Faculty & Staff


Administration

Head of School // Tamara Mount
Phone: 802.257.0500 ext 110
[email protected]

Tamara Mount joined Hilltop as Head of School in the Summer of 2013 excited to combine her management and Montessori experiences. She began in Montessori as a two year old and attended through Lower Elementary at a school where her mother was the Head of School. After transitioning to a traditional school she then went to the University of Virginia, majoring in English and Environmental Science. After graduating, Tamara worked for a leading consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area providing environmental management consulting for ten years.

Once she and her husband, Brad, had children of Montessori age, she delved back into the educational system that had always seemed right to her. Tamara obtained her Montessori Lower Elementary credential in 2008 from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education. She was the lead teacher in a Lower Elementary class for six years.

Tamara’s son Darwin is a Hilltop graduate, class of 2016 and Huxley graduated in the class of 2018. Tamara is honored and enthused to be able to lead this quality school with a close knit community as it continues to develop and grow in bringing the best of Montessori to the Brattleboro area.

Administrative & COVID Coordinator and Front Desk //  Zoe Proctor
Phone: 802.257.0500 ext 102
[email protected]

From staff kid (daughter to long-time LE teacher Jessica Thomas) to student (class of ’08) to Afternoon/AfterCare Assistant (2018) to Administrative Coordinator, Zoe feels a strong connection to Hilltop, Montessori pedagogy, and all that it entails. She is so grateful to be apart of such a lovely team on such a beautiful campus.

When not at Hilltop making spreadsheets or wearing her many hats of Administrative Coordinator, COVID Coordinator, Substitute, and organizer of many things, Zoe can be found swimming or skating (depending on the season), driving around dirt roads admiring victorian houses, or in Westminster West, where she and her husband, Ian (a fellow Hilltop alum, class of ‘01!) are building a timber frame house to live in with their beloved cats, Babs, Billy, and Janet.


Admissions & Enrollment Director // Lauren Campbell
Phone: 802.257.0500 ext 101

[email protected]

Lauren and her family moved to Brattleboro in 1991 from Washington, DC. They have two sons who are graduates of HMS, Ian, class of 2002 and Colin, class of 2008. Lauren is a graduate of American University and worked as a designer for many years before starting her own design firm in Washington. Vermont then became the answer to living in a place she would not want to leave during the summer! In 1996 Lauren returned to work and joined Hilltop’s administrative team while her husband, Kevin Campbell, was developing Hilltop’s Middle School program. A deep appreciation for the Montessori approach to education grew as a parent and member of the HMS staff and continues today as she shows the school to other families considering a Hilltop education for their children. Lauren still loves her summers in Vermont and trips to visit her children as they travel further from home.

Development Director // Roselle Garro
Phone: 802.257.0500 ext 107
[email protected]

Roselle and her husband, Paul moved to the area in 2000, from Nantucket, MA. Roselle’s son Sebastian completed the three-year cycle in the Children’s House and is currently in Upper Elementary.  As a parent, she is excited to share her love of Hilltop and the importance of a Montessori education while cultivating the Development program for the future.  She is thrilled to be a part of the Hilltop community and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing success of the school.

Prior to joining Hilltop, Roselle spent 18 years in management at Whole Foods Market, as well as years on Nantucket island as a private chef and caterer.  She holds a BS in Business from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

When not at Hilltop, she can be found cooking or baking with her family (using any amazing local products) and skiing or traveling whenever the opportunity should arise.

Business Office // Barbara Beckwith
Phone: 802.257.0500 ext 111
[email protected]

Barb and her family made Brattleboro their home in 2019 after living 4 years on the beautiful island of Saba in the Dutch Caribbean. There she and her husband Nester ran a very successful small business where she managed the finance and office responsibilities. Barb was born and raised in Maine and spent 11 years working in the municipal offices of Naples and Gray before embarking on their island adventure. While in Maine she also owned and operated Sebago Soap Company.

