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Navigating Life’s Choreography with Juli Snaer

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A dance veteran, VLACS’s Juli Snaer is no stranger to choreography. Sequencing her days lately might be more complicated than the tarantella. In addition to being a Program Manager and ELA Teacher at VLACS, she also manages a competitive golfer’s schedule — it’s her daughter’s.

She laughs, then explains. “My husband is an Air National Guardsman, and he also flies for Jet Blue. When my daughter was young, we were stationed in Oklahoma near a driving range. We took her there on days off. It’s been non-stop ever since.”

A few years ago, Juli and her family moved to Florida to give her daughter more opportunities to pursue golf. They traveled quite a bit before that. Born in Tennessee, Juli has lived in “a lot of places” and finds something interesting about each place.

“Florida suits us,” she says, “because of all the golf courses, of course, but it also fits our lifestyle. We love warm-weather outdoor activities, like kayaking, paddle boarding, diving, and surfing, which is a lot easier to do when it’s not frigid like it is in New Hampshire!”

Juli was teaching middle school English, dance, and drama at a brick-and-mortar school in Colorado when her husband’s military career took off, which brought them to Oklahoma and then New Hampshire.

“When we moved to NH,” she says, “my husband was full-time military, and I had a young daughter. I had been working as an editor for an educational publisher. I missed teaching, but I wanted some flexibility because I needed to be around for my daughter.”

After a year or so in New Hampshire, Juli learned about VLACS and started on the Academic Help Desk for a few months before she started as an instructor. “I fell in love with it,” she says. “I like the stories. I love hearing the reasons that my students choose VLACS.”

She tells me about her second VLACS student in her VLACS career.

“This student had PTSD and agoraphobia. Every morning, the mom would drive her kid to school, and the kid just couldn’t do it, couldn’t go in. Then they heard about VLACS. Then that student was in my class.”

That’s what did it. “Knowing that I could help kids like that, knowing that we can provide an education for kids who may not get one otherwise. That’s always my favorite part.”

That was six years ago.

Now, she is a part of VLACS’s Rapid Design Team, which aids in developing curriculum resources. She’s also the Program Manager of Collaborations and Enrichment Experiences. She loves it.

“I wanted to be a teacher my entire life,” she says. “I taught dance in college. I fell in love with it. There’s something special about middle school though. It’s a time when kids choose a path. I think it’s pretty cool when I can be any sort of role model. That’s pretty meaningful.”

When she’s not teaching, managing her daughter’s golf schedule, taking care of the dogs, kayaking, or going to the beach, Juli loves “just hanging out” with her family and reading.