Faculty and Staff
Hilltop School at West Church is blessed to have faculty and staff who are truly dedicated to Christ and teaching children. Following are brief bio's of our faculty and staff.
Alicia is the Director of Hilltop School. She has a passion for early education and care, especially with a Christian foundation. Alicia has been in this field of work for over a decade, working as a teacher aid, teacher, and director. She received her Associate's Degree in Early Education from Northern Essex Community College and her Bachelor's Degree in Child, Family, and Community Studies from Merrimack College, and is currently in pursuit of her Masters of Early Education at Salem State University. She has served with other ministries as well from church youth groups to day camps to international nonprofit organizations in Haiti. Alicia is happily married to her wonderful husband Dan, and together they love to visit Maine, play different board games, and spend time with family.
Kerri has been teaching at Hilltop School since 2010 in many different classrooms, from toddlers up through Pre K. She is currently one of our Preschool teachers! Miss Kerri has a passion for teaching young children, and has been in this field for many years. Prior to Hilltop, she taught in New Hampshire, and received degrees from Northern Essex Community College and Southern New Hampshire University. Kerri has a green thumb, and loves her family very much!
Pre K Teacher
Jan, known as Mrs. Natalino to the children of Hilltop, has been working in education for over four decades. She has been a member of the Hilltop staff since 2004, and is currently one of our Pre K teachers. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and a Master's in Reading/Learning Disabilities. Her past experiences include teaching in Haverhill Public Schools and Northern Essex Community College, Administrator of The Village School in West Boxford, and teaching at Calvary Christian School in Derry, New Hampshire. Jan is a strong advocate for Christian education. She has four children and ten grandchildren.
Miss Karen has worked at Hilltop School for over 20 years, and is currently one of our beloved Infant/Toddler teachers. She has teacher qualifications through the Department of Early Education and Care. She is married and has two daughters and one son. All three of her children attended Hilltop School. She also has six precious grandchildren! Karen considers it truly a real blessing to be a part of the lives of the children and families of Hilltop School.
Jennifer, or Miss Jen, has been at Hilltop School since the beginning of the summer of 2019. She is currently one of our Infant/Toddler teachers! She has about 24 years of teaching experience. She worked at Noah's Ark for 20 years, after which she worked at Marigold Montessori before coming to Hilltop. Miss Jen received her Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Essex Community College in 2017.
Other than working with children, Miss Jen loves to take walks and look at God's beautiful creation. She loves to teach children that God loves them no matter what, and that God has a plan for each of their lives. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
Pre K Teacher
Priscilla Smith is one of our long time staff members! She has been working at Hilltop since 2003, and is currently one of our Pre K teachers. Miss Priscilla has loved being able to teach chapel to all the classes, and organize the Christmas and Easter programs as well. Priscilla graduated from Merrimack College with a Bachelor's Degree in Child, Family, and Community Studies. She lives in Haverhill with her dog, S'More, and enjoys being an Aunt to her niece and nephews.
Sheri is a wife and mother of three. She has three grandchildren. She is an active member of The Rock church serving in Youth ministry, singing in the choir, and working on the Tech team.
Sheri graduated from NECC with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education in 1985 and has been teaching ever since. She has been teaching at Hilltop School since 1999 and has enjoyed teaching at all levels, but she is currently our main Kindergarten teacher
Olivia, also known as Liv or "Miss Livi," is one of our Infant/Toddler teachers, and loves working with the little ones! Olivia is a part of the West Church community; she has been the Middle School Girl's Youth Leader with West Youth for the past three years, and she also occasionally plays piano and violin for the West worship services. Among other musical talents, she is self taught in ukulele and guitar!
Emily is known as “Miss Emily,” and is one of the newest additions to our staff! She is a teacher’s aide in the afternoons. Miss Emily is just beginning her teaching career, and is currently in her second year of college at Northern Essex Community College working toward her early education teaching degree. She plans to further her education at a 4-year university to receive her master’s in early education. She has a deep passion for working with young children and she is honored to be given the privilege to watch children learn and grow. Everyday that she is able to work at Hilltop School is a blessing!
