Kathy Willis was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Middlebury College in 1972 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and, while there, fell in love with Vermont where she has lived most of her adult life. She started a long teaching career in early childhood education at the Brandon Training School, long since closed, an institution for mentally and physically handicapped children and adults. From there she went on to direct and teach in a private nursery school, then worked in several capacities in an elementary school, and finished out her 44 year career as a teacher at Manchester Elementary School in Manchester, Vermont, spending all but one year in either Kindergarten or second grade. She now lives in Rutland, Vermont, where she enjoys singing, performing, lakeside recreation and the incredible beauty Vermont has to offer.
Kathy has known Jennifer since Jenn was in high school. Her love affair with Africa began when she and Jenn accompanied friends visiting an orphanage in Zimbabwe in 2004. The following summer, she returned to Africa on a singing tour in Ghana. In 2016 she joined Jenn and a team of volunteers to work at Rapha and has supported Jenn’s mission at HEAL ever since. She is delighted to be a board member and to be a small part the incredible work being done for the orphans and neglected children in Kenya.