The Toddler Program

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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.

Laura Gypson

Toddler Program Teacher

When Laura moved to the Brattleboro area over seven years ago her goal was to teach at Hilltop and her path finally led to our doors last year. As an early childhood educator for over ten years now, she loves the respect that the Montessori model has for the work of every child and independence that is fostered every day within our school. Laura is currently enrolled at Northern Vermont University where she will graduate in the Spring of 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with Pre-K Licensure. She also holds an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Studies from the Community College of Vermont.
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 biking along dirt roads, cooking, reading, and caring for her rescue animals, Percy and Mya.

Haley Hopkins

Toddler Program Teacher

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.

Sarah Palacios

Toddler Program 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.