Barb has one daughter Reine, currently in the Lower Elementary at Hilltop. Barb’s husband Nester is a carpenter and a member of HMS Building & Grounds Committee. Barb enjoys travelling with her family, working the garden, wake boarding and scuba diving. She is excited to join us and notes, “Before moving here, I had my mind and heart set on working at Hilltop. I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community.”

Marco Yunga Tacuri // Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Director, [email protected]

Marco joined Hilltop in 2015 as an After Care and Children’s House assistant, after seeing what a positive effect Hilltop had on his two children, who are currently in the Lower and Upper Elementary Programs.

He moved to Brattleboro in 2014 from his home country of Ecuador. In Ecuador he taught language through music to preschoolers and cultural studies and art to high schoolers and since moving to Brattleboro has taught Spanish at Northfield Mount Hermon School and Four Rivers Charter School. He received his BA in Cultural Studies from the University of Cuenca in Ecuador, and his masters in Anthropology from the University of Lethbridge in Canada, where he studied, identity, ethnopolitics, and traditional music in the Amazon. He plays guitar and many traditional Ecuadorian instruments and was the director of a traditional Andean band for ten years. He also has a love for photography, woodworking, pottery, soccer, and mosaic-making. He is excited to bring his passion for social justice and culture, Spanish language experience, and creativity to Hilltop.


Facilities Team

Facilities Director // Kegan Refalo
Phone: cell 248-974-6475

[email protected]

Kegan is our resident Jack-of-All-Trades. His primary task is to manage all the behind the scene tasks so that the campus is a safe and beautiful learning environment. He will also be supervising the Middle School Student Building Projects and assisting with campus theatre productions.

Kegan has 5 years experience in remodeling and property maintenance. In 2003, Kegan helped design and build a youth drop-in center, then worked with the teens (11-15 yrs old) for 3 years. Kegan traveled across the east coast for 6 years as a theatrical tailor, after graduating with an A.A.S. degree in Tailoring from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2006. Interwoven with his time in the Theatre Industry, he graduated with a B.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Appalachian State University, studied spanish in Rhonda, Spain for 4 months, and helped start The Jobs Project, a renewable energy focused non-profit, based in the heart of Appalachian coal mining communities.

Kegan moved up to Vermont in 2012 inspired by the state’s focus on local economies. His time in Vermont has been a patchwork of overlapping projects working with small Vermont farms, a local meat processing facility, a small bakery, timber framing with an intentional community, restoring and repairing residential homes and putting on firework displays for Vermont community celebrations with Northstar Fireworks. In his leisure time, you will find him deep in the woods and traveling the world. Kegan is here and ready to dig in and grow at Hilltop, where all his diverse skills sets can take root.

Trudi Vandertuin
Trudy joined the Facilities Team in summer 2020. She moved to Brattleboro in April 2016 from her home country of South Africa. In Johannesburg she was employed as a Stats Recorder at a Security company. Since moving to Brattleboro she has assisted her husband in building their last two homes. Trudy and Peter enjoy traveling and exploring the vast USA landscape.   

Emily Runnion
Emily was born in Barcelona, Spain, and lived in Mallorca until the age of 9, when the family moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, where she grew up attending local schools. Emily joined the Hilltop Facilities Team in summer of 2020 after returning to Brattleboro from London, England, where she lived for the past three years. This year she graduated with a BA in Illustration from the University of East London and has since been working as a freelance illustrator.
Besides being an artist, Emily is also an avid equestrian and rides at a local stable in Guilford where she’s also started to have horse sketching workshops on the weekends. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with friends and her beloved pets- a dog named Gracie and a cat called The Dude. 


Kelsey Hilliard
Born and raised in New Hampshire. Kelsey works for a local community bank that is very involved in the community in which she resides. She has one nephew and two nieces whom she loves more than anything. She also has two fur babies, Mitts and Luna to keep her company at home.

