Commencement Weekend 2016

It’s hard to believe that Commencement Weekend 2016 is right around the corner. The Class of 2016 will be awarded their diplomas the morning of Saturday, May 28 on the VVS quad at 9:30 am. The weekend is filled with celebrations to honor the class.

Festivities begin on Friday with an afternoon reception from 3:30 to 5:00 for seniors and their parents and hosted by Head of School Paul Amadio. An all-school bbq on the quad follows at 5:30 with dessert in Brady Hall after. We cap the night at with our annual Baccalaureate Night, a celebration of our top scholars, athletes, artists and activists at 6:30 in Brady Hall. A visual arts show will be up for viewing in Avery Gallery.

Saturday morning we will offer breakfast in the dining hall from 7:00 am until 9:00 am. The Class of 2016 will begin their procession to the quad at 9:30 am. Lunch is served after the ceremony at 11:30 am.

The Class of 2016 is Verde Valley School’s sixty-sixth graduating class.

Click here to register for Commencement Weekend.


As we continue to celebrate our alumni and their accomplishments, today, International Women’s Day, seems fitting that we honor Betsy Brown Braun, Class of ’66. 
Betsy Brown Braun copy

VVS Alumna Betsy Brown Braun, Class of ’66

Betsy Brown Braun, best selling author of Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents (HarperCollins) and You’re Not The Boss Of Me: Bratproofing Your Four To Twelve Year Old(HarperCollins), is a child development and behavior specialist, parent educator, multiple birth parenting consultant, and founder of Parenting Pathways®, Inc.

With over 40 years of experience in public and private early childhood and elementary education, Betsy has directed and founded school programs, taught in both public and private schools, has been a school director, and was the founding director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Early Childhood Center. She holds an MA in Human Development and teaching credentials from Pacific Oaks College.

In 2001 Betsy founded, Parenting Pathways Inc. to provide guidance to parents seeking the skills and confidence needed to negotiate the often-challenging parenting pathway. She leads parenting groups, seminars, and offers private parent consultations throughout the nation.

Her bestseller, Just Tell Me What To Say, now in its 11th printing, presents the tried and true tools her clients use daily to handle situations that inevitably accompany raising children ages 2-6 and beyond. Her second book and second bestseller, You’re Not The Boss Of Me, also in its 10th printing, is the ultimate hands-on guide to cultivating character traits that are tried and true “bratbusters.”

Betsy brings her vast knowledge, sensitivity, and special brand of humor to her parent consultations to hergroups and herpresentations.

Her parenting expertise has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report,  Real Simple, American Baby, Cookie, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, In Style, Parenting, Parents, Pregnancy and Newborn, Twins, Woman’s Day, and, Working Mother, Colorado Parent Magazine, Ohio Valley Parent Magazine among other publications. She has shared her expertise on the Today Show multiple times. Other television appearances have included Dr. Phil, Rachael RayThe Early Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Fox & Friends, Hallmark’s Home and Family,  KCBS, KNBC, and Fox News LA. She contributes to KNX news radio on child development, and has been a guest on countless radio programs nationwide, including NPR. She has been cited in numerous websites and parenting blogs. Betsy is a frequent speaker at educational conferences, schools, and businesses. She is the parenting columnist for the Palisadian-Post.

Betsy and her husband Ray Braun are parents of adult triplets and grandparents of four, so far.

Nancy Green Print Workshop

Nancy Green, ’69, visited VVS last week to resurrect the old printing press and give students in visual arts classes a workshop on the press.  

Nancy, a notable artist and classmate of ceramics and photography teacher Jeff Perkins finalized the idea of getting the printing press going again and teaching a new generation of VVS students to use it this past summer when Jeff and his wife Crissy visited Nancy and her husband Jerome West, ’66 at their home.  Jerome joins the Anasazi field trip each November, walking our students up into canyons and showing them amazing rock art.

Nancy has contributed her artistry to VVS many times in the past, most recently by offering a printmaking project period.  In addition to donating her time to students, Nancy also donated the materials used in the workshop and to working on the press.

Nancy and Jerome live in Torrey, Utah where she paints abstract landscapes inspired by Capitol Reef country.


