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Staff and Commissioners

Staff Members

Bor Yang (she/her) - Executive Director & Legal Counsel
Direct line: 802-828-2493
Bor Yang joined the VHRC in 2015 as an Administrative Law Examiner.  She investigated allegations of discrimination in state employment, public accommodations and housing prior to becoming Executive Director. She completed her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2003. After a clerkship in District Court, Bor practiced in the areas of family law, government benefits and social security law, representing indigent clients and victims of domestic violence at a non-profit organization. Prior to joining the VHRC, Bor was a solo practitioner, qualified neutral mediator and college instructor in a legal studies program in Minnesota. Additionally, she was a volunteer attorney with the Minnesota Volunteer Lawyer's Network and provided instruction and training to legal and non-legal professionals on serving immigrant populations.  Bor provides training on implicit bias, fair housing laws, bullying, harassment and hazing and more.

Maia Hanron (she/her) - Executive Staff Assistant
Direct Line: 802-828-1625
Maia Hanron joined the Vermont Human Rights Commission in January 2023. She most recently worked with United Way of Northwest Vermont’s Working Bridges Program, where she assisted working Vermonters at their workplaces, help identify and utilize resources around housing, healthcare, access to legal resources, transportation, and more. Previously, she worked as an Operations Specialist in the Vermont Center for Children, Youth, and Families and as Reach Up Case Manager for the State of Vermont. Maia holds a BA in English from the University of Maine, Orono, and a MA in Education from Castleton University.  

Cassandra Burdyshaw (she/her) - Staff Attorney and Investigator
Direct Line: 802-828-2482
Cassie Burdyshaw joined the Vermont Human Rights Commission in 2018. She received her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego in 2005 and her J.D. from Vermont Law School in 2012. Cassie previously practiced in the areas of family law, government benefits and landlord/tenant law, representing indigent clients and victims of domestic violence at a legal aid organization. She worked as a policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union, where her work focused on reducing the school to prison pipeline and preventing a variety of discriminatory bills from becoming law. She was also policy director at an environmental non-profit, where her work included issues at the intersection of environmental resource extraction and human rights. 

Big Hartman (they/them) - Staff Attorney and Investigator
Direct Line: 802-828-2490
Big joined the HRC in September of 2021. Big earned a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in Studies for Social Justice from Bradford College in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In 2005, they graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School, where they served on the Vermont Law Review, the National Lawyers’ Guild, and the Student Bar Association. Big has extensive experience practicing labor and employment law, representing both employees and employers throughout Vermont. Big has been a member of the VT-ACLU Legal Advisory Panel, Vermont Lawyers for Justice, and treasurer of the Washington County Bar Association. From 2014-2021, Big operated a solo law practice out of Montpelier, called Welcoming Workplaces, which focused on preventing work-related discrimination and harassment through proactive workplace training and other best practices.

Daniel Flynjac (he/him) - Staff Attorney and Investigator
Direct Line: 802-828-2494
Daniel joined the Vermont Human Rights Commission in June 2022. Daniel was born and raised in Vermont, and attended the University of Vermont where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology, with Honors, and graduated as a Vermont Scholar and member of the John Dewey Honors Program in 2007. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Albany Law School in Albany, NY in 2011. Daniel volunteered with Vermont Legal Aid until he joined a private practice in upstate New York in 2012. From 2012 to 2017 Daniel practiced law in the areas of civil rights, employment law, family law, and joined the Attorneys for the Child program in Family Court. Daniel’s primary focus was representing plaintiffs in cases involving discrimination and retaliation. In 2017 Daniel returned to Vermont where he worked for the Vermont Judiciary as a Family Court case manager, assisting parties navigate the court system and negotiate settlements. In 2018 Daniel joined the Vermont Bar.

Amanda Lucía Garcés (she/her) - Director of Policy, Education and Outreach
Direct Line: 802-828-2580
Amanda Lucía Garcés joined the Vermont Human Rights Commission in December 2019. Prior to joining us, she was a consultant and speaker committed to education equity and human rights. Amanda moved to Vermont in 2017 and founded the Vermont Coalition for Ethnic and Social Equity in Schools, bringing together people from various racial and ethnic groups, disability rights and LGBTQIA+ advocates. The Coalition was a leader in drafting language and working with legislators and other stakeholders to pass Act 1, relating to the ethnic studies and social equity working group. Amanda comes to Vermont via New Jersey, Los Angeles, and Arizona where she worked in organizing around immigrant rights, border issues and against the proliferation of private prisons. A proud Colombian immigrant, Amanda believes in the power of narrative; while in Los Angeles, she co-founded the World Summit Award-winning Mobile Voices Project, an open source storytelling platform for day laborers and household workers to tell their own stories from their cell phones. Her most inspiring and thoughtful teachers have been the immigrant workers with whom she spent the past decades organizing.

