Faculty & Staff

ADMINISTRATION-


Jill@hillsidelearning.org

Shortly after graduating college, Jill discovered her passion for working with individuals with learning differences when she accepted what she assumed would be a short-term job at a learning center. There Jill got her first taste of the life changing power that effective instruction holds for the dyslexic learner. As she witnessed the blossoming self-confidence, resilience, and joy her students experienced as they started to embrace their challenges and view themselves as unique and capable learners, she was hooked.

Since then, Jill has worked in a variety of settings designed for students with dyslexia, and has taught ages from Kindergarten to adult. She joined the Hillside team in August 2006, teaching for seven years, then transitioning into administration in 2013. Jill has found a home at Hillside and is honored to lead this group of exceptional educators and administrators in their meaningful and transformative work.

Not one to shirk her Colorado-duties, Jill spends time outside hiking the front range or simply sitting quietly taking in the vast and beautiful Colorado skies. As a parent, Jill currently enjoys swapping new-school and old-school music appreciation lessons with her teenage son and creating an endless amount of art, ranging from glue-gun and toothpick towers to doodle mandalas with her daughter.


Kathy@hillsidelearning.org

Kathy has a had a lifelong, deep and passionate interest in how children learn. At the start of her career, she established the first programs for children with learning disabilities in the United States Dependents Schools, European Area school system.  This experience began a self-driven pursuit of knowledge related to the field of dyslexia and the emotional impact of learning challenges.  After landing in Boulder in 1976, Kathy worked for twelve years as a learning specialist in Boulder Valley Schools. Feeling the need to apply her skills more broadly and to expand her knowledge, Kathy started The Learning Connection in Boulder where she provided diagnostic learning evaluations, worked one-on-one with children, and managed a tutoring staff.  Kathy also published The Teaching Parent, a catalog of teaching materials for parents. In 1995 she co-founded and co-directed Bridge School, a private school for grades 6-12. During this time she became immersed in the burgeoning, exciting research related to dyslexia and the impact of stress on learning which ultimately culminated in the inception and development of Hillside School where state of the art teaching strategies could be effectively implemented.  People often comment to Kathy that starting a school must be very difficult and challenging, but she emphatically lets them know that nothing could be further from the truth. Hillside was a joy from the very beginning because the positive impact on the children was immediately visible in their academic growth and well-being.

Taking advantage of all Colorado has to offer, in 1982 Kathy and her husband Jim designed and built (by themselves!) a passive solar home which they still enjoy.  During the building of the house, their two little boys ages 2 and 4 enthusiastically helped by playing in all the available mud and dirt from the building project.  Over the years a third son was added to the family and the house became a mini-farm of sorts with bees, chickens, perennials and cutting flowers along with a vegetable garden.   Honey, eggs and veggies are regularly shared with all.

In the warm weather months, sitting outside in the gardens under the maple tree is Kathy’s special pleasure.   Let her know if you would ever like to come for some quiet time and thoughtful conversation. . .


Rachel@hillsidelearning.org

A proud Boulder native, Rachel was born at Boulder Community Hospital and attended Columbine Elementary, Centennial Middle School (which was a junior high then!), and both Boulder and Fairview High Schools. Along the way, she had some imaginative, knowledgeable, and just plain fun teachers who inspired her to love learning and to become a teacher herself. Since 1999, she has taught and mentored middle school and high school students from Kansas to Paris, France to New York City to Denver and back to Boulder.

She earned her B.S. at the University of Kansas in elementary/middle school education and special education, and her M.S. in special education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. However, it was at her first teaching job at the Churchill School in New York City when she realized that teaching was really a craft that aligned perfectly with her strengths. Seeing her students flourish in their knowledge of themselves as learners and believe that they could be successful was so life-giving and inspiring that she knew she had found her career.

Teaching at Hillside, with its talented staff and remarkable students and families, has been a highlight in her career thus far. The vibrant Hillside environment inspires her to continue her own education to deepen her understanding of how the brain learns and functions and how to maximize its potential. Since 2017 she has added part-time administrative work at Hillside, focusing on developing a professional development program that shares our expertise in dyslexic learners with teachers in all settings. In her spare time, she enjoys digging in her garden, meeting friends for coffee, enjoying sumptuous meals at the panoply of delicious restaurants in the area, and being a dance mom for her two sweet girls.


Lindsay@hillsidelearning.org

Lindsay has been raising money for independent schools since 2010 because she believes that the solution to many of today’s challenges begins with education. Lindsay grew up in the Philadelphia area and graduated from Lehigh University with a double degree in Journalism and Public Relations. She knew she wanted a job that would serve others and began her career as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2010 she took a position as the Associate Director of Development for Vermont Academy, a New England Board School, where she discovered her passion for raising money to support the work of independent schools.

