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.

Overview of the HMS Board

HMS Trustee Candidate Information Form

Asher Pucciarello, Board Chair, asherpucciarello@gmail.com
Asher attended Antioch Graduate School where he received an MA in Counseling Psychology. He is currently co-director of The Children and Parents Project where he has been part of the team since 1995. At CAPP, Asher provides individual, couples, family, and group mental health counseling for children, teenagers and adults as well as individual, small group and larger system consultation for educational and mental health providers and organizations.

Asher lives in Westminster West with his wife, Re, and their three children. Finnegan is currently attending the Middle School, and Oona and Esmé are in Hilltop’s Upper Elementary. Asher has been notably inspired by Hilltop’s demonstrated commitment to help children sustain their curiosity for lifelong use, to develop meta-cognitive skills so that their strong minds can be channeled, and to develop a solid sense of who they are in community.

In order to further his mission to work with others to create and support healthy spaces for children’s minds, and out of gratefulness for his children’s education at the school, Asher has joined the board in hopes of giving back to the Hilltop community.

Alix Fedoruk, Outgoing Board Co-Chair, alixf@mac.com
Alix lives in Dummerston with her husband, Michael, and her two children, Julia and Annelise, both Hilltop graduates. 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.

Ellie Pennell, Incoming Board Chair, elliepennell5@gmail.com
Ellie has worn several hats as a member of the Hilltop staff for 10 years – from Children’s House classroom aide to starting and directing the Toddler Program. She is thrilled to continue serving the Hilltop community in a new way as not only a board member, but also In-Coming Chair. Ellie holds two Montessori teaching certificates at the Infant/Toddler and Children’s House levels, as well as a BA in Psychology from Miami University, and a Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She is now transitioning to a new role at an educational non-profit, The Aloha Foundation, as the Director of Hive Camp for 7-12 year old girls. With her husband, Andrew, Ellie has 3 teenage children, the youngest of whom is a Seventh Grade student at Hilltop. She loves running with her dog, hiking, anytime near a beach, and feels so lucky to call Vermont home.

Vanessa Long, Secretary, vanessalong4881@gmail.com
Vanessa is the mother of Uri in the Lower El. 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.

Travis C. Shine, Treasurer, Travis.c.shine@ampf.com
Travis is a proud parent of two Hilltop students. His son Dylan is in Upper El and his daughter Kennedy in Lower El. 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.

Members at Large

Marta Bernbaum
Marta grew up shuffling between the Maine Coast and the Colorado Rockies as a kid. She now lives in West Brattleboro, up high off of Sunset Lake Road, with her husband Josh and son Finn, who is in Upper Elementary. She has a Fine Arts Degree with a focus in working in glass, which has evolved into glass art teaching and offering lessons through Airbnb Experiences (both virtual and in person). During her free time she plays ukulele, does graphic design for a few different nonprofit groups of which she is a member, and can usually be found gardening on her three acres. Being a participant in the local “Hortidorks” group as well as being steeped in her family’s landscaping business, it is hard to keep her out of the dirt. She’s hoping to continue her efforts with Kegan on the grounds work that she has been a part of for the past few years, and is excited to work the overgrown areas into something bright and vibrant again!

Todd Fahey
Todd is the proud parent of Sage in the Willow Room. He lives with his wife, Lindsay, and Sage at their home in Newfane, Vermont. Todd and family moved to Vermont in September 2015 after spending approximately ten years in the Boston area. Prior to that, he lived in the New York metro area following being raised in upstate New York.

Todd is an administrator at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and is currently serving in the role of Director of Radiology, Oncology, Comprehensive Care and Biomedical Engineering. Prior to moving to Vermont, he worked for nine years at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with a focus on education, training and emergency preparedness. Todd obtained his B.S. degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Cortland and his M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Hofstra University in Long Island.

In their free time, Todd and family can be found skiing every weekend in the winter (where Todd will soon be struggling to keep up with Sage). Other seasons will generally find them doing something outside. Owing to having the nearest family at least three hours away, they also will often be found as impromptu Airbnb hosts or sitting in traffic on the Mass Pike or New York State Thruway.

