The Willow Room

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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.

Madeline Peck

Willow Room Teacher

Growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Madeline has long loved rolling hills and mountains, swimming in rivers, hiking, and getting acquainted with many varieties of flora and fauna. As a recent transplant to New England, Madeline is enjoying exploring her new home (recommendations welcome!).

Having worked in a variety of different educational settings, Madeline is so excited to be joining the Hilltop community! She is especially eager to be immersed in a Montessori learning environment. She strives to approach each day with a sense of curiosity and possibility- qualities she looks forward to bringing with her to the classroom.

In her spare time, Madeline can be found outside exploring, hiking with her puppy, Luna, lounging with her two cats, Radish and Parsley, enjoying potlucks with friends, gardening, creating haphazard art projects, traveling, or getting lost in a good book.

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 

Children's House Afternoon and AfterCare 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.