William Gembarowski
Born and raised a Brattleboro resident. Semi-retired with 45 plus years in a variety of fields as a production manager in the printing industry, roofing, light construction, cabinet making and weatherization business. After three years in the Army from 1969 to 1972 working in a communications satellite, I spent some time working as a gandy dancer for the Boston and Maine railroad. I am a landlord in town have three grown daughters and seven grandchildren, two adult stepsons, one adult stepdaughter and one step granddaughter who is a student at Hilltop. I love to tackle new projects and gather new skills. I am happy to get to know the Hilltop Community, its history, and its environs. 

Favorite pastimes, cooking, time spent with my grandchildren, working in my woodshop. 

Faculty

Toddler Program

Sarah Palacios // Toddler Director

Sarah joined the Hilltop community  as an assistant in the Toddler Room. Sarah completed her Toddler training this summer through AMI and a graduate of Marlboro College, where she earned a degree in ceramics and grew her interest in alternative educational models. She is interested to continue to learn more about the Montessori method through observing the “absorbent minds” at work in the classroom. She is inspired to work with marveling, open-minded toddlers. Sarah hopes to bring her passion for sustainable agriculture and love of cooking and baking with whole ingredients into the classroom. She enjoys caring for her plants and animals and being outdoors as often as possible.

Laura Gypson // Toddler Assistant

When Laura moved to the Brattleboro area over seven years ago her goal was to teach at Hilltop and her path has finally led her to our doors. She is incredibly excited to delve into the principles of Montessori teaching and loves the respect that  the Montessori model has for the work of every child and independence that is fostered every day within our school.

Outside of teaching, Laura lives in Williamsville, Vermont with her partner Gabe. She has a deep passion for music across many genres and spends her time walking and running along dirt roads, cooking, reading, and caring for her cat Mya as well as her ever growing collection of plants.

Haley Hopkins // Toddler Assistant)

Haley is very excited to join the Hilltop community! She grew up in Jamaica, VT and has always wanted to live and work locally.  Haley has an Associate’s in Liberal Arts from GCC. She has always been interested in working with children, and is ready to immerse herself in the Montessori learning style!
In her free time, you can find Haley hiking, reading a good book, writing, and spending time with friends and family, especially her three nephews. 


Children’s House // Ages 3 through Kindergarten

The Birch Room

Cheryl Matthews // Director

Cheryl has been teaching in the Children’s House program since 1987, she is truly a “Master” Montessori teacher. She has a BS from Lyndon State College and has both her Primary (age 3-6) and Lower Elementary (age 6-9) AMS (American Montessori Society) certifications as well as her elementary education state certification from Franklin Pierce College. Whether in the classroom or out in the natural world, Cheryl brings out the joy of learning unique to each child.

When she is not in the classroom Cheryl is busy with her family visiting children in Northern Vermont, gardening or sugaring, and caring for animals on her small farm.

Mariam Diallo // Children’s House Assistant & the Before Care Program Director

Mariam has been the warm and welcoming pillar of Hilltop After Care since 2011. Mariam attended training through the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative (METTC) at Lexington Montessori School and the Advanced Assistant’s Overview training at the Gordon College. She studied the philosophy, pedagogy and methodology of Montessori education and how to guide children with the vast array of Montessori materials. Mariam also has an Associate’s degree from the Community College of Vermont in Liberal Arts and a BA from Keene State College in Sociology.

Mariam has been a volunteer in orphanages in Mali, her homeland, and currently helps with an orphanage in Haiti, a project she began after the Earthquake. She enjoys cooking and sharing meals with friends and family, reading, travel, and learning about different cultures and new languages.