Commission Members

Kevin "Coach" Christie, of Hartford, was appointed to the Vermont Human Rights Commission on March 1, 2018, to fill a term that expired on February 28, 2018.  Mr. Christie was appointed by Governor Scott to serve as Chair of the Vermont Human Rights Commission.   Mr. Christie attended parochial schools through high school, receiving a BA from Eastern CT State University in 1972. He moved to Quechee, VT in 1973 to open an automotive business. He is married to Mary C. Christie and they have two daughters, Amber and Angela. Mr. Christie started coaching track at Hartford High School in 1980 and then started coaching football and teaching at Hartford Technical Career Center in 1986, receiving his MEd in Ed. Admin/Supervision in 1990. He was named Vermont Technical Education Teacher of the Year in 1992. In 1994 he became the Technical Center Director/Principal at Randolph Technical Career Center in Randolph, VT in 2001. He began his Doctoral Degree in Ed. Admin. and is almost completed. Mr. Christie additionally was an automotive Service Director and then Theraputic Case Manager for youth in foster care for six years. He has served on the Vermont Human Rights Commission, Boys & Girls Club, Vocal Soloist, VT Special Olympics Ed. Advisor, Correctional Facility Chair, VT Reghab Advisory Council, VT Symphony Chorus, Nat. Rep. AVA Resolutions Comm., and Hartford Housing Authority. In addition Mr. Christie holds certificatiions in: Principal, K-12, Superintendent, Technical Center Director, Auto Tech Teacher, NOCTO, ASE. He is a notary public, has served on the Hartford School Board since 2007 and was the Chair.

Nathan Besio, of Colchester, a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair, was appointed effective May 16, 2007 to fill the slot on the Vermont Human Rights Commission formerly held by its chair, now Judge Thomas Zonay.  Mr. Besio, who resides in Colchester with his wife Gretchen, has been re-appointed three times, most recently in 2017 to a full term that expires in 2022.  He has over ten years of business and accounting experience, primarily in the non-profit industry.  He is a peer advocate at the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL). Mr. Besio is very active in the disability rights community and is a member of several disability rights organizations.  Mr. Besio received a B.A. in Psychology from St. Michael’s College in 2000 and an M.B.A. from State University of New York at Albany in 2002.

Dawn M. Ellis, of Burlington, was appointed to the Vermont Human Rights Commission on May 15, 2015. Ms. Ellis is the President of Dawn M. Ellis & Associates, LLC and has worked for over twenty years to enhance communities by consulting in the areas of education and social services; community, economic and leadership development; access and inclusion; corrections and social justice; innovation and virtual learning; as well as creativity, culture and recreation. Her work empowers people and affects policy across the U.S. and abroad. As the former Executive Director of VSA Vermont, the state organization on arts and disability, Ms. Ellis built partnerships that continue today to increase access and include people with disabilities and from disadvantaged groups in the broader community.

Joan Berwick Nagy, of Cambridge, moved to Vermont from Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1990. Joan's career path included a stint as an attorney, and many years in development as a grant seeker and grant maker. In Ann Arbor, she worked for Spaulding for Children, an adoption agency for older and disabled children and was the Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Area Foundation. She worked for many years in early literacy programs at The Vermont Center for the Book, ending her working years with six years as a Cambridge Town Lister. She has served on the Board of Copley Hospital, Vermont Water Resources Board, and is serving on the Board of Deacons of the 2nd Congregational UCC in Jeffersonville and the Board of Lamoille Home Health and Hospice.

Bruce Wilson, of Winooski, was appointed to the Vermont Human Rights Commission in April 2022. Mr. Wilson was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and attended Northwestern University. He has lived in Vermont since 1989 and has worked as a youth service provider and community activist. Mr. Wilson is the Executive Director of both Service Rendered Inc/Arts So Wonderful and New National Media Corp. He is a founding member of Community Justice Center, and he sits on the Green Mountain Transit Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board, the Winooski School District Anti-Racial Board, the Inclusive Arts Vermont Board, and the Fight for Kids Foundation Board. Mr. Wilson is a member of the Vermont State Police Fair and Impartial Policing Committee, a member of the Essex Rotary Club, and is the Winooski Democratic Party Chairman. Mr. Wilson opened Chill Out Centers in every large mall in Vermont and opened Arts So Wonderful Gallery in University Mall.