Welcome from Board Chair!
It’s been a real privilege for me to serve on the Hilltop Board of Trustees the last six years. Hilltop has transformed itself in so many exciting ways during this time, from the creation of our beautiful new campus to the formation of a marvelously effective administrative team. We feel fortunate to have such an outstanding Head of School and, at the vital core of the school, such a terrific faculty and staff. Together they work very hard to maintain and improve the quality of education at Hilltop and to create a welcoming learning environment for both students and parents.
As a parent who has had one child proceed all the way through Hilltop’s programs from the Children’s House through the Middle School, I have seen first hand what a remarkable education the children receive at Hilltop. They not only learn the basic skills they will need to be successful when they leave Hilltop, but also, even more importantly, they learn to love learning itself; they gain confidence in their own voices and in their abilities to challenge themselves in areas they would not typically pursue.
To me, this is the quality that sets Hilltop apart, and in our board retreat this July, we all spoke about how inspiring this environment is for us as well. This year the board will be outlining a new Strategic Plan based on the community input provided last year. This Plan will help guide our decisions about how the school will continue to grow over the next several years. We will need a lot of help as we move forward and hope you will consider volunteering your time and skills to the various committees that will help us envision our future. Feel free to contact me, Tamara, Amelia, or anyone at Hilltop, and we’ll talk about ways you can lend your voice and expertise!
—Patrick Keppel, Board Chair
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.
Patrick Keppel, Chair
Patrick is the Chair of the Liberal Arts Department at New England Conservatory, where he teaches courses in Theater Arts and Dramatic Literature, directs the NEC Writing Center, and serves as president of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. From 2000-2010 he was the Institutional Advancement Advisor and Publications Editor for the Music-in-Education National Consortium, a national coalition of public schools, arts organizations, and institutions of higher education dedicated to creating authentic, interdisciplinary programs in music and the arts. Patrick is also a writer of fiction and plays, including Triangle, a puppet play with music performed at the Sandglass Theater in Putney in June 2013. Patrick and his wife, Serina, live in Brattleboro and are the parents of Emmanuel (Hilltop graduate, currently attending The Putney School) and Magdalena (Upper Elementary).
Mark Loevy-Reyes, Past Chair
Mark is a parent of former Hilltop student, Talia. He has served on multiple Hilltop Committees. Mark has over 20 years of legal experience, including litigating various school and employment related cases (school discrimination involving students and employees). Mark is also an educator (he currently teaches education law) and directs Windham County’s Court Diversion program.
Rich Wolfe, Board Treasurer and Incoming Chair
Rich is a parent of a Middle School graduate, Greta, and is currently serving on the Hilltop Finance Committee. 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.
Steve Iams, Board Secretary
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 son MJ is in the Children’s House.
Members at Large
Mark Anagnostopulos is the Chief Psychologist at the Brattleboro Retreat, where he has worked since moving to Brattleboro with his wife, Janet Zinter, DDS, in 1986. Their daughter, Claire, graduated from Hilltop in 2002 and is currently at The University of Pennsylvania, in the BSN/MSN Nurse Practitioner Program in Philadelphia. Mark is a graduate of Duke University (B.S.) and the University of Nebraska (Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology). His work has involved psychotherapy and consultation, mostly with children and adolescents, he has been involved in training future psychologists, and he now specializes in psychological assessments. Mark has been a member of the Vermont Jazz Center Board of Directors since 2000 and performs with the Butterfly Swing Band.
John Barrengos 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.
Rochelle Garfinkel 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 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 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.
Vanessa Long 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.
Robyn Ostrander is the Brattleboro Retreat’s Senior Medical Director and Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Services. She is a graduate of both Smith College and Harvard Medical School, and completed post graduate medical training at Dartmouth Medical School. Robyn joined the Brattleboro Retreat in July of 2005 and her clinical areas of expertise include suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the treatment of gender nonconforming youth. Robyn teaches psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School and Albany Medical College. She also teaches and coaches emerging business leaders through a partnership with Linkage Inc., in Burlington, Mass. Robyn and her husband Jerry live in NH and are the parents of Ian (Lower Elementary) and Cinder (Labernese.)