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A team of educators, a supervising teacher and two assistant teachers, teach in each classroom at the preschool and infant/toddler levels. Rotating assistants support each of the levels and student workers supplement the staffing. To the greatest extent possible, children continue with a familiar teacher for their years in each level.

The teachers at Fort Hill are all certified by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care. Many teachers also hold Massachusetts Department of Education Teacher Certificates to teach young children. The diverse backgrounds of the teaching staff contribute to the quality of the program. Teachers have experience and education in many fields, including fine arts, photography, music, English, textiles, studio art, languages, psychology, and education.

The Center for Early Childhood Education is committed to the ongoing professional development of teachers and the program closes monthly for full-day professional activities. On these days teachers:


conduct staff meetings throughout the day and meet as a full staff, with classroom teams and within the level of preschool or infant/toddler to plan curriculum and collaborations, prepare and review documentation and plan for individual and classroom needs.

work together on the classroom environment.

engage in a professional activity. Shared learning is highly effective and supports the development of a learning community within the school. Teams are strengthened and collaborations develop. The professional activity may involve a school-wide initiative, may be facilitated by a staff member, or may involve outside consultation.


2016-2017 Fort Hill staff

Group A: Laurie DeMello, Rebekah Dutkiewicz, Val Driscoll

Group B: Lisa Haarlander, Gaelin Ryan, Adi Panchakshari

Group S: Judy McWilliams, Nora Sweeney, Oshia Perkins

Afternoon Assitant:  Abigail Hoyt von Trapp

Afternoon Supervising Teacher:  Val Driscoll

South Room:  Marisa Rodriguez, Polly Caron, Chris Stetson, Wendy Cluff

East Room: Thea Stark, Mark Smith-Bove, Jill Pollack, Nick Deysher

North Room: Malka Colburn, Martha Mendez, Niamh Sweetnam, Nancy Wagner

Afternoon Supervising Teacher:  Nick Deysher

Visual Arts Studio
Val Driscoll

Music Studio

Nick Deysher

Rotating Teachers
Balbir Singh, Abigail Hoyt von Trapp (mornings)


Director: Martha Christenson Lees

Assistant Director:  Jen Godlesky

Administrative Assistant: Lori McKenna

Academic Liaison
Susan Etheredge, Professor and Chair, Department of Education and Child Study

Lella Gandini, Ed.D., Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach in the United States




Core Values



Preschool Program

Music Program

Visual Arts Program


Summer Program

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