At Vermont Academy she saw first-hand the transformation that can occur when students are met where they are at by faculty who have the resources to do so. She was inspired by not only the academic growth in these students, but their personal growth and the confidence that ensued. As hard as it was to leave Vermont Academy, she and her husband decided to follow their love for the outdoors and move to Boulder in 2014. Lindsay proudly served as the Associate Director of Development and Director of Alumni Relations at the Dawson School for two years where she helped grow the fundraising and outreach programs. She has been leading the development program at Hillside since 2016, where she feels she can blend her non-profit and independent school background to support the work the faculty do to nurture Hillside students to become confident and capable learners.

In her free time Lindsay enjoys being in the mountains, hiking with her family and friends, and spending as much time as possible with her toddler son, Camden. She also likes to practice what she preaches and donates her money and time to her alma mater and nonprofits she feels passionate about.


FACULTY-


Lisa@hillsidelearning.org

Lisa Duhamel grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and received a B.A. in Business and Economics and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. She knew she wanted a career in which she would make a difference and she decided to make that difference in sunny Colorado. She was a classroom teacher for 5 years in Cherry Creek. Following a break to have three daughters, she was hired as a reading and math interventionist and worked with small groups of struggling students and she found her passion. She went back to school and added reading specialist to her certification. She has been working with children with reading challenges for 15 years and at Hillside since 2014.

Lisa loves working at Hillside because she gets to work with children with dyslexia and make a difference in their lives. Her favorite part of her job is helping children who have struggled in school to see their worth, their gifts, and their intelligence. It is for this reason that Lisa got into teaching – seeing children loving to learn!

Lisa also loves to travel, especially to destinations where she can snorkel, scuba dive, and enjoy the ocean. She also enjoys hiking, biking, hot springs, and spending time with her husband and three daughters.

Beth.farling@hillsidelearning.org

Beth has been a teacher at the Hillside School in Boulder for the past six years. Finding a place like Hillside has been the treasure of her educational experience. Prior to teaching at Hillside, Beth spent fourteen years teaching special education in the St Vrain Valley School District. She holds an elementary teaching certification from University of Colorado and a special education endorsement from Keene State College in New Hampshire.

Beth started her career as an elementary reading recovery interventionist before working with moderate needs students in a middle school resource setting. Over the years, Beth has pursued her love of learning through numerous literacy and math trainings and workshops. Hillside has provided her the experience of combining it’s unique methodology with her own areas of expertise and training.

Beth’s love of the outdoors brought her to live and teach in places like Talkeetna, Alaska and Crested Butte, Colorado, before moving to the Front Range. In her free time, you will often find her, along with her husband and son, camping and floating rivers on their raft. Beth also loves skiing, biking, drawing, and planning her next family adventure.

Gail@hillsidelearning.org

Gail has found her calling as a Hillside School Teacher. She believes every student has a super power that has the potential to change the world, especially students with learning differences. These students’ brains were structured differently, so they can work outside of the box. While these differences can create frustration and uncertainty during their education careers, they require the student to learn from an alternative perspective. This perspective allows the students to approach problem solving from their own unique angle.

Gail feels it is her job to facilitate student’s belief and confidence in themselves. She uses student’s individual strengths to work around their particular area of challenge. In addition, she reframes their thoughts about struggling; she encourages them to view their struggles as opportunities for growth and to build perseverance. Developing the Growth Mindset is the key to student success.

Her ultimate objectives are to:

  • believe in the students until they believe in themselves,
  • discover how individual students learn best,
  • give them the strategies and tools they need to reach their academic goals,
  • teach them how to advocate for themselves,
  • and eventually let them fly.

Gail graduated from George Washington University with a Masters in Special Education, and has spent many years teaching in independent boarding and day schools. She loves to spend time with her husband, John Suitor, Head of Boulder Country Day School, and three girls. In addition, she loves to hike, ski and paddle board.

Ellie@hillsidelearning.org

It was a professional dream-come-true for Ellie when she began teaching at Hillside in 2017. Ellie loves coming to her classroom each morning, where she finds joy, laughter, challenge and genuine engagement as she supports her students on their paths to becoming confident and capable learners.

Before joining the team at Hillside, Ellie was a 5th grade classroom teacher in BVSD. She loved teaching small groups and knew she wanted to become an instructional specialist. Her dad and brother are both dyslexic and her brother attended a school like Hillside as an adolescent, and she had always been interested in working with kids with dyslexia. She took her first Orton-Gillingham training in the summer of 2014 and was completely hooked!

