Board of Trustees

The role of the Board of Trustees is to determine and oversee policies that support the mission of the school and to ensure the school’s fiscal stability. This includes the hiring and evaluation of the Head of School, appointing standing and ad hoc committees, overseeing the lease and facility use, fundraising and strategic planning. Equally important, Board members serve as ambassadors for the school community.

Board members from the top, left to right, Steve Iams, John Barrengos, Rich Wolfe, Marti Anderson, Martin Humfedlt, Peter Fayroian, Rochelle Garfinkel, Travis Shine, Vanessa Long and Alix Fedoruk. missing are: Sarah Grasso, Kim Lier and Sandra Campbell


Steve Iams, Board Chair,
Steve Iams is an assistant professor at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, where he teaches linguistics and curriculum design courses in the MA-TESOL program and serves as the chair of the Academic Affairs committee. As an educator and teacher-trainer, he has worked with language students and teachers in Korea, Nepal, China, and Japan. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal and China. Steve holds an M.A. in TESOL from SIT and a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia, and is a doctoral student in language education at Ohio State University. Steve and his family live in Brattleboro. His sons MJ and Patrick are in the Children’s House Program.

Martin Humfeldt, Incoming Board Chair and Treasurer,
Martin is the Chief Operating Officer of Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, Vermont and Casa Grande, Arizona and holds a Master Degree in Dairy Technology & Food Science.

Martin moved to Brattleboro in August 2015.  Prior moving to the United States, Martin managed the End to End Supply Chain Organizations (Plan, Source, Make & Deliver) of Royal FrieslandCampina in Germany, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Martin enjoys the outdoors and sports including soccer, tennis and golf. Martin lives in Spofford, New Hampshire with his wife Svetlana – an English/German Teacher and Psychologist – and their children Alica and Alexander who are in the Children’s House and Toddler Programs at Hilltop.

Rich Wolfe, Outgoing Board Chair,
Rich is a parent of a Middle School graduate, Greta, previously served on the Hilltop Finance Committee and now the Board Chair.  Rich is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (B.S.) and has a variety of experience in business operations, finance, and non-profit.  He is COO of EMCO Gears in Chicago, IL, COO of Jonathan’s Sprouts in Rochester, MA, owner of a Liberty Tax office in Warwick, RI, Executive Director and Treasurer of a non-profit the International Sprout Growers Association, Project Manager of the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study, and Treasurer of The Conservation Agency non-profit.  Rich and his wife, Katy, moved to Putney from Rhode Island after Katy completed her Masters program at Antioch and took a job at The Putney School.  They also have a son, Robbie, who attends UVM.


Vanessa Long, Secretary,
Vanessa is the mother of Luci in Lower El and Uri in the Willow Room.  She has a BA in Women’s Studies & Public Policy from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and a Masters of Science in Management & Health Care Administration from Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro.  Vanessa is proud to be part of Hilltop Montessori’s first graduating sixth grade class from the Austine Campus, and is even more excited that her children are able to enjoy the benefits of Hilltop as well.  She believes that her Montessori education strongly prepared her for her current profession as an independent employee benefits and human resources consultant, where she works with around 100 different organizations, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  In this job, she helps people in all areas of our community navigate health insurance, disability, and financial risk, while also providing comprehensive HR solutions at the organizational level.  Prior to her work in New England, Vanessa worked managing clinical services for Planned Parenthood in Texas, developing a nationally recognized Teen Clinic and working to provide health care to marginalized communities. With her partner Ben, Vanessa loves to cultivate vegetables and fruits around their home in Putney, make delicious food, and enjoy science fiction and good writing.

Members at Large

Marti Anderson,
Marti is a parent of three Hilltop Alumni, Ian, Lyra and Andre’. Lyra and Andre’ both began their educations at Hilltop and graduated from the Middle School. Marti, Michael and family have lived in Botswana and Thailand, when not in Vermont.  Marti is a teacher educator who teaches teachers pursuing Masters’ Degrees. She also works independently as an educational consultant in the US and abroad.

John Barrengos
John is dad to Eliot Barrengos, in Upper El at Hilltop and he serves as Director of Admission at The Putney School, where his daughter attends and his wife Kate Knopp serves as Dean of Faculty.  John earned his BA in International Relations at Tufts and his Ed. D. in Organizations & Leadership at Columbia’s Teachers College.  After working as a commercial banker for schools, hospitals and other non-profits, John has, since 1990, served as a teacher and administrator in schools, most recently in service as head of school at a pre-K – 8 day school in CT.  John has served on six non-profit boards; currently as a board member for the Stoneleigh-Burnham School and for the Association of Independent School Admission Professionals.

Sandra T.
Sandy’s affiliation with Hilltop extends back over 30 years, when her son, Alex, attended the pre-school program, in the basement of Centre Church. She was an HMS board member then, when the notion of a middle school program was a quite remote but desirable reality.  Some years later, her daughter, Megan, had the good fortune to join the first middle school program, which she attended from sixth through eighth grade, still in the unglamorous but serviceable basement of Centre Church. With the likes of Kevin Campbell, Paul Dedell, Geordie Heller, Charles Crowell, HMS was a powerhouse of learning opportunity.  She benefitted greatly. Sandy’s three year old grandson, Bruce, is now attending the Montessori in Randolph, VT.

