The Willow Room

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Rebecca Baiser

Willow Room Teacher

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.

Jay Cook

Music Teacher

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.

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.

Jonathan Sellers

Willow Room 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.

Jonathan lives with his wife Kate, a midwife, and their daughter, Josephine, in the Children’s House and son, Coleman, in the Toddler Program.

Marco Yunga Tacuri

Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Director & Children's House Spanish and PE Teacher

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.

Annie Woodward 

Willow Room 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

Willow Room 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.