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. After graduation, she knew she wanted a job that would serve others and began her career as a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. After many years in a traditional non-profit work, she accepted a position as the Associate Director of Development for Vermont Academy, a New England Boarding 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 by faculty who have the resources to do so. She was inspired by not only the academic growth in these students but also 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. Prior to Hillside, she 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.

Lindsay 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 does to nurture Hillside students to become confident and capable learners. She believes Hillside has the best teachers on the planet, who make life-changing impacts on so many students and their families and is honored to work in a position that helps make it all possible.

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 two sons, Camden(6) and Caleb(3). She also likes to practice what she preaches and donates her money and time to her alma mater and nonprofits she feels passionate about.

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. In the summer of 2021 Becky completed her long-held dream of getting her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Special Education Administration. Becky is a member of the Orton Gillingham Academy working as a fellow in training under Jennings Miller.

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.

clara@hillsidelearning.org

My name is Clara Antoinette Duchi. I have gained experience in talking to, as well as, listening to understand people and their needs. I pride myself on playing that small, but important role within a much bigger picture. I support my local communities, finding joy in helping those in need. My leadership abilities have honed my Coordination and administrative skills, while ultimately allowing me to thrive in team-like environments. Hobbies of mine include snowboarding, Hiking, Paddle Boarding, skateboarding, PC gaming, gardening, playing with my animals (a cat and rabbit named Bagheera and Kingston), and just enjoying my new life here in Colorado alongside my husband. I am very much looking forward to this new and exciting chapter.


FACULTY-

Martha@hillsidelearning.org

I am thrilled to be teaching at Hillside and part of the Hillside community! I had the privilege of being Hillside’s building substitute during the 2020-2021 school year, allowing me to build relationships with Hillside students and experience the varied teaching practices of the incredibly talented Hillside staff. I am passionate about meeting each student where they are at, championing their strengths, and advocating for their academic and social-emotional needs throughout their learning journey.

A native Oregonian, I attended the University of Colorado for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. My husband, Neil, and I have three children and relocated to the Boulder area 4 years ago. That same year, our youngest was diagnosed with dyslexia. While this diagnosis answered our questions regarding her struggles with written language, it opened up an entirely new and overwhelming set of questions about dyslexia and a clear path forward for her and us. I quickly enrolled in two courses with the Oregon Dyslexia Institute, explicitly learning the Orton-Gillingham approach to structured literacy. These courses were a watershed and a catalyst for my passion and action to provide people with dyslexia with the explicit and systematic instruction they need.

After completing my OG training, I am pursuing my Associate practicum with the OGA.  I opened a private tutoring practice and provided math, literacy, and classroom support at a BVSD elementary school. I continuously look for ways to broaden my knowledge base and deepen my practice approach to meet the individual needs of my students, including completing training in Multi-Sensory Math with Marilyn Zecher and in Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) with Dr. Kelli Sundman-Hurley.

Outside of Hillside School, I desperately try to keep up with my children’s activities (and antics!). Our family loves to explore together, both in our own backyard and to new places and experiences. I enjoy cooking and entertaining, losing myself in a book, and taking long walks through tree-lined forests or on the Oregon coast.

Jessie@hillsidelearning.org

Although born in Colorado, Jessie grew-up moving around nationally and internationally. After graduating from the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!) with a BA in Psychology, she tried out a few careers only to discover that what her mother had told her for years was true—she was meant to be a teacher.

She received her MA in Elementary Education and a Reading Endorsement from Northern Arizona University. She was a classroom teacher in Tucson, AZ and Seattle, WA before moving back “home” to beautiful Colorado. While her children were young, she took a break from the classroom and tutored students in math and reading. This is when Jessie fell in love with working with students in a small group setting. She then spent several years as a math interventionist in BVSD. She’s excited to now be at Hillside!

Jessie is passionate about helping her students believe in themselves and realize their potential. Her favorite moments in the classroom are when students overcome challenges. There’s nothing better than the smile on the face of a student who finally understands a difficult concept.

Jessie enjoys spending time with her loving husband, cheering on her two soccer-enthused children, and doting on her ridiculously handsome dog, Raven. She recharges by hanging-out with friends, going for walks, traveling, and laughing.

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.

Christi@hillsidelearning.org

Christi began her career right out of college after receiving her undergraduate degree in child psychology from the University of Oregon. She has had a variety of positions working with severely emotionally challenged children; working in group homes and detention centers; and working with teen parent programs. These experiences led Christi to become a teacher. After receiving her masters degree and teaching certificate from the University of Northern Colorado, she taught as an English teacher at the middle level for over 15 years.

She earned her degree in Special Education from Western Colorado University in order to better meet the needs of her students.  She taught on the Western Slope in Mesa County as a special education teacher for moderate needs students in a middle school where she taught reading and writing intervention for 8 years. Her years as an educator provided her with many valuable teaching skills which she brought with her to Hillside School in 2021.

In her free time, she and her husband spend time rafting, boating, hiking, and playing frisbee with her two dogs. Christi also loves live music, cooking, art, and reading. She enjoys living and teaching in the Boulder area where she can be close to her family.

ellie@hillsidelearning.org

For the past ten years, Ellie has been honing her skills as a reading teacher and continually finds engagement and joy in her work. Beginning with a week-long Orton-Gillingham training in 2014, Ellie was hooked on learning about, and implementing, structured literacy to help all kids become strong readers and writers. She had the opportunity to be mentored by Dr. Barbara Wise for a couple of years and is currently working on her Certified Academic Language Therapist license with Janie Harvey of Denver Dyslexia Partners and her Reading Specialist endorsement through Regis University.