Julia Gil // Children’s House Assistant

Julia joined Hilltop in 2019 as aftercare staff. She was introduced to the Montessori world at age 3 and attended a Montessori school in Ithaca, NY for 6 years.  She got her undergraduate degree at Hampshire College in Animal Behavior, studying African elephants in Botswana. Since college, she has found herself back in the Montessori community. She is currently in AMI training through Montessori Northwest and is pursuing a Masters in Early Childhood Education at Whitworth University. When not in class or on campus, Julia enjoys exploring the outdoors with her golden retriever and working on her latest art project. Julia loves traveling, cooking, animals, and working with children. 

The Willow Room

Jonathan Sellers // Director

Jonathan joined the Willow Room in 2014. Jonathan has his Children’s House certification from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education. He has five years of experience teaching in Montessori Children’s House classrooms, including at Amherst Montessori School and the New Century School (language immersion) in Baltimore, Maryland. Jonathan has a calm, nurturing, thoughtful, and mature demeanor. His teaching style encourages children to find their paths and learn naturally in the Montessori environment.
His wife, Kate, is a midwife and a daughter, Josephine, in the Children’s House and Coleman, not yet a Hilltopper.

Rebecca Baiser // Assistant

Rebecca Baiser joined us in 2014 and puts Montessori training and experience into practice as the assistant teacher in the Willow Room. She obtained her Children’s House credential from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education in 2002 and received her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2007. She has been an educator for over a decade and has taught in schools in California and Brattleboro before staying home with her young son. She is excited to have found a position at such an authentic Montessori school. Her son, Isaac, completed the 3-year Children’s House cycle and is currently in Lower Elementary.

Annie Woodward // Children’s House and After Care Assistant
Annie joined the Hilltop community in 2018 and is glad to bring her love of children and teaching experience back to Hilltop for a third year. She studied Education and Child Development at Marlboro College, where her thesis focused on the ideals of early childhood education and the importance of play in child development. She began her teaching journey in Early Headstart programs, and continued on to teach in Waldorf schools in roles of assistant, summer, and aftercare teacher. She spent a year as lead Kindergarten teacher, leading a “Forest Kindergarten” nature-based class, outdoors in the beautiful Vermont woods, throughout the seasons.

She continued her teaching and training at a Waldorf Kindergarten in Colorado, leading the rest and afternoon program for two years, before moving back to Vermont in 2017, where she spent a year off from school working with individual children and families, before being drawn back into teaching with the wonderful community at Hilltop. Last year, Annie gained her Provisional Teaching License, and is filling the responsibility for Hilltop’s PreK Program Licensed teacher.

Annie enjoys creating art in many forms, writing, photography, traveling, spending time in nature and in the water. She lives out in the country with her husband Nick and their dearest companion cat of fourteen years, Bosco.

Françoise Zucchetti Clay // Children’s House Assistant

Françoise’s journey in the Montessori field began when her 10 year old daughter started attending a Montessori school in 2003. Françoise believes that her daughter’s Montessori education helped build skills and self-confidence in a way that her prior  schooling did not allow. Over time, Françoise became more and more involved in her daughter’s school, first as volunteer, then as a cook, and later as a teacher. Françoise completed her AMI Montessori training at the primary (3-6 year old) level in 2008 and taught as a lead teacher for 4 years before moving to the United States from France.

One of the things that Françoise loves about Montessori is the way it allows each child to grow according to his or her individual needs and abilities. She appreciates the focus on all aspects of a child’s development, not exclusively on the area of academics. Françoise is looking forward to bringing her Montessori experience to our Children’s House and Aftercare Programs this year. 



Elementary
(Lower – grades 1 – 3 / Upper – grades 4 – 6)
Lower Elementary

Kerstin Kjellberg // Lower Elementary Teacher

Kerstin joined Hilltop in the Lower Elementary in 2010. She holds a BA in English Literature from Clark University and completed her 6-9 Montessori teacher training during the summer of 2013 at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education (CMTE). Kerstin also has her certification in elementary Waldorf education.
She attended the Enfield Montessori School in Enfield, CT, from age 2 1/2 to 9.  She has lots of fond memories of those early days, including tracing her finger on those scratchy sandpaper letters and polishing her shoes. Kerstin is an avid swimmer in her life outside of school, and also enjoys hiking, baking, reading, writing, visiting museums with her daughter, Siri ’19, and spending time with her friends.

