ASPIRE Program Celebrates Hill Faculty

The Hill School's Senior Masters

In 2014, a substantial gift to the School from Preston G. Athey ’67, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and his wife, Nancy, enabled the creation of Aspire, a tiered faculty compensation model at The Hill. The Aspire program enables teachers to build their expertise and tenure as they rise through the ranks of Fellow, Instructor, Athey Family Master, and Senior Master. Faculty may apply for promotion to a higher tier. 

Eight talented men and women were promoted through the Aspire program for the 2019 - 20 academic year: Chris DeLucia P'13; Mark Pearson, Ph.D. ’78 P'20;  and Bill Yinger ’95 have been promoted to Senior Masters. Dan McMains ’98, Diane Richards P'21, and Ed Turner now are Athey Family Masters; Will Scully and Laura Wann have been promoted from Fellow to Instructors.

2019-20 Aspire Teachers:

Senior Masters: Chris DeLucia P'13; Elizabeth A Dollhopf P’21; W. Christopher Drowne ’89; Matthew Gettings; Harlow C. “Ned” Ide, III P’09 ’13; Joe Lagor P’09 ’10 ’12 ’21; Kathy Malone, Ph.D.; Margie Neiswender P’22; Ellen Nelson P’10 ’13; Mark Nelson P’10 ’13; Mark Pearson, Ph.D. ’78 P'20; Bill Yinger ’95

Athey Family Master: F. Christopher Chirieleison ’85 P’18 ’19 ’21; Stephen N. Ciraolo; John Giannakis P’20; Katy Hudak P’21; Patrick G. Lake, Ph.D.; Yoon Soo Lim P’17 ’18; Ramonita Marcano-Ogando, Ph.D.; Dan McMains ’98, Erik K. Mortenson; Courtney Neese ’00; Diane Richards P'21; Ed Turner

Fellow: Elena Dauphinais, Sophia Gantenbein, Ernest Higginbotham, Amanda Molitor

Read more about all of our Aspire teachers below:

Senior Masters

Christopher J. DeLucia P’13, who was previously promoted to Athey Family Master in 2016, has been a member of The Hill’s modern languages department since 1999, when he was hired as the School’s first instructor of Chinese. Since that time, he has developed a Chinese program which includes AP-level courses. Under his guidance, Hill’s Chinese program earned the prestigious distinction as a Confucius Classroom. Early in his Hill tenure, Chris’s background in technology allowed him to assist with website maintenance as well as the creation and supervision of Hill’s multimedia language lab. Chris currently serves as a dorm parent in Upper School West.  He has assisted with Hill’s track and field and cross country programs since his arrival and has been head boys’ cross country coach since 2008. (2019-20)

A fourth generation Hill legacy, W. Christopher Drowne ’89 returned to The Hill following his graduation from Bucknell University in 1993.  He became the Carl Knobloch Chair of Economics in 1997, a title he held until 2011.  Chris currently is the McNally Chair of History and either holds, or has held, several responsibilities outside of the classroom throughout his time at Hill.  He was a dormitory head from 1999-2004, and in 2004 he received the Giammattei Prize for Excellence in House and Dormitory Parenting.  He also served two separate stints on Faculty Council. Chris earned his M.A. in Modern European History from Villanova University in 2001.  Chris was assistant varsity soccer coach from 1994 until 2005 and has been head coach since 2006, guiding the program to eight league titles, three independent school state titles, and several national rankings. (2017-18)

Matthew Gettings returned to The Hill in 2011 for his second stint on The Hill’s faculty as an Instructor of Mathematics.  He arrived at The Hill in 1994 as a seasoned boarding school veteran, having done nearly everything one can do at a boarding school during an eight-year tenure at New Hampton School.  From 1994 until 1998, Matt served as an Instructor of Mathematics, a dormitory head, Adviser to the Sixth Form, a member of the Discipline Committee, and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee during deliberations prior to The Hill becoming a coeducational institution.  Matt taught at The Governor’s Academy (formerly Governor Dummer Academy) for 12 years before returning to Hill in 2011.  Since returning, Matt has received both the John H. Woodward Master Teacher Award and the Giamattei Prize for Excellence in House and Dormitory Parenting.  He currently is the faculty adviser to the Honor Council. (2017-18)

Joe Lagor P’09 ’10 ’12 ’21 arrived at The Hill in 1987. Joe has taught several levels of French at The Hill and was Chair of the World Languages Department at Hill for 10 years.  He additionally spent 16 years as a college counselor, including 10 years as the Director of College Advising.  Joe coached at various levels in the boys’ ice hockey program from 1987 until 2014 and he has been the head varsity boys’ golf coach since 2011.  Joe lent his institutional knowledge to the Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee, serving a three-year term. (2015-16)


