Meet Our Board

Dana Baron, President

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Dana Baron has been a member of AFLCR for many years and has taken many courses with the Alliançe. He especially enjoys the courses devoted to literature.

Dana’s love of French language and culture grows out of his Québecois heritage. His grandfather came to New Hampshire from Québec in the 1920’s seeking work in the mills. With this as a starting point, Dana began a genealogical journey that led back through time down the St. Lawrence River to Ile d’Orléan where the first Baron ancestor arrived from Normandy in the 1670’s. Wanting to continue the journey, he decided to learn to speak French so he could pick up the trail on the other side of the Atlantic. In 2009, he got the opportunity to do so. Though he found no new genealogical information, he still recalls the first time he knocked on a door and had to speak French to the woman who answered.

The AFLCR played a major role in building Dana’s dream of speaking French. He was active with AFLCR in the past, working on events and activities: the Burlington International Festival, the former annual Vergennes French Celebration, trips to Quebec, etc. Now he’s looking forward to giving more to the organization. A strong and healthy language school; fun and interesting activities; conversation groups; a strong sense of community built around a love of French language and culture: these are Dana’s dreams for a post-pandemic AFLCR and that is what he will work towards as a member of the AFLCR board. After a career in IT, Dana retired in 2017 and recently moved from Essex to Shelburne with his wife Karen.

He can be reached via email at president@aflcr.org.

Marjorie London, Secretary

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Marjorie London has been a Francophile since taking her first French class in high school. French was her college major. She spent her junior year in France and, after college, worked at the United Nations with French-speaking people. Her career took a turn when she went to law school. After some thirty years working as a lawyer, she retired to Vermont. Several trips to France over the years rekindled her passion for French language and culture. Since retiring, she has taken a number of French classes with the Alliance Française and, during the pandemic, participated in a number of online activities.

Marjorie brings to the board a passion for French language and culture. In her professional life, she had significant experience in organizational leadership roles and in dispute resolution techniques. She hopes to use her legal skills and enthusiasm for expanding networks among English and French-speaking people in support of the AFLCR. Marjorie considers the French School to be a critically important part of the Alliance. She looks forward to addressing the challenges that lie ahead for the school and the rest of the organization. Marjorie has also served in a number of volunteer positions in the community, including the board of the Bixby Library in Vergennes, making presentations in support of the Humane Society in Middlebury, and various projects at the Bixby Library and the Charlotte Senior Center.

She can be reached via email at secretary@aflcr.org.

Sophie Slonka, Treasurer

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French native, with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Pigier College, France, Sophie Slonka is currently working as a translator for a publishing company for several authors.

For more than 10 years, she was a member of the Alliance Française of Providence RI where she actively participated in numerous activities for social events. Well versed in technology and adept in marketing, she created and managed the Providence AF’s first website, designed newsletters, flyers, and materials for children’s activities.

Sophie started to her relationship with AFLCR volunteering to maintain the website, and would like to continue to do so. She also wants take a more involved position in the organization’s internal communications. Her flexible schedule allows her to be available for AFLCR needs. With French as her native language, her fluency in the language is an asset to the board.

She can be reached via email at treasurer@aflcr.org.

Mel Bourgault, Director

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Mel Bourgault brings to the board her many years of involvement in the field of education and a passion for French, which she comes by honestly, as the granddaughter of a French professor.

She graduated with a BA degree in French language from the University of New Hampshire. This was followed by a Certificat d’Etudes Francaises awarded to me after a full year of total immersion studies at the Universite de Neuchatel in Neuchatel, Switzerland. She taught French in public secondary schools in Alaska, Vermont, and New Hampshire over the course of the next 30 years and earned a M. Ed. in the process. 

Upon retirement, she searched for a way to maintain her French language skills and interest in French culture, and happily discovered the Alliance Francaise. She has been a loyal member of the AF, first in Portland, Oregon for over 10 years, and more recently in Burlington. In both cities she participated in AF classes as well as in cultural events too numerous to mention. As a former educator, her focus as a board member will be to support the continuation of the excellent school that is at the core of AFLCR.

Eloise Smith, Director

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Eloise Smith is a senior at The University of Vermont and will be graduating with double majors in Psychology and Studio Art in the spring. She is also a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, which has allowed her to develop her leadership and communications skills.

Before being elected to the board, Eloise was the marketing and communications intern for the AFLCR, working to redesign and continue to create the monthly newsletter. She has helped introduce new events such as Trivia Night and worked with the local community to plan and promote the Bastille Day celebration.

Francophile by heart, Eloise loves all things French– from food to art, her passion for culture allows her to connect and inspire people.  She works well on a team, striving to support quality, diversity and education through the Alliance Française. Eloise brings a different perspective to the table which will be important to growing our community and supporting the future of the AFLCR.

She can be reached via email at info@aflcr.org.