Sandy is a graduate of Northwestern University, Adelphi University (MSW) and Florida Institute of Technology (Psy.D.) After almost 30 years as a clinical psychologist at the Brattleboro Retreat, Sandy is now enjoying a small private practice, the pleasure of travel abroad, time with grandchildren, and again being part of HMS.

Peter Fayroian,
Peter and his wife, Rachael Waring moved onto the campus of Northfield Mount Hermon School in 2012, where they live with their daughter Sofia (Hilltop Class of 2025), son Byron (2029), 750 teenagers, teachers and their families, dozens of chickens, 7 cows, 4 pigs, 3 horses and 1 dog. Prior to his appointment as Head of NMH, Peter headed Greenhills School in Ann Arbor and served as an administrator, teacher, coach and experiential educator at schools in New York, California and Michigan. With graduate and undergraduate degrees from Middlebury and UVM, Peter is back in a part of the country with which he fell in love years ago. He and Rachael, a photographer and also a Great Lakes native, are pleased to be part of the Hilltop community.

Alix Fedoruk,
Alix lives in Dummerston with her husband, Michael, and her children, Julia, in Middle School, and Annelise, in Upper El.  She is a board certified family physician, currently taking time away from professional work.  Prior to her medical career, she graduated from Harvard-Radcliffe with a degree in History and Science, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger (greet her in French, Hausa, or Tamacheq!), worked at the World Bank, and studied Public Health.  At Hilltop, she has been a parent representative in all the classrooms her children have been in so far, and coaches Girls on the Run.  Locally, she serves at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church both on the Schroeder Fund Committee, which supports SEVCA’s Help Fund, and the Outreach Committee.  She also volunteers for Carry Me Home, helping refugees.  She enjoys running, knitting, reading, cooking, and spending time with family.

Rochelle Garfinkel,
Rochelle first moved to the area to attend Antioch’s Environmental Studies program and never left. After earning her MS in Environmental Education, she became the first Director of Education at Monadnock Humane Society and helped design its renowned Adoption and Learning Center in 1999. After years of nonprofit management work, she earned her Master of Library Science at Simmons College and became a school librarian. She is currently the librarian and educational technology integration specialist at Marlboro Elementary School. She designed the straw bale house in Putney where she lives with her partner, Jessica Turner (former Hilltop Middle School teacher) and two sons, Morgon (Lower El) and Owen (Willow).

Sarah Grasso,
Sarah has been in Brattleboro since 2001. Born and raised in Stamford, CT, she attended Columbia University as a Fellow for the Institute For Urban Education, and graduated from College of the Atlantic with a degree in Human Ecology. She received her Master’s Degree from Antioch University in Counseling Psychology and her Post-Master’s in School Counseling from Keene State. She currently serves as the school counselor for grades 9-12 at Leland & Gray Union High School in Townshend.

A lifelong dancer, Sarah has taught at the Brattleboro School of Dance, Marlboro College, and The Putney School. She currently teaches at Kelly’s Dance Academy and at Leland & Gray. She runs the dance program at YPI, a summer creative arts camp, of which she is also the assistant director. She has been a member of the Brattleboro-based dance company, KaleidoDance, since its inception.

Kim Lier,
Kim is the mother of Alex who is in the middle school at Hilltop. A bit of a nomad, Kim lived in Japan, Indiana, Vancouver (British Columbia), and the high mountains of Colorado, and worked in Maine and Alaska before moving to Brattleboro to attend SIT’s MA-TESOL program in 1994. Aside from two years spent working in Japan she has lived here ever since.

Kim earned an MAT in TESOL from the School for International Training and has dual BA degree in American Studies and Japanese from the University of Notre Dame.

Kim’s work experience has been primarily in the field of education. She was a Project Manager for SIT’s Center for Teacher Education, Training, and Research, taught Japanese at Marlboro College, conducted training for public school teachers in Massachusetts, helped develop a ESL teacher-training course for National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning and is now the Teaching and Learning Specialist in the Center for New Leadership at the Marlboro College Graduate School where she coordinates the Nonprofit Management Certificate program, the Get On Board Fellows program, and the Board Leadership Institute.

Travis C. Shine, Incoming Treasurer,
Travis is a proud parent of two Hilltop students. His son Dylan is new this year (2017-18) to Lower El, and his daughter Kennedy is entering her second year in the Willow Room. Travis lives with his wife Sarah, two children, and their dog Higgins in Newfane Vermont.

In 2002 Travis received his BA in Economics from the University of Rhode Island with a minor in philosophy and business. In 2004 he began working as a financial advisor with Ameriprise financial and in 2007 he earned his Certified Financial Planner™ designation. He is currently a partner at Goodwin, Shine and Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. with offices in both Brattleboro and Greenfield.

Travis and his wife Sarah were both born and raised in southern Vermont and are very excited to be able to raise their children in this wonderful community.   Because of his families deep roots in the Newfane area Travis also serves in the capacity of treasurer for the Newfane Congregational Church, where Dylan and Kennedy are fifth generation members.  In his spare time Travis enjoys any type of outside activity including hiking, fishing, snowboarding, skiing or golf.



“The Hilltop experience prepared me for life long learning. The experience was invaluable.”
—Hilltop Alumnus
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