Kathy Malone, Ph.D., has been at The Hill since 1999 and has been an educator since 1983.  Kathy spent several years as a history teacher before taking over as the Elizabeth B. Blossom Chair of Humanities in 2012 following the retirement of Henry V. Bender, Ph.D.  Kathy also spent eight years as the Director of Studies and has coached field hockey and lacrosse.  She is the 2008 recipient of the Giammattei Award for Excellence in House and Dormitory Parenting and received the Brody Fellowship in 2013. (2015-16)


Elizabeth A Dollhopf P’21 ’23 arrived at The Hill in 1998. The current George D. Senter Chair of Mathematics, Elizabeth has taught courses ranging from Algebra 1 to AP Calculus and supervised the creation of the integrated mathematics curriculum. In addition, she was a head dorm parent in Dell Village, coached JV field hockey and basketball, and was the adviser to Students of Color Association. She has served on a number of School committees as well, including the Faculty Council, Discipline Committee, and Residential Council.  Elizabeth has won each of the three major prizes awarded to Hill faculty: The John H. Woodward Master Teacher Award, the Giammattei Award for Excellence in House and Dormitory Parenting; and the Brody Fellowship. (2016-17)


Harlow C. “Ned” Ide, III P’09 ’13 arrived at The Hill in 1999 with 15 years of public and private school teaching and coaching experience. Chair of the English Department from 2006-2016, Ned has taught all levels of English and helped to design and implement course initiatives such as journalism, American Studies, and assisted in the creation and oversight of the Writing Center. Ned is the director of the Critical Friends Group, an internal Hill faculty development initiative. Ned currently runs the school’s Media Arts program and is the assistant boys’ lacrosse coach.  Ned was a dorm parent in the Foster Dormitory for 12 years and served as the adviser to both the Dial and The Hill News. (2016-17)

Margie (Ritchie) Neiswender P’22 arrived at The Hill in 1986.  As the Director of Instrumental Music, Margie has taught several music classes and directed the School’s instrumental music groups throughout her tenure. Margie was the head coach of the boys’ varsity tennis team for 11 years, distinguishing her as Hill’s first-ever female head coach. She also coached the boys’ JV team and the girls’ varsity and JV teams. Margie additionally served three terms as Art Department chair. (2015-16)


Ellen Nelson P’10 ’13, who grew up on campus, returned home as an art instructor in 1987.  Ellen currently is Director of the Boyer Gallery and spent several years as the chairperson of the Arts Department.  She has taught multiple levels of studio art and art history, throughout her time at Hill as well as the History of Art and Music.  A professional artist, Ellen’s work has been featured in numerous galleries.  She has served on countless committees at Hill and was faculty adviser to the Honor Council.  Ellen received the Brody Fellowship in 2017. (2015-16)


Hill’s most senior faculty member, Mark Nelson P’10 ’13, arrived at The Hill in 1980.  During his time at The Hill, Mark has taught geology, ecology, and he currently teaches biology.  He spent 24 years as head boys’ water polo coach and became head girls’ water polo coach in 2018.  In the years between his stepping down as head boys’ coach and taking over the girls’ program, Mark was an assistant coach with both the varsity girls’ and boys’ water polo teams, and he has been an assistant girls’ ice hockey coach since 2007. (2015-16)


After graduating from The Hill in 1978, Mark Pearson, Ph.D. ’78 P’20 followed the footsteps of his father, Max ’53, to the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the Wolverines’ wrestling team.  He began coaching college wrestling in 1982 at Franklin and Marshall College, during which time he began his professional writing career.  Mark was an Instructor of English and wrestling coach at The Hill from 1995 until 2000, when he left to pursue his M.A. in English and Creative Writing.  He returned to The Hill in 2011 and has been Director of the Humphrey Family Writing Center since 2016.  A published author, Mark has written several short stories throughout his career and he also has been a sportswriter for several newspapers, including the Washington Post.  He currently teaches English and Humanities in addition to running the Writing Center. (2019-20)

A 1995 Hill graduate, William T. Yinger ’95 returned home to his alma mater in 2001 after spending two years at the Trinity Pawling School.  Currently the chair of The Hill’s science department, Bill has taught biology, chemistry, environmental science, and Integrated Science 1.  Outside of the Science Department, Bill has served on numerous committees throughout his time at The Hill.  He is the head boys’ track and field coach during both the indoor and outdoor seasons and spent several years as an assistant football coach.  Bill has resided in the dormitory during his entire Hill tenure and currently resides in Dutch Village’s Sherrerd House with his wife, Virginia, who is The Hill’s Director of Institutional Giving Operations, and their sons, Levi and Henry. (2019-20)