Patrick Burke // Lower Elementary Teacher
Patrick graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Biology. Like so many Montessori teachers, Patrick had that “aha” moment through observing his oldest child when he started in Children’s House. Currently Patrick has a child in Upper El and Middle School, and his oldest graduated from Hilltop in 2020.

He earned his Lower Elementary certification from the Center for Montessori Teaching in NY, and has been teaching at Hilltop since 2013. On his days off, Patrick soothes his spirit by strumming a guitar, tapping the keys of a piano, or writing music.

Amelia Fontein  // Lower Elementary Assistant

Amelia joined the Hilltop community in 2016 as an assistant in Lower Elementary. In 2018, she earned her certification as a Wilson Language Instructor and loves to incorporate this literacy training into her work with elementary students. Amelia graduated from the University of Vermont, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies. She brings her knowledge and passion for art, nature, reading, and music into the classroom. Amelia loves working with children and continues to learn more about Montessori’s teaching philosophy through her work with wonderful Hilltop staff and students. This year, Amelia began pursuing a Master’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Antioch University. In her free time, she loves hiking, canoeing, gardening, playing bocce, finding awesome swimming holes, and contra dancing.

Dylan Lagle // Lower Elementary Assistant

Dylan moved a lot growing up, living in California, Pennsylvania, and eventually Vermont, where he attended BUHS as a high schooler.
He started his journey in education officially in 2016, when he did his student teaching for and graduated from his licensing program, becoming a licensed high school English teacher in the state of Massachusetts.
He spent the next several years trying to diversify his education beyond the academic, taking opportunities to try different kinds of work, from factory and warehouse work to wilderness (mostly trail) construction. Pretty quickly, Dylan figured out that he should get back to working with kids, and found his place working with some great programs at summer camps and afterschool programs, and is excited to have finally landed at an amazing school (Hilltop).
In his free time, you might find Dylan playing board games with his friends, reading some bad sci-fi, or walking in the woods behind his house. Some of his hobbies include gardening, cooking, and baking bread. 


Upper Elementary

Tom Griffith // Upper Elementary Teacher

Tom has been teaching in the Upper Elementary at Hilltop since 1993. He “grew up” in Cleveland and received a BA in Music Theory from Kenyon College.  He and his wife Leslie moved to New Orleans where he began a career in woodworking in a small custom cabinet shop. They later moved to Bratttleboro so Leslie could attend SIT. Tom caught the teaching bug in a refugee camp in Panat Nikhom, Thailand, where they taught Laotian and Khmer refugees from 1985 to 1987. After returning to the states, they built a house in Westminster West and Tom received an MS in Environmental Studies from Antioch University New England. He completed Montessori training courses at the Seacoast Montessori Training Center and the upper elementary Montessori certification program at CMTE. They have 2 children, both of whom, in their opinion, have turned out pretty well in part as a result of their time at Hilltop (Evan, ’02 and Claire, ’03). Tom enjoys singing with the River Singers, taking care of the animals at home, and puttering around the house and the school.

Jennifer Hed // Upper Elementary Teacher

Jennifer hails from the west coast, finished high school and college round one in Texas, and spent a decade in D.C. working in public affairs before turning her sights teaching. She holds M.A.’s in Latin American Studies and Education, and completed her Montessori AMI elementary training at the Washington Montessori Institute.  After teaching upper elementary in the D.C. area, she moved with her family to Brattleboro in 2000, where her husband attended SIT and oldest daughter Natasha landed at Hilltop (graduate 2008). Jennifer taught music part-time in the area for several years before joining the Hilltop staff. Her husband, Steve, is a farmer and school sustainability coordinator, and she has two children currently at BUHS.