Elizabeth Fisher
Elizabeth is the mother of Nicholas, now grown, and Cara, who is a Middle School student at Hilltop. Cara and Elizabeth share their West Brattleboro home with a Bassetoodle, a Bischapoo, two kittens, and a variety of Dust Bunnies. As a child, Elizabeth lived on the Islands of Jamaica and Trinidad, where she observed troubling racial and socio-economic divisions; she developed a lifelong interest in seeking understanding and reconciliation between people of differing races and cultures. She attended The School of International Service, at American University, where she received a B.A. in International Relations; and went on to receive an M.Div from Yale Divinity School. She served as an Ordained Pastor to United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations in the D.C. Metro Area, Connecticut, and VT., for 18 years.

After adopting her son from Moldova, she moved to Brattleboro to study at SIT where she earned an M.Ed in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in 2001, and for the fifteen years thereafter, she was a teacher for immigrant and refugee children in the Greenfield Public School System. Since Cara began at Hilltop, Elizabeth has enjoyed volunteering in her daughter’s classroom. She was also involved in forming the Parent Anti-Bias Committee. She also volunteers as a Guardian Ad. Litem for Foster Children in Windham County, and is an active member of the Guilford Community Church. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys hiking, biking, photography, and gardening.

Andrea Lemon
Originally from Chicago, Andrea Lemon fell in love with New England 30 years ago when she first came here for college. She studied French Literature and obtained degrees from Wesleyan University and Middlebury College.

Andrea was fortunate to graduate just as the World Wide Web emerged, since there were surprisingly few jobs available for French majors. Web design proved a good match for her interests in communication and graphic design, and she’s worked in the field ever since. Since 2011, Andrea has worked for BuildingGreen, a Brattleboro-based online resource for sustainable architecture and design professionals, and she currently holds the role of Design Director.

Having had a tour with other neighbors during the construction of the Arts Barn, she was impressed with Hilltop’s educational offerings and is excited to be contributing to the school’s efforts at this time.

She lives with her husband Ted just up the road from Hilltop in a cutting-edge Passive House. The house consumes far less electricity than a similarly-sized conventional house and stays comfortable year-round.
Andrea’s other interests include meditation and creative writing.

Heather Lesage-Horton
Heather is a pediatrician at Brattleboro Primary Care. She obtained her B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Vermont.  She then ventured to the Midwest for five years to complete her training at the University of Michigan.  As a native Vermonter she enthusiastically returned in 2014 and since has been an active member in VCHIP quality improvement projects and the electronic health record committee at BMH.

Heather enjoys being outdoors, gardening, quilting and yoga. She lives in Brattleboro with her husband Mark and their children, Eleanor and Annabel, both in the Lower Elementary, and Ethan, who isn’t old enough to attend Hilltop just yet.

Joslyn McIntyre
A native of Western Mass, Joslyn was living out West until she and her husband Jon had identical twin daughters and decided to give them a proper New England country childhood. They now live at the serene end of a dirt road in Guilford, and Eliza and Phoebe attend Children’s House.

Joslyn created and founded a content development and marketing business, Outside Eye Consulting, where she works with innovative companies from Silicon Valley to Stockholm. While her BFA in art photography/ceramics from Syracuse University was a creative achievement, her real-life education came from years spent working in the trenches of the yoga industry as a project and business manager, and in the exciting early dotcom days as a digital marketer.

She has a strong interest in brand storytelling and intends to use it to help Hilltop spread its story to a wider audience. She is also eager to participate in the anti-bias work that makes Hilltop such a special and ideal place to raise thoughtful citizens of the world. In her down time, Joslyn cherishes adventures with her family, gardening, exploring the woods, loitering at the farmers market, experimental cooking, and crafting with her kids.

Dora Urujeni
Dora earned her Master’s Degree in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation from the School of International Training, and a Bachelor’s Degree and Graduate Diploma in Educational Psychology from the University of Rwanda. She is a former Member of Parliament in Rwanda. She was the Director of Memos, an NGO dedicated to educating youth and community members about non violence and genocide prevention. She was deeply involved in the Truth and Reconciliation processes in Rwanda, and was a lead organizer of international exchange programs and logistics coordinator for field studies courses with those visiting from Smith College, Johns Hopkins University, Zen Peacemakers, and the School for International Training, among others. She was a visiting fellow at the Greater Falls Community Justice Center, supporting and developing programs aimed at providing restorative justice alternatives to incarceration. She is skilled at leading circles for conflict transformation and harm repair. She first joined the Hilltop community as a parent to her young son who started in the Toddler Program and is now in the Birch Room.

“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