Jen Grilly

Co-Director & Older Home Center Teacher

Before Jen graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Concentration in Elementary Mathematics, she had an incredible opportunity to student teach at the Mckeever Environmental Learning Center, in Sandy Lake, Pa.  Always knowing she wanted to be an educator, Jen figured out that teaching kids about the natural world around them was her passion. She taught for a non-profit called Nature’s Classroom for six years all over New England, focusing on forest and marine ecology with her students.  It was here she was able to hone her teaching and joke telling skills. In the summers and winters, Jen traveled and did seasonal work including working at a fish camp in Alaska and bike touring Scotland and Ireland. Jen returned to Alaska to be a Wilderness Therapy guide for At-Risk teens, guiding 48 day canoeing and hiking trips, before settling back in a classroom in Massachusetts for a couple of years as a Middle School Science Teacher.  Here, she worked to develop an athletic program and an outdoor education program. Working for Esperanza was a transformative experience for Jen as she began to understand what it meant to teach a student vs. teaching a subject. Offering a holistic education became one of her values as an educator. An opportunity rose to work with high school students by providing 20 day wilderness intervention programs, and Jen moved to Maine where she continued to grow and flourish as an educator before moving to Vermont.

Jen is a certified Wilderness First Responder through Wilderness Medical Associates.  Her background also includes teaching for AMC’s Youth Opportunities Program and AMC’s Outdoor Leadership Program. Taking students on trips during the summer for camps has also been a passion for Jen.  She has led trips in Acadia National Park for College of the Atlantic, has taken students into the White Mountains, and has also taught camp here at Bridge School. 

Through her travel and extensive non-traditional teaching experience, Jen found a great appreciation for how we are all connected to each other and share the same dreams, strengths, and challenges.  Her goals as an educator are to ensure each student feels important and valued in her classroom, and to help them see their own unique potential, just as her teachers have done for her.

When Jen is not in the classroom or working with students outdoors, she can be found rejuvenating her soul as she hikes, bikes, canoes, swims, practices yoga, goes on adventures, or sits on her back porch with her morning coffee.  She and her husband love spending time with their dogs, cooking, and sharing meals with great friends.