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Vera Sharma, a graduate of Winter Lake's visual arts program (class of 2000), is an award-winning photographer who got her big break as a freshman at NYU covering the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for Time Out New York. Upon graduation, she was snapped up by the New Yorker and given behind the scenes access to the event.

During her first Westminster as a photographer for the New Yorker, she met a young pug breeder/owner/handler named Harry Gupta. Enamored with his quick wit and his large number of snorty dogs, she embarked on a whirlwind romance with him and they eloped less than three months later. Their families were shocked and horrified until it was revealed that Vera and Harry's great-grandmothers were apparently besties back in India.

Vera's mentor, now retired from teaching, is a member of the Winter Lake board of trustees and recommended Vera for the position of Head of School after a string of inept interim directors nearly ran the school into the ground following the 2007 departure of Helen MacLellan. The board had no objections and the happily childfree Vera, Harry and their eight pugs headed off to the suburbs of Massachusetts in the summer of 2013 to run The Academy.

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