Susan Stitely, President
Susan Stitely is President of the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges (AVIC), a voluntary association of private colleges and universities. AVIC provides public policy leadership and support of higher education, fosters cooperative efforts among colleges and universities, and serves as the official liaison between these independent institutions and the state and federal governments.
Susan is an attorney who previously worked in the Vermont Legislature staffing the Senate Education Committee. In her role assisting the chair of the committee, she worked on higher education funding issues. She holds degrees from two Vermont independent colleges: a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Vermont Law School and a Masters in Teaching English as Second Language from Saint Michael’s College. She also has a B.S. from York College of Pennsylvania and spent two Semesters at Sea on World Campus Afloat. For 11 years, Susan worked in international development at the Institute for Sustainable Communities based in Montpelier. She supported projects designed to strengthen community partnerships in Russia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Ukraine. She also launched an environmental training program for small businesses in China and developed a collaborative environmental education program with a university in China. She has taught at universities in China and Turkey.
Kimberly Jessup, Advisor to the President
Kimberly Jessup is Advisor to the President of AVIC when she is not serving as a representative in the Vermont legislature. She is well-versed in the dynamics of education coalitions from her work as Director of Public Policy Affairs at the Academy for Educational Development (AED), where she led Washington-based advocacy and outreach efforts. While at AED, she also staffed the International Educational and Training Coalition and chaired InterAction’s Advocacy Committee.
Jessup comes to AVIC from the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) where she served as the DC Program Officer and co-managed the start-up of ISC’s New England Futures Program. Prior to ISC, she researched and reported for the Vermont Public Radio newsroom.
Jessup’s legislative knowledge comes from work as a congressional aide in both the U.S. House and Senate and as a non-profit advocate. Combining interests in policy and education, she also managed the Congressional Staff Forum, a program to educate legislative aides about international issues.
Jessup's overseas work includes design of a pilot HIV/AIDs project funded by UNDP-India; research on indigenous people's groups in India; and development of a youth program for the Department of Women's Affairs in Belize. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.