My American mother met my Slovene father in high school in Bethesda, MD. They were married in Scotland, where they attended university and lived off-the-grid in a small town outside of Stirling for five years. In 1976 they moved to Slovenia, where I was born. They split up two years later and my mom took me to the USA in 1980. I attended Kindergarten and First Grade in the Maryland suburbs while she pursued a Masters Degree in Speech and Language Pathology.
My great grandfather was a WWI veteran and steel mill worker from Pittsburgh, PA. My other great grandfather was a steel mill paymaster and then tax collector in California. My American grandfather designed some of the first guided missile systems and did Cold War signals intelligence for the NSA before heading the Manned Underseas Science & Technology program and the Ocean & Lake Levels Division at NOAA. My other grandfather was a Yugoslav Partizan captain who fought the Nazis in WW2, became a Minister of Agriculture in the Yugoslav Parliament, and later worked as a Director at the World Bank in Washington. The government service of my grandfathers helped put me through college and also inspired me to learn about the National Security Complex and International Financial Institutions.
Vermont Becomes Home
We moved to Barnard in 1985 after my mom accepted a job in the Windsor Central Supervisory Union. I have vivid memories of waking up that first morning in the house we rented on Silver Lake, in the same building as the town post office and a stone’s throw away from the Barnard General Store. I have considered Vermont my home ever since. My mom pursued advanced graduate studies at UVM and waitressed at the Barnard Inn Restaurant, and hired babysitters that taught me skateboard and karate moves. She re-married in 1991 and my new step-father, a plumbing & heating contractor, put me to work and taught me to get my hands dirty when things needed fixing.
I went to school at the Barnard Central School, Woodstock Elementary and Woodstock Union High School. I took a year off after high school to live with my dad’s family in Slovenia and work for his translation company, and then attended UVM for a year and a half as an “undeclared” leaning towards business studies. I formed a skateboard company with my roommate and made movies to showcase our riders. Realizing that my passion for filmmaking far surpassed my interest in business, I transferred to Hampshire College where I produced a documentary film about Slovenia’s war for independence from Yugoslavia – an experience that taught me about territorial autonomy and self-determination – and interned with director Ken Burns for nine months on the film Horatio’s Drive, which happened to be about a Vermonter who made the first successful coast-to-coast journey in an automobile.
After college I took a position as an Associate Producer with an Oscar-nominated film company near Northampton, MA, but returned to Vermont after one film for PBS so that I could pursue my own work. In 2005 I directed and produced Mind Games: A Love Story, which documented Dr. Thomas French’s final year with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). The film was screened at the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival, won a Director’s Award at the Hearts and Minds Film Festival and was presented on Vermont Public Television a couple of times. Since then I’ve produced a number of short films and videos for non-profits while developing my own films. In 2012 I directed a short film titled, The Last Irene: Where Did All the Water Come From?, You can see some of my work at www.longshotproductions.org and www.youtube.com/user/teozagar. I also spent six years as a Special Education Program Assistant at the Woodstock Union High School where I managed a classroom for middle- and high-school boys with emotional, behavioral and learning challenges. This was an incredibly rewarding and challenging experience and I remain in contact with some of my former students.
Photos of Vermont State Representative Teo Zagar
From 2007-2009 I was elected to serve as Barnard’s Second Constable and Pound Keeper (though Barnard does not actually have a pound) before being appointed to the Development Review Board, on which I currently sit. A week before Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont, I was appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin in 2011 to fill the Windsor County seat vacated by the late Mark Mitchell in the House of Representatives. I was elected by the citizens of Barnard, Pomfret, Quechee and West Hartford the following year for a two-year term and have served on the Agriculture and Forest Products Committee for all three years.
I currently sit on the boards of The Carol A. Hurley Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Barnard Development Review Board, the Barnard Community Trust, the Barnard Energy Committee (as Vice-Chair) and The Kennels of Levi, a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs.
I live off-the-grid and off the beaten path in the foothills of the Delectable Mountains with two dogs. I rely on a four-wheeler to get home in the warmer seasons and a snowmobile in the winter. I heat with wood and harvest my own from the trees on my land. In the free time I sometimes have I enjoy ice hockey, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, skateboarding my half-pipe and riding my motorcycle across the Northeast from the Adirondacks to the Northern coast of Maine.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me in this role by contributing to my campaigns and voting for me, and especially to Mark and Sarah Mitchell for supporting me at the start.
Thanks also to Seth Butler for designing this website and giving good advice
And to Cecily Anderson for designing the seedling and “Common Ground” graphics