Nancy LaVarnway

LaVarnway Named to Commission on Women

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Thursday April 04, 2013

Many know her as the woman who has coordinated the Career Development Center (CDC) at SBHS for the past 15 years. Soon, she’ll hold another title. Nancy LaVarnway was nominated by Commissioner Cathy Frey to join the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) and was appointed by Lt. Governor P. Scott and the Senate Committee on Committees as of March 13, 2013. 

“I will attend my first meeting at the State House on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  VCW meets the second Wednesday of each month during the morning time slot. I was extremely honored to be selected,” Lavarnway said. In this role, Ms. LaVarnway hopes “...that my breadth of experience will allow me to bring a fresh perspective to the Commission as we work to advance the status of women in Vermont.”

“This is a tremendous honor for Nancy, I can’t think of a better person to fill this important role.  Ms. LaVarnway is an amazing educator; she has been able to forge important connections with the business community in our region and beyond.  I am confident she will serve Vermont  honorably,” SBHS Principal Patrick Burke said.

Will she continue her work for the CDC? “Of course!” LaVarnway said. “This is a high energy, dynamic position that allows me to interact between multiple sectors, such as students, faculty, administrators, parents, businesses and the community at large.  There is always something new and exciting to learn.”

The CDC has been in operation since 1998, with the mission of educating and connecting students to career and community service opportunities. This can include one-time opportunities, such as lawn raking, or well-articulated opportunities for career exploration that extend beyond taking written surveys, such as short and long term internships. In some cases, the High School has given academic credit for experiences in the field. One of the major annual events of the CDC is the 83-vendor Career and Job Expo, which is organized by LaVarnway. This year’s Expo was  held April 2nd.

Emily Camardo, Student Representative to the School Board, is finding particular value in the CDC. As President of the Coalition for Community Service, she is doing a senior challenge, which is an independent capstone project facilitated by the CDC. Another young woman who has been affected  by the CDC is Emily Dewitt, a 2007 graduate of SBHS, who is now the outreach coordinator for Women Helping Battered Women. She was a mentor at Central School and as a result of that experience, realized that she did not have any high school volunteers at WHBH. She thought this would provide a valuable experience for teens. The creation of a teen resource center at WHBW, a coalition and peer advocacy program where teens can become partners, was an outgrowth of her experience.

It is clear that Ms. LaVarnway has a positive daily impact on the lives of the students, and will now be able to extend her reach even farther through her new  position. The VCW is a non-partisan independent state agency dedicated to reducing discrimination against, and encouraging opportunities for, Vermont women.  The commission is governed by 16 volunteer Commissioners from across the state with experience in working towards improving the status of women. 

Before she came to SBHS, Lavarnway was the Academic Internship Coordinator at Saint Michael’s College. She also worked in Career Development and Cooperative Education at Norwich University. LaVarnway has also operated her own consulting business, CDS - Career Development Specialists -  specializing in career counseling to individuals, businesses and educational institutions.


SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent