Executive Director and Board Vice President
Sarah Hughes grew up in Indiana and attended Indiana State University. She majored in Biology. After college she came to the U.S. Virgin Islands to pursue contentment. She became an integral part of the arts community by volunteering her services at the non-profit The Alternative Art Alliance. Having been involved since inception of the Alternative Art Alliance, as a volunteer she oversaw fundraising and grant writing, program and exhibit organization and execution.
Sarah has worked in management positions for prominent local businesses including Beans, Bytes and Websites, and the Virgin Island Coffee Roasters. Sarah also was a worker/owner of a small business in Asheville, North Carolina for a year. She has volunteered as a trainer for professional skills sessions at My Brother’s Workshop. Sarah spent 1 ½ years in South America traveling and working with local farmers on ecological conservation and sustainable farming practices, and is fluent in Spanish.
The Virgin Islands Children’s Museum is the brainchild of Sarah Hughes. She and cofounder Sarah Erickson have dedicated the past four years of their lives to the creation and development of the VICM, from grant-writing, to the development of programs and services, the conceptualization and construction of exhibits, the development of the business plan, finding and securing the location, generating documents, policies, and procedures, obtaining the 501(c)(3) designation, fundraising, renovating, and opened the museum to the public on March 20, 2016.
Board Member IT
Alexander David was born and raised on the islands of St. Thomas and received his BS in Computer Science from the University of the Virgins Islands. While Alex enjoys many outdoor activities and sports such as football, spear fishing, scuba diving and hiking; his true passion has always been learning and passing on that knowledge. In high school he was a part of a mentorship program hosted by the Superior Court and even in college would serve as a tutor for English and Computer Science students. Alex also spent much time doing research at the university and participated in several research programs at schools such as Carnegie Mellon and University of California Santa Barbara. Upon receiving his degree, Alex went to work for the Superior Court as a Computer Support Tech. Later he transferred to the Supreme Court where he spent the next the next several years doing networking and systems administration.
In 2014 Alex left the local court system and went to work at UVI as a Programmer Analyst but left there in 2015 to take a position in the District Court where he remains employed to this day. As a father of one Alex has been moved by the work that the VI Children’s Museum is doing and remains committed to seeing it flourish and become a staple of the community.
Jeff Fitch is originally from Wilcox, Pennsylvania. He entered the United States Air Force and served 8 years as a military photographer. He then continued with the Air Force Reserve as a Public Affairs Specialist. He attained degrees in Wildlife Management and Letters, Arts, and Science from Penn State University. He also attained degrees through the USAF in Audiovisual Production and Public Affairs and Media Relations. He later attended the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Academy at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to pursue a career as a Park Ranger.
Aside from his military service, he has a very diverse work history to include working as a small mammal trapper for the US Forest Service, teaching at an outdoor education center specializing in environmental education and noncommercial caving, working as a chimney sweep, writing for several newspapers, and working as a Law Enforcement Officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He then worked as a GIS mapper for the oil and gas industry and title abstractor to determine the ownership of oil, gas, and minerals under property in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia for the business he and his wife started.
He volunteered for eight years as a Regional Problem Captain for Odyssey of the Mind, an international creative problem solving program for children. He organized the Technical Performance problem for Pennsylvania’s West Central region. Where teams must make innovative contraptions and incorporate artistic elements into their solutions. In his spare time, he is a tinkerer. He has built motorcycles, restored several cars, and enjoys woodworking and making custom wooden writing pens.
When the opportunity arose to move the St Thomas in October of 2016, he, his wife, Jessica, and two young boys jumped at it and haven’t looked back since. His family visits children’s museums each time they travel and sees VICM as an exciting opportunity.
Shannon Harris Oriol is a senior administrator and strategic partner in the academic and operational management of Antilles School, an independent, coeducational day school for toddlers through grade 12. Currently the chief academic officer, her independent school experience includes admission, development, communication, and marketing.
A New Jersey native, with Caribbean roots, Shannon holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Douglass College and a master’s degree in educational administration from Cheyney University. Her professional journey has taken her from an urban public school district to an independent school in the Virgin Islands - with a few stops along the way. At the center of it all, has been a commitment to quality education, and more importantly, to children.
It was a particularly cold winter in 2002, that motivated Shannon to pack her bags to accept a position as a visiting instructor of Spanish at the University of the Virgin Islands. One year, became two, and instead of heading back to the states as originally planned, she sought management experiences in the private sector to broaden her perspective. After a few years, Shannon knew it was time to return to education.
Fast forward to 2017, Shannon’s passion for student-centered education that embraces the importance of play, has been nurtured at Antilles School-both as an administrator and a parent of two boys she is raising with her husband, Jean-Pierre Oriol, a lifelong resident of St. Thomas.