Jennifer loves the Montessori “Cosmic Education” curriculum, and especially enjoys being surprised by children’s unexpected insights in every area of the curriculum. She also enjoys folk music and dance, caring for honeybees, and occasionally playing with the power tools in the garage.

Ashley Stephens // Upper Elementary Teacher

Ashley completed her BS in Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and her MA in Education at Loyola University in Baltimore. A world traveler who finally found her calling in a Montessori classroom, she then completed her AMI Elementary training in Portland, Oregon in 2015. Besides working with children, Ashley also enjoys any kind of adventure that gets her exploring the great outdoors, reading historical fiction, and playing her ukulele. 

Kathy Leone // Upper Elementary Assistant

Kathy joined Hilltop in 2019 as a member of the AfterCare team.  She also provided support for the Upper Elementary and Children’s House classrooms.  This year, she is excited to be a member of the Upper Elementary team.  She holds a Bachelors of Science in Ecology and Environmental Studies and is passionate about both science and education, born from all her experiences outdoors and in the classroom. Before coming to Hilltop, she worked in a variety of educational capacities including seasonal work for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the YMCA, and provided full time academic support for a public charter school and a public elementary school in Massachusetts.

Over the years, Kathy has also incorporated travel into her work as a wildlife field technician, getting as far away as South Africa, a remote island off the coast of California and as near as the Connecticut coast researching great white sharks, elephant seals, and salt marsh sparrows respectively.

During her free time, Kathy may be found hiking, kayaking, learning a new language, or playing board games with friends.

Jade Harmon // Elementary Art Teacher

Jade joined the Hilltop community as Elementary Art Teacher in 2018, joyously providing a TAB-inspired (Teaching for Artistic Behavior) studio space that resonates beautifully with Montessori philosophy. In their art studio, students behave as true artists: choosing their project and media, practicing techniques, and exploring their unique artistic voice. Students create in a supported, gently guided environment as they absorb technique, learn about artists in the world, reflect, and delight in the creative process!

Jade received her BFA in art and creative writing from New College via The Union Institute. She has taught art to children of all ages. She loves exploring all methods of art-making and specializes in comics, sculpture, graphic design, and fiber arts. She and her husband, Jay, have lived in the area since 2002. Their son, Eko, is a student in Lower Elementary. When not teaching and making her own art, Jade can be found writing, walking in the woods, and making spontaneous costumes with her son.


Middle School (grades 7 – 8)

Paul Dedell // Director

After years working in the professional theatre as a production manager, music director, and designer, in the world of music as a guitarist and composer and running a historical restoration company, Paul finally found a home for all his passions at the Hilltop Montessori Middle School. He began his association with the middle school as a parent, whose daughter Sydney was in the second graduating class. At first he collaborated with students in writing music for Performance month productions, then taught freedom songs during the first ever Civil Rights Movement study, helped construct a classroom community shelter in the woods, and eventually began team teaching humanities with Kevin Campbell, the founder of the middle school. Finally, he was around so much that the school offered him the position as director of the middle school in 2000.

Finn Campman // Lead Teacher: Language Arts & Fine Arts

Finn grew up in the Brattleboro area. He went to the Putney School and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where he focused on 19th-century Literature, Philosophy, and World Peace. After working in publishing and graphic design in New York City he moved back to Vermont where he worked at Sandglass Theater in Putney as technical director and associate artist while forming his own theater, Company of Strangers. Finn has performed and taught all over the world with his theater company. Mentored by Kevin Campbell, he began teaching in the Middle School in 2000. Finn says, “It is the raw passionate creativity of middle school students that makes me love my job. Every one of my students is about to discover the meaning of the universe, every one is walking the tightrope of self awareness, grappling with the potential of abstraction and metaphor. There is no place, I can imagine, where the potential for humanity is more evident.”