Since then, she has taken additional OG trainings; she also took the Linguistic Remedies training from (and mentored with) Dr. Barbara Wise, a local reading disabilities research psychologist and reading teacher. Ellie had a private tutoring practice in Boulder prior to teaching at Hillside.

Ellie thanks her lucky stars to be doing the work she loves at Hillside – she is inspired by her dedicated and talented colleagues as well as by Hillside’s incredibly supportive families. She loves the opportunities for continual professional development, the small group setting and the strong relationships that develop between teachers and students.

Ellie also thanks her lucky stars to have a cozy bed and a shower, because before moving back to Boulder in 2007, she spent the bulk of her twenties living on sailboats and in tents while working for Outward Bound. She still loves to get into the mountains as much as possible, especially with her family. She also loves swimming laps, reading, and laughing. The following quote by Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn inspires her teaching today:

“There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”

beth.g@hillsidelearning.org

Beth and her husband moved to Boulder from New York City in 2014. Beth is a native Californian and has lived in many places, but she’s happy that Boulder is her permanent home.

Beth has always known she wanted to be a teacher, though very early career goals also included veterinarian, chef, and acrobat. Teaching allows her to share her love of reading and writing with students, and she hopes that her own passion for learning is contagious. Everyone at Hillside knows that Beth has a growing collection of t-shirts with nerdy academic themes, and on more than one occasion she has unknowingly cornered hapless people at parties who ask her to explain dyslexia. Beth is devoted to the Oxford comma and loves nothing more than collaborating with students to invent clever mnemonics. Teaching is indeed the ideal career path for Beth, who doesn’t have the balance or flexibility to be an acrobat anyway.

Beth did her undergraduate work at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN, where she stayed after graduation to teach high school English and learned how to use terms like “y’all” fluently. One of Beth’s best college experiences was living in Berlin and studying German, and, eager to see more of the world, she moved to Tokyo after her first year of teaching to teach English to Japanese adults and travel around Asia. Beth moved back to California to coordinate a reading program at a K-8 school and make plans for her next international stint, eventually re-settling in Tel Aviv, Israel, to do freelance journalism and tutor students ranging from eight to fifty-seven years old. Once she was accepted into a master’s program at Columbia University’s Teachers College, she moved back to the US to teach middle school language arts and social studies until her coursework began. Beth stayed in New York City for four more years, conducting neuropsychological assessments at the Yellin Center before landing, at last, in Boulder.

Life has settled down, but Beth still enjoys keeping busy with running, swimming, skiing, hiking, and camping. Downtime to read is very important to her, and she loves to bake and knit as well. And she still travels as often as possible; recent destinations include India, Spain, Jordan, Italy, and Kenya.

Becky@hillsidelearning.org

The importance of education and the love of learning were ingrained in Becky early in her childhood. Her great-grandmother was an example of a lifelong learner who taught on a Navajo reservation in Arizona while in her sixties. After “retirement”  she enrolled in beauty school and was a cosmetician in her 70’s and 80’s. Becky was the recipient of many kitchen perms. When she began playing school with her friends, and later the kids she babysat for, the future was clear. Working as a summer day camp counselor for the Special School District in St. Louis, MO led her into special education.

Becky attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL where she majored in Learning Disabilities and Social Emotional Learning Specialist. She was a middle school resource room teacher in Illinois and Colorado before kids arrived on the scene. After taking some time off to be home with her three boys, she joined the Hillside team. Becky is a member of the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners as an Associate and is working under Karen Leopold to become a Certified member. This summer she began working towards a long held dream of getting her master degree. She is currently enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado in the Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration program.

A transplant from the MidWest, Becky enjoys the outdoor adventures of Boulder and Colorado. Paddleboarding was a passion this summer. If you can get her off the water, you will find her on the trails with her dogs, Wren and Penny. Becky is also an avid reader and is proud to say she has visited all of the Little House on the Prairie homesites. A St. Louis native, Becky is a die hard Cardinals baseball fan and lover of Gooey Butter Cake.

Gretchen@hillsidelearning.org

Gretchen has always loved languages and has studied Latin, French, Spanish and Russian. This interest developed into a curiosity about language acquisition and language-based learning differences and she was drawn to the field of Special Education. She spent a year working as an assistant in a middle school resource room, experienced the magic of helping students realize their potential, and knew she had found her calling.

Gretchen earned a Master’s in Special Education and spent 16 years working as a special education teacher in Massachusetts and Colorado, with some time off in the middle to stay home with her son. She loves connecting with her students and providing them with the tools and strategies they need to become independent, confident learners.

Outside of the classroom, Gretchen can be found in her garden, on her yoga mat, hiking or skiing with her husband and son, or curled up with a novel.