Kate has worked at Hilltop since 2015. All 3 of her children attend Hilltop and she fell in love with the philosophy and community. Kate has worked in the field for many years before joining the Hilltop family. She has been the lead teacher in the toddler and preschool classrooms at Hilltop. She is currently teaching in the preschool classroom.
Miss Alivia is a teacher aid here at Hilltop School. She has been with us since 2019, and even though she's in college, she spends her breaks with the Hilltop family. Her love for children is contagious; seeing students grow into such amazing children is an honor for her.
Lisa has been working at Hilltop School in the preschool classroom as a long-term substitute teacher. She has been working with children since she was sixteen years old. She has been an assistant teacher and lead teacher over the past thirty-six years. She also received her Associates Degree in Early Education and Care in 2015. Lisa has been married for twenty-nine years with one daughter. Lisa and her husband Scott have a cat and a dog!
Kiarixa is new on staff, and is working in our preschool classroom! She is currently at Northern Essex majoring in Liberal Arts. She attends The Great Rock church in Danvers and is also a part of the Christ Forgiveness Ministry, which is a ministry that focuses on sharing the gospel to those who need Christ through evangelizing. Right now, her main focus is to work with children because she sees the importance of children having Christ-like role models!
Danaysi is one of our new staff members, who is also currently a student at Haverhill High School. She has previously worked in child care at the YWCA here in town. She aspires to study medicine in the near future! Danaysi loves to travel whenever she has the time.
Molly started at Hilltop in October 2022, and has been working as an assistant to our teachers in the Preschool and Kindergarten classes. Molly has been working in the Early Childhood field for 2 years! Her favorite part about working in Early Childhood Education is being able to help and watch young children grow in every way, into their best selves! Molly loves listening to Taylor Swift and collecting vinyl records in her free time.
Sky is one of our newer staff members at Hilltop School. She is currently a student at Haverhill High School, and has previously worked at the YWCA of Haverhill with all age groups. She has always been intrigued with childhood growth and wants to continue being in the "childhood field" when she graduates high school. She aspires to be an Ultrasound Tech in the future! She loves traveling with her family and trying new foods.
Mrs. Finn is one of our regular substitute teachers! She is a Licensed Preschool Teacher by the Department of Early Education and Care, and has 18 years of experience as a Kindergarten Teacher's Assistant. Laurie spent some time in the Family Child Care system as well as a former Licensed Home Daycare Provider. She received her degree in Early Childhood Education from Hesser College.
SUMMER STAFF, TEACHER
Miss Olivia is one of our substitutes and summer staff. She and her husband are part of the West Church community, involved in Youth Group and the Young Adults group. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's online program for elementary education with a middle school science cognate due to her deep passion for working with kids of all ages.
SUMMER STAFF, TEACHER'S AID
Natasha Gallagher is a college student, and this is her first summer working as a teachers aid here at Hilltop. She is studying animal science at the University of Vermont, but loves working with kids and always has. Her past experience includes West Newbury Congregational Church’s summer camp program and volunteer work with multiple daycares in the area.
Jean has been working in the Hilltop Office as a support and consultant to the Hilltop Director. Semi-retired, her 20 year experience in Christian Education began at Nashua Christian Academy as a Music Teacher (K-8) and Junior High Bible teacher. She transitioned to Administrator of Junior High School and finished her tenure as Elementary Administrator. Jean’s current pursuits include helping develop a unique nonprofit mentoring program for youth and keeping connections with former students. She also facilitates Women’s Bible Studies at her church and loves supporting and spending time with her adult children. Her three young grandchildren keep her heart full of light and joy.
Elizabeth R. Steele
Health Care Consultant
Elizabeth Steele RN, usually known as Beth, has been the Hilltop School Health Care Consultant for a number of years. She is the mother of 3 grown children who all attended Hilltop when they were young. Beth is currently retired after many years of teaching and supporting staff to assist people of all ages who have intellectual, behavioral and physical disabilities. She attends West Congregational Church and has been part of the Senior Leadership Team as well as leading workshops and classes in learning about spiritual practices that bring us closer to God.