Nora Gordon // Science and Math

Nora received her MS in Environmental Studies and Science Education from Antioch University New England and holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College. She has completed the AMI Montessori Orientation Program to Adolescent Studies and is excited to bring her passion for Montessori education and the natural world to her teaching of math and science in the middle school. A graduate of Hilltop herself (Class of ’00), Nora has worked with students of all ages in Hilltop’s classrooms and gardens since 2009. She is inspired by her love of the outdoors as well as her background in organic farming. When not in the classroom or on the land with her students, Nora can be found rowing, sailing, hiking, and skiing with her dogs, Rye and Maizie.

Becky Eisenhandler  // Science and Math

Becky joined the Hilltop Montessori staff in the summer of 2014 as an Elementary Assistant and AfterCare leader for Elementary aged children. In 2015, she joined the Middle school team, bringing an enthusiasm for math and health science. Becky has a BS in Mathematics-Physics from Keene State College and an MS in Leadership for Sustainability Education from Portland State University in Oregon. In her free time, she gardens, swims, hikes, plays bocce, and reads.


Jay Cook // Music

Jay has been the school’s musical pied piper since 1996! He has a BA in Music from Middlebury College and plays an array of instruments. Jay enjoys instrumental and vocal improvisation, and plays bass, keyboard and sings with his bands, Jazzberry Jam and Hipfunk Associates. He introduces rhythm, movement and song to our youngest students; recorder, drums, ukulele, ensemble playing, music technology and collaboration to our elementary students; brings us all together for All School Gathering sings; and does everything possible to have music be integrated into the life of Hilltop Montessori School.

Mace Sebby // Physical Education

Mace joined Hilltop in 2017 to direct the Physical Education and athletic programs, and in 2019 he is excited to expand his role to assist the Upper Elementary with technology integration. Mace has over a decade’s experience teaching, coaching and motivating people of all ages and ability to consider movement as medicine. Working in the Montessori context, with ample opportunity to observe the physical development of his students, has deepened his commitment to a holistic approach in movement education. When not at Hilltop, Mace enjoys adventuring in Newfane with his “patrol dog”, Abraham.

Wendy Lynde // Learning Specialist

Wendy is our in-house Learning Specialist. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and is a certified Wilson Reading Instructor. She has been teaching for over 30 years including more than 20 years working with children who need additional support in order for them to be successful in the classroom. Her Special Education experience has been both within the school and classroom setting, and also as a tutor outside of the school and classroom environments. In addition to her teaching experience she has a wealth of knowledge gained from professional development workshops and conferences focused on academics, behavior, and differentiated learning. Her passion is teaching children to read and equipping them in all areas so that they are able to fulfill their dreams for their lives.

Wendy has been married to her husband Steven for more than 30 years and has been a resident in Vermont for as long. Together they have raised two daughters, Aubree and Julienne, who are both married, live out of state, and have recently had children of their own! In her free time Wendy can often be found capturing memories and beauty through the lens of a camera. Her ultimate dream is to incorporate her photography with reading. Teaching reading and seeing children learn remains one of the foremost passions of her life.

Rochelle Garfinkel // Education Technology Coordinator

Rochelle has been connected to Hilltop for many years as her partner Jessica worked with Paul and Finn as a middle school teacher. Rochelle grew up in a small town on the narrow tip of Long Island where her family ran a small summer motel. She landed in Putney 25 years ago while earning her Masters in Environmental Education at Antioch New England University. She worked in outdoor, environmental and humane education near and far. She later earned an MLS and has worked as a Librarian and Educational Technology Integration Specialist in public schools for 15 years.
Her older son Morgon is a true Hilltopper, and currently starting his first year in the Middle School. In her free time, she likes to read, mountain bike, xc ski, paddle and explore New England. 

“One can pass quite close to the child and yet not see him.”
—Dr. Maria Montessori
The Toddler Program
Ages 18–36 months
Children’s House
Ages 3–6
Lower Elementary
Ages 6–9
Upper Elementary
Ages 9–12
Middle School
Ages 12 –14