You can learn more about Nancy and her art at


Soccer Schedule Announced

zino websizeThe VVS soccer team will take on Northpoint Academy in our opening game at Morris Field Tuesday, February 16. Kick off is at 4:30.
Head Coach Andy Gill hopes to continue the coyotes four season winning streak, and has been impressed with the tenacity and perseverance of his team in pre-season drills.  VVS will field varsity (A)  and junior varsity (B) teams this year.  The schedule is below.  Click here for a PDF of the 2016 Soccer Schedule
  • Tuesday, February 16 VVSB  vs. Northpoint Academy at 4:30 at VVS
  • Thursday, February 18 VVSA vs. Spring Ridge Academy at 3:30 at Spring Ridge
  • Thursday February 25 VVSB vs. Southwestern Academy at 3:30 at VVS
  • Wednesday, March 2 VVSA vs. American Heritage Academy at 4:30 VVS
  • Tuesday, March 8 VVSA vs. Oak Creek Ranch School at 4:30 at VVS
  • Wednesday March 9 VVSB vs. American Heritage Academy at 4:30 at VVS
  • Tuesday, March 22 VVSB vs. Prescott Valley Charter High School at 4:00 at VVS
  • Thursday, March 24 VVSB vs. Sedona Sky at 4:30 at VVS
  • Thursday, March 31 VVSA vs. Southwestern Academy at 3:30 at VVS
  • Tuesday April 5 VVSB vs. Sedona Sky at 4:30 at VVS
  • Thursday April 7 VVSA vs. VVSB at 4:30 at VVS
  • Tuesday, April 12 VVSA vs. Northpoint Academy at 4:30 at VVS
  • Thursday, April 14 VVSB vs. Oak Creek Ranch School at 4:00 at VVS
  • Monday, April 18 VVSA vs. Southwestern Academy at 3:30 at VVS
  • Thursday, April 21 VVSA vs. Prescott Valley Charter School at 4:30 at PVCS
  • Tuesday April 26 VVSA vs. Oak Creek Ranch School at 4:00 at VVS
  • Wednesday, April 27 Play Off Game competitors TBA
  • Saturday April 30 NAAA Final at VVS time TBA 


BOT On Campus

The Verde Valley School Board of Trustees will meet for their bi-annual on-campus meeting (monthly meetings are telephonic) this Thursday and Friday.

In addition to their meetings, BOT members will spend time with students, faculty and staff while on campus. Board members will visit classes on Thursday and host a faculty reception on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, BOT members will have lunch in the dining gall with students.

Friday’s meetings are open session and the public is invited to attend. Open Session runs form 9:00 am – 4:00 pm and will be held at the Head of School’s house on campus. The agenda includes:

9:00 – 9:15 Election of Officers

9:15-11:30 Mission Update from the Head of School

1:15-3:00 Strategic Planning Presentation and Discussion

3:00 – 3:30 Committee Goal Setting from Strategic Planning

Christie McIntyre Schucker, ’82, Alumni Update

C. schuckerIn December 2015, Christie McIntyre Schucker, ’82, received her Master of Science degree in Biology from Eastern Washington University. For her thesis, Stream Microbial Communities along an Agricultural Gradient, she assessed the microbial ecology of an agriculturally impacted watershed that resides within one of the most endangered ecosystems in our country, the Palouse Prairie. She is currently seeking publication of her research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


Prior to her M.S., she received a B.S. in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry, also from EWU. Her current aspiration, in addition to being gainfully employed as a scientist, is to infuse her passion for science into writing, both creative nonfiction and fiction. She lives in the beautiful Spokane, WA area with her husband of 17 years, Mike, and their two daughters, Tori (16) and Nicki (13). Her oldest daughter, Taylor (27), is a Physician Assistant in the Houston area. Christie also lives with her little soulmate, a Lhasa Apso/American Eskimo named “Molly”, two rescued cats, a rescued mini-horse, and 5 gorgeous chickens. She visits VVS whenever she can to relive old memories and see her mom, Crissy Perkins, who still lives on campus. Forever and always, VVS is a part of her DNA.



Thanks for the photo, Richie Greenberg, ’71.” width=”239″ height=”300″ class=”size-medium wp-image-6039″ /> Jamie Horner as a student at VVS. Thanks for the photo, Richie Greenberg, ’71.[/caption]Today we learned the news that James Horner, the master film composer known for his scores for Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic, died Monday when the plane he was piloting crashed near Santa Barbara. He was 61 years old. James is a Verde Valley alum and will be missed by all of us and the millions more who have enjoyed his music and scores for over 100 films.

Jamie, as he was known at VVS, won two Oscars for his work on the 1997 film “Titanic,” best original dramatic score and best original song for Celine Dion’s classic, “My Heart Will Go On.” He was nominated for Academy Awards 10 times and also wrote scores for “Apollo 13,” and “The Amazing Spiderman.” He also collaborated with James Cameron again on “Avatar,” the top-grossing film of all time.

James brother Chris is also a Verde Valley alumni and a member of the Verde Valley Foundation Board. Our thoughts and prayers are with James’ family.

