Kahn Mason Award

HOME > HMS News > Kahn Mason Award
Hilltop Montessori School honors outstanding contributions to the school with the Kahn Mason Award.

In 2017, Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason were the namesakes and first recipients of the award. This award is to honor those in our school community who truly leave their mark on our school as Wolf and Emily have done, not only with philanthropic contributions, but also gifts of talent and time.

2019 Recipient

The Copper Beech Foundation, INC

A Hilltop family through their Copper Beech Foundation have been amazing supporters of Hilltop Montessori School. Beginning in 2011 with the donation and installation of sound proofing panels in the classrooms of our main building, Dave Snyder and his family have been transformative for our school. His parents visited the school in 2012 as we were embarking on the Arts Barn project. Their donation made the dream of a state-of-the-art theater, gymnasium, and music room possible. Through the Copper Beech Foundation the family also contributes annually to our operating budget. They have also given donations that enabled us to pay off our mortgage on the buildings and get a significant start on our goal of a $5M endowment. All of this financial support has a significant impact on our annual operating budget and enables us to help “level the playing field” and support an increased economic diversity in our student population.

Clearly these gifts have been transformative and we would not be able to provide our programs and facilities to our population of families without the support they have given and continue to give.
To honor them, we planted a copper beech tree that will grow to enhance the view from the Middle School and from the hill where we traditionally hold the Peace Day Ceremony in September, and the Bead Ceremony in June. In keeping with the Bead Ceremony, where we celebrate each group completing their three year program, we had the Olders from CH, LE, UE, and MS take part in planting the tree. The MS graduates dug the whole, the UE graduates placed the tree in the hole, the LE graduates filled in around the tree, and the CH graduates watered the newly planted tree. It was a community event in celebration and gratitude to all the Snyders have made possible here at Hilltop Montessori School.
2018 Recipient

Tonia Wheeler

In May of 2018, Hilltop celebrated our founding Head of School, Tonia Wheeler, with the Kahn Mason Award for Outstanding Contribution to Hilltop Montessori School. Tonia served as Head of School between 1984 and 2005. Tonia supported Hilltop through tremendous growth with humble beginnings. Tonia, along with a passionate group of parents, assisted to ensure the growth of Hilltop during these early days. She also raised our consciousness to realize that teachers and staff were the heart of what made Hilltop special. She continues to support our dedicated staff, through the Wheeler Fund, which financially supports teachers as they pursue a particular project, cause, or passion – a legacy that will endure far into the future. We appreciate and celebrate all Tonia has contributed throughout the years.
2017 Recipients

Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason

In 2008, the school was desperate to find a new location to set down roots. Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason donated the money to purchase the spectacular 43 acre parcel off of Guilford Street in Brattleboro. This donation jump started the capital campaign and building project that set the school off into a new era. With their generosity the school was able to fully embody the name “Hilltop”! The grounds and facilities grew to match the dedicated staffing and solid, authentic Montessori curriculum that had been hallmarks of HMS. We are so grateful for the campus that enable our prepared indoor and outdoor environments at each program level. 

In addition to the game changing gift that facilitated the move to the new home, the Kahn Mason Foundation has, over the years, granted significant funds to Hilltop for art education, programs, and supplies. An annual or bi-annual grant enables the school to provide trips to the Latchis, visiting artists working in residence, in addition to regular replenishment of printing supplies, painting materials, and more. 
In 2017, the first presentation of the Kahn Mason Award for Outstanding Contribution to Hilltop Montessori School was made to Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason. An award ceremony, complete with a show including puppets made in the likenesses of the recipients, acknowledged and celebrated our appreciation for the contributions of Wolf and Emily.