked part time for VMS in the role of ski tutor, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail Liaison, and an 11th grade English teacher. Eventually, Maggie took the position of Academic Dean to the Upper School and then moved into the position of Upper School Director in 2017. Maggie continues to believe in the power of rapport based learning and is honored to work with incredibly talented faculty and students.