50th Videos

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Hilltop Montessori School
a vision for learning & life

celebrating 50 years

1972 – 2022

Hilltop Montessori School was founded in 1972 by a group of parents who wanted a quality pre-school experience for their children. Over the last 50 years, Hilltop grown into a fully accredited Montessori School, serving over 120 students, Toddler Program through the Middle School.

Originally housed at the West Village Meeting house in West Brattleboro, and aptly named Hilltop Nursery School with 20 enrolled students, Hilltop moved to downtown Brattleboro in the basement of the Centre Congregational Church, to High Street when it was the Winston Prouty Center, to the Vermont Hall at the former Austine School for the Deaf, and finally to the current location on Stafford Farm Hill. 

A conversation with the Heads of School
featuring founding HoS Tonia Wheeler, former HoS Kevin Campbell, and current HoS Tamara Mount

As Hilltop celebrates our 50th Anniversary, we brought these three leaders together to discuss each of their experiences as Head of School as we celebrate our history and look to our future as a school.

Hilltop Montessori’s current Head of School Tamara Mount joins former Head of School Kevin Campbell and Tonia Wheeler to discuss how they each came to Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro, VT. 

Tamara, Tonia, and Kevin discuss how they each came to Montessori.

Tamara, Tonia, and Kevin talk about the Montessori materials at Hilltop.

Hilltop Montessori’s current and former Heads of School discuss the 50 year history of growing Hilltop over the years.

Tonia, Kevin, and Tamara discuss some of the challenging decisions that they had to make over the 50 year history of Hilltop Montessori School.

Tonia, Kevin, and Tamara discuss how Hilltop navigated to get on a path to stability over it’s 50 year history.

Our former and current Heads of School talk about the Hilltop Community.

Staff Reflections
Past and present staff discuss Hilltop

Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Director, Marco Yunga Tacuri, shares his story and his goal of continuing to bring awareness to culture and diversity within the school and compassion to those voices seeking to be heard.

Former Hilltop lead teacher at it’s downtown Brattleboro location in the 1970’s, Sue Owings, talks about the origins of the little red schoolhouse, a Hilltop playground trademark over the years. She also shares how “learning about Montessori education was absolutely a game changer for me. It really affected how I think about life, how I order my life…I really appreciate how much order can ultimately give you that independence.”

Toddler Program Director, Lily Enchin, shares her love of seeing children develop their sense of independence and how adults can support young toddlers incrementally so they can really develop skills on their own.

Children’s House Willow Room Director, Rebecca Baldini, came to Hilltop more recently, and shares how Hilltop is a great example of a high-fidelity Montessori School. She highlights how valuable the mixed aged classroom is in being able to meet students where they are, and showing them new skills to practice as well as peer-to-peer learning opportunities that abound in the classroom.

Tom Griffith has been teaching at Hilltop since 1995, and shares his love of Montessori and what a gift it is to work with students for three years, watching them grow and develop and build relationships.

Middle School teacher, Finn Campman, shares how he came to Hilltop as a puppeteer and how he grew to care about Hilltop and the young students who are looking at themselves in such a pure way. 

Long-ago Hilltop student and then teacher, Nora Gordon, shares her admiration of the Montessori vision for the whole child, and helping students to discover themselves and their place in the world.

Recently retired Hilltop Middle School Director, Paul Dedell, shares his experiences over 21 years at Hilltop. He highlights how so much of the middle school experience is the individual finding their voice and making a difference. He shares how impactful the Odysseys are and reflects on the trips to Alabama and relationships made and nourished.

Former staff child, student, and current Admissions Director, Zoe Proctor, shares her journey with Hilltop, and how valuable and far-reaching the Montessori curriculum is.

Hilltop Voices

Thank you for being the teachers you were for me, and still are for other students. You allowed me to be curious and question things. I carry the Hilltop values and education with me everywhere. You are part of the reason why I was able to do this. 

Elkanah Linder 
Class of 2011
It’s been more than 20 years since I was at Hilltop, but I still mention Kevin [Campbell] on a regular basis when I talk about my most influential educators.  Kevin’s semester on the stock market had a strong influence on the direction of my life.  I am grateful for his belief that understanding the financial markets should be part of a well rounded education.
Ross Cameron
Class of 1999

Camping at Upland at the beginning of each year is one of my most memorable experiences. Night walks, outdoor classrooms, meals around a  fire, and spending 24 hours a day next to the peers you will be in school with for the next year is an amazing experience. It builds lasting friendships and a strong community from the first weeks of the school year.

Gus Williams
Class of 2016