Athey Family Masters

Over the course of his career as an educator, F. Christopher Chirieleison ’85 P’18 ’19 ’21 has served in the roles of teacher, coach, and administrator.  He began his career in education as a history and economics teacher at The Hill from 1991 to 1997. While at Hill, Chris also served as Assistant Director of Admissions and Dean of Students, and coached varsity lacrosse. Chris then joined The Phelps School in Malvern, Pa., where he worked as Director of Admissions prior to becoming Headmaster.  From there, Chris and his family moved to Christ School in Arden, N.C., where he served as Assistant Headmaster to former Hill colleague, Paul Krieger. For the four years prior to his return to The Hill in 2017, Chris was the Principal of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy in State College, Pa.  At Hill, Chris teaches in the history department and is the assistant varsity boys’ lacrosse coach. Chris and his wife, Andrea, a member of Hill’s Office of Strategy Management, have three sons, Rocky ’18, Christian ’19, and Andrew ‘21. (2017-18) 

Stephen N. Ciraolo was a long-term substitute in The Hill Classics department in the spring of 2013 before joining the faculty full-time that fall as an Instructor of Classics.  Steve also assisted with the creation of The Hill’s crew team, which officially launched in the spring of 2015. Prior to his appointment at Hill, Steve served on the faculty of Tabor Academy and the Baldwin School, as well as the director of Philadelphia City Rowing, an afterschool rowing program for underserved youth in the Philadelphia public schools.  In addition to his work in the classroom and with the rowing team, Steve was a co-dean of the Class of 2018. (2016-17)

Prior to his arrival at The Hill in 2018, John Giannakis P’20 had spent the past decade at Wellington College in Crowthorne, England, where he coincidentally was head of a boys’ boarding house named the Hill. John brings several years of experience to The Hill in his role as Director of Residential Life and Athey Family Master of History. He had been the director of boarding at Wellington since 2013, during which time he restructured the school’s residential life program.  John earned both undergraduate and master’s degrees in economics and taught economics at Wellington for seven years. In addition to his residential life role, John teaches Economics at The Hill and coaches JV boys’ soccer. John’s wife, Vanessa, is an instructor of science at Hill. They reside on King Street with their children, Stephen ’20 and Damien. (2018-19)

Katy Hudak P’21 is chair the English Department at The Hill and will be the interim Academic Dean for the 2019-2020 school year after serving as Faculty Delegate for two years.  Prior to coming to Hill in 2016, Katy was English Department Chair at Hilton Head Preparatory School (Hilton Head Island, S.C.), a title she held since 2002. Her acclaimed tenure at the school saw Katy named the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club Teacher of the Year; South Carolina Independent School Association Teacher of the Year; and the South Carolina Independent School Association Master Teacher. (2016-17)


Patrick G. Lake, Ph.D. has been a member of the Classics department at The Hill since 2003. Currently the Chair of the Classics Department and Isaac Thomas Instructor of Classics, Pat teaches Latin and Greek and a number of electives within that discipline including mythology, and Roman and Greek art and archeology. He has led student trips to France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom and founded the School’s Classics Fellows program.  Pat also teaches a section of Humanities.  He is the head girls’ track and field coach during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Pat is the winner of the 2016 John H. Woodward Master Teacher Award and the 2014 Brody Fellowship recipient. (2016-17)


Yoon Soo Lim P’17 ’18 joined The Hill faculty in 2014 as the Oaklawn-Tuttle Director of Vocal Music. Prior to coming to Hill, Yoon had been the music department chair at the Montgomery School since 2004, where she also served as the chair of technology from 2013-14. Yoon leads all the School’s choral groups including the Chorus, Chamber Choir, Hilltones, and Hilltrebles, and she serves as the music director for the winter musicals. She also is the Director of the Afternoon Arts program.  Yoon is the mother of two Hill graduates, Arielle ’17 and Joshua ’18. (2016-17)


Ramonita Marcano-Ogando, Ph.D. came to The Hill in 2018 having taught nearly every level of Spanish in both the high school and university settings in her lengthy teaching career.  Ramonita began her career as an educator while pursuing her M.A. in French from Rutgers University, serving as a teaching assistant.  In the ensuing years, Ramonita taught Spanish and French at Bloomsburg University, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania before returning to Rutgers in 2012.  She transitioned to the high school world in 2014, spending three years at The Ranney School.  Ramonita earned a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and Culture from Rutgers in 2005. (2018-19)


Daniel C. McMains ’98 graduated from The Hill in 1998 and attended the University of Virginia before earning a Master's of Theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. In 2002 he began his teaching career at Episcopal School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spending two years there before returning to Pennsylvania to pursue a Master’s in American History degree from Villanova University.  Dan returned to The Hill in 2005 and has taught Religious Studies and History.  Dan has implemented a new pedagogy designed by the Harvard Business School to teach American History through case studies into his U.S. History Honors courses.  Hill is one of just six schools nationwide offering a fully case-based American History course. Outside of the classroom, Dan is head girls’ cross country coach, assistant outdoor track coach, and he has been a dorm head for 10 years, currently serving as the head of Dutch Village.  He has been on several committees including the Discipline Committee, Residence Council, and Workload Equity Taskforce. (2019-20)

