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Faculty & Staff

Hilltop Country Day School is committed to hiring a high quality faculty who is able to bring a rich background in both educational and personal experience. Teachers draw on their experiences as they supplement the curriculum and bring their subject matter to life. The Hilltop Country Day School faculty is our greatest asset. From our new teacher mentoring program to our reliance on the many years of experience among our veteran teachers, Hilltop is proud of this valuable resource.

A Hilltop teacher demonstrates:

  • A strong connection with children
  • Dynamic and current pedagogical strategies
  • Camaraderie with colleagues and a strong voice about curriculum and pedagogy
  • Demonstration of a desire to grow as an educator and as a learner

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Maura Young


Ms. Young earned her Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies with a double major in Psychology from the University of Delaware. Ms. Young had a successful career as a project manager in the Information Technology field at Prudential Insurance Company. She developed and delivered training programs for Prudential’s internal business applications, managed technical training classrooms and staff trainers. As a Relationship Manager in Prudential’s Operation and Systems Group she played an integral part in delivering international technology solutions. Ms. Young joined the faculty of Hilltop Country Day School in November of 2013 as the Technology Integration Specialist.

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Janet Vigeland

Grade 4

Mrs. Vigeland holds bachelors degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology from William Paterson University and has been teaching at Hilltop since 2001. During her tenure at Hilltop, Janet established an environmental literacy curriculum, developed the Outdoor Classroom, and taught environmental science classes to grades K-4. She was instrumental in attaining several butterfly habitat certifications and the New Jersey Wild School site award. As a result of her passion for birds, she attended Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology Summer Retreat for Educators and added Project FeederWatch to the fourth grade curriculum in addition to organizing an early morning bird watching club. Janet won a Project Habitat scholarship from Cornell for developing a bird habitat outside the third grade and assisted colleagues in the develop of bird habitats with their students. As an avid gardener, Janet completed her training as a Master Gardener with Rutger’s Cooperative Extension. She designed the herb and vegetable gardens, supervised the native plantings in the Outdoor Classroom, and established the pollinator gardens around the school campus.

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Michael Umstead

Grades 4-8 Science, Grade 5 Homeroom, and Upper School Student Council Adviser

Mr. Umstead graduated from Rutgers University in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in Geology. In 1998 he joined the faculty at Hilltop where he teaches science to grades four through eight and teaches woodshop as an elective. He has been the Student Council Advisor for 18 years helping the students develop leadership skills and encouraging community service guiding them to achieve the Gold Council of Excellence Award from the National Association of Student Councils every year since 2009. He frequently presents and lectures at the New Jersey Science Teachers Association convention.. He is a member of the New Jersey Science Teachers Association, the National Science Teachers Association, and New Jersey Earth Science Teachers Association.

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Daniel Timmermans

Vocal and Instrumental Music

Mr. Timmermans is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a B.A. in music performance. He also holds a teaching degree from Windsor University, and a Jazz education/performance degree from Humber College of the Applied Arts. Mr. Timmermans has 18 years of teaching experience in vocal and instrumental music, and in addition to teaching, he is a professional trumpeter. Most recently, he was the music instructor at the Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales School in Bennington, Vermont.

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Wendy Sutton

Business Manager

Mrs. Sutton joined Hilltop in 2013 as the business manager. Previously she worked as the business manager for Apples and Books, Bugs and Sticks Daycare for over 10 years and bookkeeper for ARS Solutions and Skoda Construction, respectively. Mrs. Sutton holds a bachelor’s degrees in Accounting from William Paterson University. 

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Paul Solomon

Physical Education

  • B.S., State University of New York at Oneonta

With more than 12 years of experience focusing on kindergarten through eighth grade, Mr. Solomon has worked as a physical education teacher, sports specialist coach, wellness teacher, and summer camp athletic director. He has worked at the Quaker Ridge School, Charles E. Bullock Elementary School, Edward Hart Elementary School, Anna Silver School, and Elmwood Day Camp. Paul received his B.S. from State University of New York at Oneonta.

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Karen Snyder

Grade 1

Karen Snyder joined the Hilltop community in 2005 and has taught both first and third grade. She received her bachelor degrees in elementary education and biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck.

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Lynn Rogers


Mrs. Rogers is a graduate of William Paterson College with a B.S. in nursing. For the past 40 years, she has worked as a medical/hospital nurse, family practice office nurse, insurance field nurse, home health nurse, and most recently as a substitute school nurse for Newton, Andover, and Sparta. Mrs. Rogers is a licensed professional registered nurse for the State of New Jersey and holds a BLS certification for healthcare providers and certifications for CPR and AED.

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Adrienne L. Richardi

Kindergarten/Extended Day Program

Ms. Richardi completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Montclair State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in early and middle childhood education and a master’s of education in special education. She has been teaching at Hilltop for 6 years. She also oversees the Extended Day program and Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead summer camp.

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Sheri Picinic

Prekindergarten Teacher

Sheri Picinic has a bachelor’s degree in Literature with a Concentration in Elementary Education and has 15 years experience working with preschoolers. She has been the Head Teacher in both the Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classes for a total of six years.