Meet Our Faculty

Meet our Faculty

The role of the Montessori teacher

is to help match each child with the work appropriate for them, adjusting as needed for every individual as they master concepts and look for challenges.
The Montessori teacher is a role model, an educational resource, an observer and environmental engineer. Hilltop teachers are truly caretakers of the
educational and emotional growth of their students, while bringing their own individual flavor to their classic Montessori classrooms.

“The training of the teacher is something far more than learning ideas. It includes the training of character.
It is a preparation of the spirit.”Maria Montessori

Toddler Program (ages 18 mos – 3 yrs)

Cindy ‘C’ Richmond
Toddlers
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Masters in Deaf Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) Toddler and Preschool certification
  • 20 years teaching experience, 16 at Hilltop
Rebekah Dupuis
Toddlers
  • Bachelor of Science in English
  • 4 years Montessori toddler experience and Montessori assistant trained, 3 years at Hilltop

Susan Desmond
Toddlers
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and English
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) Infant and Toddler certification
  • 8 years teaching experience, 7.5 at Hilltop
Laura Roberts
Toddlers
  • Masters in Education
  • Montessori assistant trained
  • 6 years teaching experience, 1 at Hilltop

Primary Program (ages 3-6 yrs)

Cindi Stehr
Director of Early Childhood Programming & Founder
  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 3-6 students
  • 26 years teaching experience, 20 at Hilltop
Brittany Lamb
Preschool
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • American Montessori Society Certified For Infant and Toddler
Jamie Lewis
Preschool
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • 25 years of Teaching Experience, Primary Montessori and Art Education

Mary Jo White
Preschool
  • Bachelors and Masters in Education
  • MACTE certified in Montessori 3-6, primary
  • 14 years teaching experience, 11 at Hilltop
Christi Franks
Preschool
  • Undergraduate college coursework
  • 6 years teaching experience, 6 at Hilltop
  • Montessori assistant trained

Shellie Scott
Preschool
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 3-6 students
  • 13 years teaching experience, 10 at Hilltop
Mary Knoechel
Preschool
  • Kennesaw State University- Early Childhood Education
  • 5 years teaching experience and Montessori assistant trained, 4 years at Hilltop

Roopa Nash
Preschool
  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification, 3-6 students
  • 6 years teaching experience, 5 at Hilltop
  • CMTE/NY Center for Montessori Education graduate
Melissa Smith
Preschool
  • Masters in Education
  • 20 years early childhood teaching experience, 2 at Hilltop
  • Montessori assistant trained

Teresa Barnett
Preschool
  • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • American Montessori Society certification, 3-6
  • 6 years teaching experience, 4 at Hilltop
Anna Clare Culp
Preschool
  • Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts
  • UAB Masters Coursework
  • 8 years teaching experience, 2 at Hilltop

Lower Elementary Program (ages 6-9)

Dama Nichols
Director of Elementary and Middle School
  • Masters in Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 6-9
  • 18 years teaching experience, 16 at Hilltop
Ona Adams
Lower Elementary
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Montessori assistant trained
  • Montessori alumni student
  • 8 years teaching experience in Montessori and at Hilltop

Chelsea Calhoun
Lower Elementary
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 6-9
  • 14 years teaching experience, 11 at Hilltop
Jessica Chesnutt
Lower Elementary
  • Bachelor of Arts in American Studies/Human Development
  • American Montessori Society certified
  • 7 years teaching experience, 1 at Hilltop

Stephanie Kirkpatrick
Lower Elementary
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • 6 years teaching experience in Montessori, 5 at Hilltop
  • American Montessori Society 6-9 intern

Upper Elementary Program (ages 9-12)

Janet Lewis
Upper Elementary
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • CMTE/NY (Center for Montessori Teacher Education, New York) graduate
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 9-12
  • 13 years teaching experience, 8 at Hilltop
Jodi Hunt
Upper Elementary
  • Bachelor of Science in Special Education
  • 8 years teaching experience, 3 at Hilltop
  • Montessori assistant trained
April Stehr
Upper Elementary
  • Bachelor of Science in Music Education
  • American Montessori Society certified
  • Orff Certified
  • 9 years teaching experience, 1 at Hilltop

Middle School Program (grades 7-8)

Sherry Cook
Middle School
  • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • 41 years teaching experience, 13 at Hilltop

Spanish Program

Graciela Rodriguez
Elementary and Middle School Spanish
  • Native Speaker
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Elementary/Middle school Spanish immersion teacher
  • 7 years teaching experience, 3 at Hilltop
Ana Diaz
Preschool, Kindergarten and Toddler Spanish
  • Masters in Early Childhood Education
  • Native speaker
  • Early childhood/Kindergarten Spanish immersion teacher
  • 16 years teaching experience, 9 at Hilltop

Music, Fine Arts and Physical Wellness

Derek Kluz
Director of Music Education, PS-Middle School
  • Bachelor of Music Education and Music Arts
  • Masters coursework in Conducting
  • AMS training
  • 21 years teaching experience in music education, 19 at Hilltop
Corinthia Miller
Director of Physical Education
  • Masters in Education
  • 10 years teaching experience, 1 at Hilltop
Anna Clare Culp
Director of Art Education and Primary Assistant (a.m.)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts
  • UAB Masters Coursework
  • 8 years teaching experience, 2 at Hilltop
Amy Gribben Dibble
Director of After School Programming
  • Bachelors degree in Music Education, Concentration in Flute
  • 7 years teaching experience, 1 at Hilltop

Kitchen

Ashley Pigford
Community Kitchen Manager
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business/International Trade and Foreign Language
Daisy Walton
Community Kitchen Support

Administration

Michele Scott Wilensky
Head of School
  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
  • Masters in Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 6-9 students
  • Employed at Hilltop since 1998
  • 11 years teaching experience and 13 years experience as Head of School
Email
Melanie Morrison
Admissions and Retention/New Family Liaison
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for infants through age 3
  • 15 years teaching experience and 6 years experience in administration at Hilltop
Shiela Jones
Office Manager
  • 16 years experience in office management
  • Employed at Hilltop since 2002
Theresa Fox
Business Manager
  • Bachelor of Science in Business
  • Employed at Hilltop since 2003
  • 15 years accounting experience