Julie@hillsidelearning.org

Julie has loved literacy ever since her mom bought her “Little House on the Prairie” when she was in 3rd grade.  Books and reading have shaped her life as a college student when she majored in English, as a mother reading the Harry Potter books aloud to her two children, and as a teacher at Hillside School.

Julie has an MA in Reading from UNC and enjoys working with students at Hillside and passing on her love of language to them. She loves teaching students the sounds and patterns of English and how to apply them to their reading and writing. For her, the biggest joy of teaching is seeing her students get hooked on reading and writing.

In her spare time Julie loves spending time in the mountains skiing or hiking, riding her bike around Boulder, and golfing as much as possible.

Caroline@hillsidelearning.org

Caroline Melby loves teaching because of the special relationships she forms with her students throughout the school year. She views herself as a facilitator who enjoys helping students figure out learning strategies in order to create a personalized toolbox for them to pull from. She said her favorite thing about teaching at Hillside is being part of a group of educators who are always striving to be better at their craft. The supportive and family-like atmosphere amongst the students and teachers is a wonderful perk too.

After completing graduate school at Lesley University in Boston in 2004, she started her career as a Special education teacher at a Middle School. Caroline has since worked with many different grades over the years always returning to her love of small group teaching specifically working with students who have learning difficulties.

This Boston native loves the ocean and salty sea air and travels back to the east coast each summer. She has called Colorado ‘home’ for 7 years and appreciates the beauty of the mountains and the amazing weather. She is a mom to 3 kids who keep her busy with their own activities and laundry. She loves to spend time with her husband on their boat at Lake Carter or the ski slopes in the winter.

Rachel@hillsidelearning.org

A proud Boulder native, Rachel was born at Boulder Community Hospital and attended Columbine Elementary, Centennial Middle School (which was a junior high then!), and both Boulder and Fairview High Schools. Along the way, she had some imaginative, knowledgeable, and just plain fun teachers who inspired her to love learning and to become a teacher herself. Since 1999, she has taught and mentored middle school and high school students from Kansas to Paris, France to New York City to Denver and back to Boulder.

She earned her B.S. at the University of Kansas in elementary/middle school education and special education, and her M.S. in special education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. However, it was at her first teaching job at the Churchill School in New York City when she realized that teaching was really a craft that aligned perfectly with her strengths. Seeing her students flourish in their knowledge of themselves as learners and believe that they could be successful was so life-giving and inspiring that she knew she had found her career.

Teaching at Hillside, with its talented staff and remarkable students and families, has been a highlight in her career thus far. The vibrant Hillside environment inspires her to continue her own education to deepen her understanding of how the brain learns and functions and how to maximize its potential. Since 2017 she has added part-time administrative work at Hillside, focusing on developing a professional development program that shares our expertise in dyslexic learners with teachers in all settings. In her spare time, she enjoys digging in her garden, meeting friends for coffee, enjoying sumptuous meals at the panoply of delicious restaurants in the area, and being a dance mom for her two sweet girls.

Trisha@hillsidelearning.org

When wrapping up senior year in her undergraduate degree, Trisha was approached to become a one-on-one assistant for a preschool aged student with autism. Trisha’s educational path and studies had always been in general education, but this unique experience sparked a love and passion for working with young students with all types of learning differences. She was advised by her mother, who was a reading interventionist for more than 25 years, about the high burnout rate among special education teachers in the public school setting, so Trisha stayed her course in general education. Following graduation, she enjoyed many years as a public elementary classroom teacher with a strong interest and focus in helping students of all abilities.

Trisha has a deep passion for building trusting relationships with her students and their families that reach far beyond her time with them in the classroom. The most enjoyable part of teaching for her is connecting with students on a personal level and getting to know their passions and what inspires them, then connecting these interests to their learning. She feels incredibly fortunate that she has the opportunity to witness transformative change in her students. This is her third year at Hillside and feels it is such a unique and profoundly impactful place. Through the small class size,Hillside allows students to feel safe to be vulnerable, creating a supportive and trusting learning environment.

As an educator, Trisha has had many various roles. She started as a one-on-one teaching assistant for children with autism, then she taught in a general classroom in first, third and fourth grades. She then worked as a private tutor in all academic areas before landing her dream job as a Learning Specialist at Hillside in the fall of 2017. Trisha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Teaching.

Trisha spent most of her childhood years growing up in Bend, Oregon where she developed a love of the outdoors. This brought her out to the beautiful state of Colorado 16 years ago, and she never plans to leave! You will find her enjoying all things outdoors with her crew, including her two daughters, husband, and shaggy dog.