Ellie taught at Hillside from 2017 through 2020 and could not be happier to be back this year with her warm and wonderful colleagues. She loves the small, nurturing environment at Hillside and the opportunity to provide individualized instruction and partner with families to support kids on their paths to becoming increasingly capable and confident. She feels very lucky to spend her work days with her beloved students.

Ellie first came to Boulder (from St. Louis, where she spent many childhood hours perched in trees reading library books) in 1997 for her undergraduate degree. She skipped her graduation ceremony to attend a wilderness medicine course in Pitkin (and good thing — that’s where she met Ben, who ended up being one of her main adventure partners and later, her husband). After about a decade of working for Outward Bound and similar programs, she returned to Boulder to get her elementary teaching certificate. She taught 5th grade in BVSD until her two girls came along (Nina is now 10 and Sylvie is 12). She continues to find much happiness in the outdoors and loves spending time with family and friends in wilderness areas near and far.

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 has spent 18 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 on her yoga mat or spending time outdoors with her husband, son and their chocolate lab. She enjoys running, hiking, and skiing.

 

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.

demetria@hillsidelearning.org

Demetria is a Colorado Native; growing up in the Park Hill area of Denver.  She graduated from Denver East High School and went on to get her Bachelor’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, with a degree in Education.  She has recently completed her Master’s in Education, with a Reading specialty from Regis University.

Demetria comes from a family of educators. She has been teaching for many years; her previous experiences have included 18+ years of teaching in the Denver metro area, in private, charter and public schools. Having discovered a passion for reading early on in life, and after watching loved ones struggle with reading, it became her life’s work to help others find the delight of exploring the world through books. Helping students build curiosity and confidence through humor, music, and hard work are all part of her educational philosophy, and feeds her love of learning and teaching.  Recognizing the importance of reading and the impact it has on a person’s ability to learn and succeed throughout their life, drives Demetria to continue making a difference and striving to grow as an educator.

When Demetria is not at Hillside, she spends her time with her husband Ramón, and their twin German Shepherds, Mocha & Maro. Latte the cat holds down the fort at the family home in Lakewood, as the couple enjoys weekends in the beautiful Colorado mountains; attending summer live music festivals, and hiking as well as winter sports like snowshoeing and skiing. Most adventures are topped off with regular trips to relaxing, warm, soothing, hot springs around the state!

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.

Shannon@hillsidelearning.org

Shannon is thrilled to be teaching at Hillside this year! After frequently substitute teaching at Hillside from 2019-2022, and teaching summer school for the past 2 summers, Shannon can’t wait to get started with her own class. Since she’s spent so much time at Hillside over the past 3 school years, she’s experienced different teaching styles and techniques, and she looks forward to implementing those into her own classroom. Shannon is so grateful to be a part of the Hillside community, where she can tailor her curriculum to the specific needs of the individual students in her classroom!

Teaching students with learning differences is a personal mission for Shannon. All 3 of Shannon’s children have dyslexia. Her twin girls (now 12 years old) were diagnosed with dyslexia in 2nd grade. After this discovery, Shannon decided to devote whatever spare time she could find to learning about dyslexia. She became a Barton Reading and Spelling tutor (with her son, now 9 years old, as her first student) and continues to tutor privately today. Shannon’s core objectives are to create a comfortable and compassionate environment for students to learn, to encourage self advocacy in the classroom, and above all, to build confidence in students’ academic skills, which she believes is an important key to their success.

Shannon is a native of Rochester, NY. She attended SUNY Geneseo where she received her BA in psychology. Shannon moved to Boulder, CO in 2000 and has been living out west ever since (including a 7-year stint in Bozeman, MT). She currently lives in Lafayette, CO with her husband, three children, and their rescue mutt, Raven. Shannon enjoys reading, yoga, hiking, traveling, cooking, gardening and spending time with family and friends.

Katherine@hillsidelearning.org

Katherine is thrilled to be joining the caring, friendly, and talented staff at Hillside! She learned about this special learning environment while working as a tutor with students who need support with reading and writing. She has completed three Orton Gillingham trainings and is working toward certification.

Katherine’s interest in education began after college when she worked as a children’s ski instructor in Telluride, CO. She loved the enjoyment that the children experienced when they felt confident and were willing to try new things, even if it was challenging. She decided to follow her heart and went to CU, Boulder, where she earned her Teacher Certification in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. She has been an elementary classroom teacher in public schools for 25 years. She is excited to bring her experience to her new position at Hillside. Katherine believes that discovering each child’s unique interests, personality, and strengths is an important part of meeting them where they are and guiding them where they need to grow. Equally important is creating an inclusive, positive and encouraging community that allows students to become successful and confident learners.

Katherine is a Colorado native and she still continues to enjoy hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing and gardening. Her yard is an oasis for curling up with a book. She lives in Boulder with her three canine companions.

Lisa@hillsidelearning.org

Lisa Wood 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 over 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 three daughters.