SPIRAL International Leaders

Dr. Emily Hong Yue Guo - President

Dr. Emily Hong Yue Guo grew up in Beijing China. She studied at both Chinese and American universities in the area of Chinese Cultural Studies. Having lived and worked in America for more than twenty years, Dr. Guo has extensive knowledge and experience in cross-cultural under-standing and exchanges. She taught Chinese culture, religions and history at American colleges. She is founder and former executive director of Vermont Peace Academy and director of Asia-Pacific Institute and Study Abroad Program at Goddard College. In the past five years, she has devoted herself to building international exchange programs.


Dr. Emily Hong Yue Guo
Dr. Emily Hong Yue Guo

Current Staff

Michele Hirsch - Senior Administrative Assistant

Michele Hirsch was born in the United States; by the age of 18, she had visited 36 states and 7 countries.  She received a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College, and then relocated to Paris, where she spent the next 25 years teaching American culture and language to French executives. Since moving to Vermont in 2008, she has donated more than 500 hours to the Humane Society and to Northern Greyhound Adoptions.

Michele Hirsch

Jia (Jason) Shi - Program Management Analyst

Jia (Jason) Shi was born and grew up in Shenyang in northeast China. He received a bachelor's degree in supply chain management from Dalian Transportation University in China, then came to the United States in 2011 and got an MBA from Wright State University in Ohio. He has been working in the domain of Chinese-American cooperation since he was an undergraduate and is very interested in creating educational exchange programs between the two countries.

Jia (Jason) Shi

Anle (Alvin) Han - Program Assistant 

Alvin Han was born and raised in Sichuan, China. He is now a student at the Grossman School of Business at the University of Vermont. Alvin is majoring in Marketing and Finance, and minoring in Sports Management. The activities he is involved in both inside and outside of school have helped him to build a stronger connection with the local community. 

Anle (Alvin) Han

SPIRAL International Coordinators

Richard (Dick) Taylor - Education Consultant

Dick Taylor is the education consultant and the residential site coordinator for Spiral International. A retired educator living in northwest Vermont. Dick holds degrees in Nuclear Medicine Technology, Education, and Administration and Planning. His work experience includes being a math and science teacher, principal of schools ranging in grade levels from pre-k through grade 12, and Superintendent of Schools. His interest in international opportunities for students has taken him to Thailand as well as working with SPIRAL International.  

Dick Taylor

Jeff Maher - Education Consultant

Jeff Maher works part-time with SPIRAL International as an education consultant, but he devotes most of his time to his work as an educator.  Over the last 33 years, he has been a high school history teacher, department chair, enrichment coordinator, technical center director, and high school principal. As the current principal of Stowe High School, one of Jeff’s priorities has been to strengthen the school’s Mandarin program and work toward implementing SPIRAL’s Dual Diploma Program.

Jeff Maher

Julie Plante - Host Family Coordinator (East Lyme High School, CT)

Julie Plante is a native of East Lyme. She has a bachelor's degree in Sociology, and she works with people with traumatic brain injuries, providing them with behavioral and life skill training. She has previously managed a group home, and volunteered as a crisis counselor; currently, she is Secretary for a non-profit, Cultivate & Grow, Inc. In her “free time,” she works with SPIRAL, finding and offering support to local families hosting Chinese students in East Lyme.

Julie Plante

Mairead Harris - Student Service Coordinator (Stowe High School, VT)

Mairead Harris is a native Vermonter, and the Chinese language teacher at Stowe Middle & High School in Vermont. A graduate of Middlebury College with a joint degree in Spanish and Chinese, Mairead spends most summers teaching Chinese at the Middlebury College Language Schools. After university, Mairead taught English in China for 2 years. Mairead enjoys working with all different groups of students, but middle school strangely holds a special place in her heart. Mairead lives in Montpelier with her husband, Andrew, whom she met in China. 

Mairead Harris

Shalimar Ramos Wuyke - Student Service Coordinator (New London Science & Tech. Magnet High School, CT)

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Shalimar Ramos Wuyke has lived in the U.S. for 35 years.  She received her bachelor's degree in TESOL in Caracas.  She continued her studies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she received her Masters' and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. Shalimar worked for New London Public Schools for 23 years, beginning as a teacher, and becoming an administrator in 1998.  She has been working with SPIRAL since 2013, and she has two adult daughters.


Shalimar Ramos Wuyke