Staff Bios

TDI 2018

We typically have 20-30 staff at TDI Johnson each June, depending on enrollment.  Some staff members have a Masters in Gifted Education or are experienced teachers, some are experts in their fields, some are young adult alumni, and some are alumni who are now old enough to be experts in their fields!  We have an incredibly strong number of returning staff each year.

Emily Bogue

Emily was a camper at the inaugural kids’ TDI in 1999 and became one of its first alum teachers over 17 years ago. She is now a Quality Engineer Developer on the Photoshop team at Adobe, where she puts her passion for digital art and design, her automation skills, and her ability to break anything to productive use. In her past lives, she’s been a manager of non-profit programming and communications, tutor, freelance designer/illustrator, commercial background actor, and even a spy. Emily has lived in New York City since graduating from Wellesley College in 2008 with a B.A. in Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences, and began studying improv and sketch at Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center in 2010.

Lucy Bogue

Lucy Bogue

Lucy earned a Masters in Gifted Education from Johnson State College in 2002, has been co-director of TDI for well over a decade, and started the Leadership Program in 2004.  She is very happy that her two grown children, Emily and Max, have remained very involved in TDI for all that time.  Lucy also works in Colchester with her husband, Dave, at Professional Construction, Inc. as a construction estimator, and with developing some property they own in Alburgh, VT.  She sings as a hospice volunteer with the Noyana Singers for hospice patients.  Lucy is also the Executive Director of the Green Mountain Center for Gifted Education, TDI’s parent organization.


Max Bogue

Max graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2013 with a BS and MS in Computer Science. His passions include tennis, rock climbing, and video games. He has been a software engineer for Google, and is now working on an independent project while living in St. Louis, Missouri.


Nicole Dagesse

Nicole Dagesse is a Site Specific Dance artist and teacher.  Nicole earned her BFA in Dance and BS in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  After several years of dancing in the Boston area, Nicole moved to Boulder, Co. to pursue an MFA in Site Dance and Somatic Practices.   Nicole founded Murmurations Dance while living and working in North Carolina.  Now Murmurations has found its home in Vermont where Nicole lives with her incredible family.  Besides directing Murmurations Dance, Nicole teaches contemporary dance, aerial dance, and aerial yoga at Saint Michael’s College and North End Studios.  Learn more about her offerings at

Grady Farnum Rendino

Grady would very much like to believe he’s still thirteen years old. Since that’s starting to get hard, though, he figured teaching at summer camp was probably the next best option. He enjoys figuring out why people speak and write the way they do, and can usually be found analyzing your grammar in the middle of conversations.


Susan Flint

Susan has been attending TDI for 10 years, and has no intention of stopping now. She’s passionate about a lot of things, including writing, philosophy, TDI!

Will Frick

Will Frick is a longtime TDI veteran, and usually teaches the Computer Game Design and Rube Goldberg Machines strands. A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he currently works as a software engineer at in Burlington, Vermont.

Jackson Hall

Jackson Hall will be graduating from Thetford Academy in 2018 and is excited for college life. He loves to read, code, speedcube, play chess, fold origami, ski jump, and watch and play soccer, and is still trying to find a way for these skills to help him in the real world.

Jameson Hurd

Once a camper himself, Jameson hopes to make the TDI experience as mind-blowingly-awesome as it was for him.  A long time theatre enthusiast, veteran nerd, and now a biology major at UVM, Jameson deeply values the power behind fostering a love for learning.  As a result of his studies, he also likes puzzling on which chemical pathways make him want to embarrass himself in front of large groups of people.


 Nicolas Buonanduci

Nicolas Buonanduci is a third-year student at Boston College. He studies Hispanic Studies, U.S. History, and Faith/Peace/Justice. He has studied and interned at Universidad de Salamanca (Spain) as well as the University College Cork School of Law (Ireland). He has an interest in second-language acquisition, as well as immigration law with a focus on DREAMer children in the United States. Nic came to TDI as a 6th grade camper, and it has been the highlight of his year every since.


Lillian Ilsley-Greene

Lillian Ilsley-Greene Lillian is currently a freshman at the New School in New York, trying to decide on a major that will actually make her money someday. This will be her eighth year at TDI.


