Meet Our Faculty and Staff

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. As an accredited, authentic Montessori program, all of our lead teachers meet the high standards of AMS Montessori certification, which is internationally recognized.

At HMS, the average years of teaching experience for our faculty is 12. The average teacher-student ratio is 1:10. Our retention rate over the last five years averages 90%. The average age of our faculty is 45 and the average years spent teaching at HMS is 8.

73% of our faculty have advanced degrees beyond a college degree. Two have Orton-Gillingham Associate level certification.

“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

Toddler Teacher
c@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Masters in Deaf Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) Toddler and Preschool certification
  • Educating students since 1988, Employed at HMS since 2000

Cristina Requena

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Brittany Lamb

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  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • American Montessori Society Certified For Infant and Toddler
  • Educating children since 2007, Employed at HMS since 2017

Ashley Fowler

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Stacia Stewart

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  • Bachelor of Science in Education, AMS Montessori certified 3-6
  • Educating children since 1998, Employed at HMS since 2016

Mary Knoechel

Toddler Assistant
mary@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Kennesaw State University- Early Childhood Education, Montessori assistant trained
  • Educating children since 2012, Employed at HMS since 2013

Primary Program (ages 3 - 6)

Cindi Stehr

Primary Teacher,
Toddler & Primary Program Director/ Founder
cindi@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 3-6 students
  • Educating children since 1991, Employed at HMS since 1996

Farhina Mawani

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Teresa Barnett Lindsay

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  • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • American Montessori Society certification, 3-6
  • Educating children since 2011, Employed at HMS since 2014

Christi Franks

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  • Associate’s degree/education
  • Montessori assistant trained
  • Educating children since 2011, Employed at Hilltop since 2010

Roopa Iyer

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  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification, 3-6 students
  • CMTE/NY Center for Montessori Education graduate
  • Educating children since 2011, Employed at HMS since 2012

Melissa Smith

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  • Masters in Education
  • Montessori assistant trained, significant preschool and toddler experience
  • Educating students since 1997, Employed at HMS since 2015

Mary Jo White

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  • Masters in Education
  • AMS certified in Montessori 3-6, primary
  • Educating children since 2003, Employed at HMS since 2005

Michelle Scott

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  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Orton-Gillingham Associate level certification
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 3-6 students
  • Educating children since 2004, Employed at HMS since 2007

Lower Elementary Program (ages 6 - 9)

Dama Nichols Thornton

Lower Elementary Teacher,
Elementary & Middle School Program Director
dama@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Masters in Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 6-9
  • Educating children since 1998, Employed at HMS since 1999

Stephanie Kirkpatrick

Lower Elementary Teacher
stephanie@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Educating children since 2011, Employed at HMS since 2014
  • American Montessori Society 6-9 certified

Chelsea Calhoun

Lower Elementary Teacher
chelsea@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Orton-Gillingham Associate level certification
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 6-9
  • Educating children since 2003, Employed at HMS since 2006

Ona Adams

Lower Elementary Teacher
ona@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Montessori alumni student
  • Montessori assistant trained
  • Educating children since 2009, Employed at HMS since 2010

Upper Elementary Program (ages 9 - 12)

Janet Lewis

Lead Upper Elementary Teacher
janet@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • 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
  • Educating children since 2004, Employed at HMS since 2009

Jodi Hunt

Upper Elementary Teacher
jodi@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Science in Special Education
  • Educating children since 2009, Employed at HMS since 2014
  • Montessori assistant trained

Miriam Lagona

Upper Elementary Teacher
miriam@hilltopmontessori.com
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Middle School Program (grades 7 - 8)

Michele Camp

Middle School Teacher
michelecamp@hilltopmontessori.com
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Specials

Coming Soon

Art Teacher
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Coming Soon

PE Teacher
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April Stehr

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Maria Navarro

Toddler & Primary Spanish Teacher
maria@hilltopmontessori.com
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Kaylee Cardoso

Elementary/Middle Spanish
kaylee@hilltopmontessori.com
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Kitchen

Wendy Cruse

Kitchen Manager
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Daisy Moon

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  • Working at HMS since 2016
  • Food service experience since 2015

Dianne Beasley

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Administration

Emily Nelson

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Shiela Jones

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  • Working in office administration since 2000
  • Employed at Hilltop since 2002

Theresa Fox

Director of Finance
tfox@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Business Administration and Finance
  • Working in Financial, Business, and Management since 2003
  • Employed at HMS since 2003

Cindi Stehr

Primary Teacher,
Toddler & Primary Program Director/ Founder
cindi@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 3-6 students
  • Educating children since 1991, Employed at HMS since 1996

Dama Nichols Thornton

Lower Elementary Teacher,
Elementary & Middle School Program Director
dama@hilltopmontessori.com
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  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
  • Masters in Education
  • AMS (American Montessori Society) certification for ages 6-9
  • Educating children since 1998, Employed at HMS since 1999