Spring Musical This Weekend

TFC poster copyThe Verde Valley School Music and Theater departments present the original musical, “The Tsar’s Favorite Circus,” this Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 in Brady Hall. Performances are Saturday night at 7:00 and Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Both performances are open to the public, who will be greeted by circus performers and a fortune-teller.

All music, lyrics and dialogue for the show were written by faculty and students at the independent day and boarding school in the Village of Oak Creek. The school’s spring performance is a community-wide affair with auditions open to the entire school– all students, faculty, staff and faculty children. Parts in “The Tsar’s Favorite Circus” were written especially for any community member interested in taking part.

The idea was hatched during a two-week artist in residence program with Jamie Cowperthwait in the fall of 2013. Cowperthwait, a lyricist, musician and composer based in New York, worked with theater teacher Bridget Broomfield and junior and senior theater students at VVS with the objective of writing and performing a musical in one week. It went so well the students actually produced two musicals in that week and performed them for the school. The success got Broomfield thinking about producing a full-scale, homemade musical. Cowperthwait visited the school again this January and work began with Broomfield, art teacher Jeremy Broomfield and music teacher Cooper Evans to lay the groundwork for the spring performance. The Broomfields and Evans have worked since to finish writing the show, along with input from VVS theater students. In addition to acting and singing, students are also responsible for sound, lighting and costumes.

“The Tsar’s Favorite Circus” features eight original songs and follows a past it’s prime circus in 1917 Russia. Once the greatest in all of Russia, it is in decline – the acrobats have anxiety, the clowns are escaped felons, the strongman can barely lift an eyebrow. Gypsy siblings Viktor & Vera must whip the show into shape before they reach the capitol because the Tsar himself is planning on attending the show.


Amadio Named Head of School


Meet Paul Amadio 

It is with great pleasure that the Board of Trustees announces the selection of Paul R. Amadio as the next Head of Verde Valley School, effective July 1, 2015. The selection process was very competitive, and we had a considerable number of qualified applicants. Paul rose to the top by virtue of his extensive fund-raising background and his embrace of the core values and educational experience so important to VVS.

We also welcome Paul’s family to the VVS community. Paul and his wife, Donita, have two grown children — Colton, who is a chef in the Boston area, and Natalie, who is a teacher in Prescott. Their youngest daughter, Galen, will be a junior at VVS.

Paul’s administrative career spans nearly three decades in independent schools as a teacher, a coach, a department chair, an administrator, an assistant head, and a head of school. He is also a founding partner of both Independent Thinking and Cardenio Consulting.

In July of 2013, a long-term consulting position brought Paul to Dallas, Texas, where he is currently the Assistant Head of Institutional Advancement for Good Shepherd Episcopal, a highly competitive day school of 600 students. Prior to that, he oversaw seventeen Catholic high schools’ fund-raising offices in Philadelphia for the Faith in the Future Foundation, where he served as Executive Director of Development.

Paul has worked as the Director of Enrollment Management at Bancroft School in Worcester, Massachusetts; the Assistant Head for Advancement at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire; the Director of Advancement at Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall School in Waltham, Massachusetts, and at Stoneleigh Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts; and Head of School at Besant Hill School in Ojai, California. In his consulting practice, he has specialized in organizational management, philanthropy, public relations, and technology counsel to independent and charter schools, churches, nonprofits, and for-profit enterprises. He has served on the National Association of Independent Schools’ task force on finance, financial aid, and enrollment management, and frequently presents on marketing, philanthropy, and sustainability at workshops and conventions nationally and internationally.

Paul has served on many nonprofit boards, most recently the Ojai Playwrights Festival, Global Awareness Local Action, and Very Special Arts. In addition, he has extensive experience as a professional stage actor and director.

Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University and a master’s degree in fine arts from Wayne State University.

California Alumni Receptions in May

Join us for alumni receptions in northern and southern California the weekend of May 16 and May 17.

VVS North Coast Alumni Gathering May 16 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm at 8 Old Hill Ranch Rd. Glen Ellen, California.

Please join Will Bucklin (current Trustee and Class of ’80) and Interim Head of School, John Kelley, for the North Coast VVS Alumni gathering at Will’s family vineyard. We are serving a casual farm to table lunch paired with wines from some very local producers. John will update us on all things VVS. Will’s vineyard is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley, 50 miles north of the Golden Gate bridge. Please RSVP – *protected email* or (707) 688-0080 – and we will send directions. You can also register online at by clicking here.

VVS Los Angeles Alumni Gathering May 17 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at 166 N. Fuller Avenue Los Angeles, California. 

Please join Deryn Warren, Class of ’62, and Interim Head of School, John Kelley, in Deryn’s home. Dinner and drinks will be provided. Please park one block south. RSVP to Deryn Warren at (323) 936-0195 or register online by clicking here.