Bridget Iverson

Bridget graduated from the University of Vermont in 2015 with a BS in neuroscience. She now works as the Youth and Slam Poetry Coordinator at Young Writers Project, a Burlington-based nonprofit dedicated to building and showcasing youth voice. She loves books, experimental cooking, discussing biology with her housemates Jameson and Grady, and finding the places where science and art intersect.


Ellen Koier

Ellen returns for her 17th year as co-director of TDI. She has run the Gifted and Talented Program at Cambridge Elementary School for the past 30 years and is an active member of the Vermont Council for Gifted Education, where she coordinates an “On the Road” Saturday morning outreach program.


Max Kriff

Max Kriff just graduated from high school and is vastly disappointed that becoming an adult doesn’t just mean icecream for breakfast.  You can call him by his last name if having two people named Max becomes too perplexing.


Sierra Makaris

Sierra loves pretty things and spooky things in equal measure. She writes freelance and never leaves the house without a vintage hat. In 2015, she was part of the inaugural crew for Spookyville Vermont, a children’s Halloween attraction.  2017 marks her fifteenth TDI.


Mary Markley

Mary just graduated from Burlington High School and is beyond excited to spend another summer crafting dragon eggs, playing the nose flute, and eating ice cream at every meal. She is hoping to major in linguistics and possibly German, but she’s also interested in evolutionary biology and cognitive science. When she’s not browsing Wikipedia’s rabbit holes, she likes watercolor painting, listening to nursery rhymes in other languages, and making stuff in the woods.


 Carol Story

Carol founded the Talent Development Institute in 1998 as part of her responsibilities as a Professor of Education at Johnson State College.  She also directed the graduate program in the Education of  the Gifted while at the college.  She continues to enjoy TDI in her retirement, serves on the board of the Green Mountain Center for Gifted Education and the Vermont Council for Gifted Education, and consults with families and schools regarding the nature and needs of gifted learners.

Cam Tagatac

As a long time camper, Cam has just graduated into full time staff member at TDI. After finishing senior year at Stowe high school he is looking toward a degree at video game design and development.


Ashley Stout

Ashley​ ​Stout​ ​is​ ​a​ ​writer,​ ​reader,​ ​photographer​ ​and​ ​creator.​ ​​ ​In​ ​the​ ​past,​ ​she​ ​ran​ ​her own​ ​photography​ ​business.​ ​​ ​Ashley​ ​has​ ​devoted​ ​much​ ​of​ ​her​ ​teaching​ ​career​ ​to Gifted​ ​Education.​ ​​ ​She​ ​currently​ ​teaches​ ​at​ ​Johnson​ ​Elementary​ ​School​ ​and​ ​loves to​ ​bring​ ​energy,​ ​fun​ ​and​ ​creativity​ ​into​ ​all​ ​she​ ​does.

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Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson has been involved with TDI as a camper, instructor, and advisor since 1999 (and is now a board member of the Green Mountain Center for Gifted Education).  He currently works, teaches, and researches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is about the closest one can get to still being at TDI, all of the time. Chris earned his B.A. at UMass-Amherst and his S.M. at MIT, and volunteers with a number of organizations that seek to support and develop academic talent and creative expression.


Bill Pinney

Bill first came to TDI as a third grader, not knowing then what an important driving force it would come to be in his life. Now a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying Bioengineering, Bill still looks forward to TDI each year, and working to make sure it is an amazing experience for the next generation of campers just as it was for him.



Alice Russell

Alice Russell is currently a freshmen at Manhattan College in New York City and she will be continuing her 10th year at TDI. She enjoys writing, reading, dogs, binge-watching scary movies, and art.


Colin Spencer

Colin Spencer loves disco, soccer, cookies, videogames, fresh air, fast cars, good television, art, Bowie, dogs, technology, hiking, foreign films, and Mexican food.  His goal is to learn the art of sound engineering and someday design sound equipment and musical instruments. Colin works for a young cyber-security company here in Vermont, helping protect businesses around the world from hackers.



Nathan Yaffe

Nathan is co-host and manager of CollegeHumor’s improvised comedy drawing YouTube Channel Drawfee. Before his show’s success, Nathan cut his chops illustrating articles and comics for CollegeHumor editorial while practicing improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center. Nathan graduated from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in fall 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing, which he only mentions whenever he has to write a bio.