Erik K. Mortenson joined The Hill’s English department as an instructor of poetry and writing in 2011. Prior to Hill, Erik taught at several private schools including King Low Heywood Thomas, Rye Country Day, Portsmouth Abbey, and the Blue Ridge School. His courses at Hill span topics such as genre study, narrative fiction, poetry, and fiction and creative writing. He is an accomplished poet; his work appears in print and online journals and anthologies, and he is the author of several chapbooks.  He has served on the Discipline Committee at The Hill and coaches JV boys’ squash and boys’ lacrosse. (2016-17)


Courtney Neese ’00 became the first alumna to return to The Hill when she was hired as an Instructor of English in 2004. She spent a year as a part-time Instructor of English and a Development Assistant in the Advancement Office before transitioning to the classroom fulltime in 2005.  She has taught several English courses at the standard, honors, and AP levels as well as a variety of elective term courses.  In 2018, Courtney received the John H. Woodward Master Teacher Award. Outside of the classroom, Courtney has served on numerous committees and is an assistant varsity girls’ soccer coach.  She resided in Wendell and Rolfe Dormitories from 2006-2013, and in 2011 she received the Giammattei Award for Excellence in House and Dormitory Parenting.  Courtney’s husband, Geoff ’00, is The Hill’s Director of Capital Giving. (2017-18)

A member of The Hill’s Arts Department since 2011, Diane D. Richards P’21 has taught several visual arts courses and, in 2014, introduced the Design Thinking course, which tasks students with identifying, understanding, and solving real-world problems.  A professional artist, Diane is a graduate of Moore College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Illustration and Art Certification, and she earned her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  She specializes in environmental fiber arts and is an innovator in painting on silk, and has displayed her work in numerous galleries.  Diane is a member of the Horizon Fund committee at Hill and she has been the faculty adviser to The Dial for several years. (2019-20)   

Edward Turner brings several years of Latin and Greek teaching experience to The Hill’s Classics department.  He spent the year prior to his 2016 arrival at The Hill as a Latin teacher at Cristo Rey High School in Philadelphia.  His year at Cristo Rey was preceded by 11 years at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School.  While at St. Joe’s Prep, Ed helped organize and chaperone trips run by The Hill’s Elizabeth B. Blossom Chair of Humanities emeritus, Henry V. Bender, Ph.D. In 2012, Ed earned his M.A. in Classical Studies from Villanova University.  Outside of the classroom, Ed is a Class of 2021 Form Dean and he coaches varsity football and baseball. (2019-20)


Unless noted, all Hill School faculty who have 3+ years of teaching experience are Instructors. Listed below are the faculty members who have been promoted from Fellow to Instructor for the 2019-20 academic year.

D. William Scully, who was hired as a teaching fellow in 2016, teaches in both the mathematics and science departments as a pre-calculus teacher and a physics teacher.  A 2014 Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) graduate, Will earned a B.S. degree in Physics and German.  Will, who is an accomplished rower, is head coach of the boys’ crew team at Hill.  He resides in Wendell Dormitory. 


A graduate of Williams College, Laura Wann was hired as a World Languages Fellow in 2016. She also serves as the head varsity girls’ soccer coach. Prior to her arrival at Hill, she spent two years as an assistant coach at Williams, where she was a part of the college’s NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer national championship squad. Now an Instructor of World Languages, Laura teaches multiple levels of Spanish. 


Elena Dauphinais grew up in the small town of Chester, N.H. She played soccer and studied Spanish, Arabic, and French at St. Lawrence University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Multi-Language as a Presidential Diversity Scholar. After graduating, Elena pursued her interests in foreign language and culture by translating archival Spanish documents as a research and heraldry intern for the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Upon her return to the United States, Elena coached soccer at Utica College for two years while pursuing her M.S. there in childhood education. As a World Languages Fellow, Elena teaches Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 and coaches varsity girls’ soccer and track and field.

Sophia Gantenbein is from Hamden, Conn. and attended Choate Rosemary Hall. Citing her experience at Choate as the most influential of her life, Sophia is excited to back in a boarding school community where she can impact young people’s lives in the same positive way hers was impacted at Choate. After graduating from Choate, Sophia attended Elon University where she studied French. In the fall semester of her senior year, Sophia did a semester abroad at Universite Paul Valery Montpellier. As a World Languages Fellow, Sophia primarily teaches French, but as a heritage Spanish speaker, she also is able to teach Spanish. Sophia was on the varsity crew team at Choate and, as an accomplished dancer, competed on Elon’s Ballroom Dance team. (2018-19)

Ernest Higginbotham grew up in Wilmington, Del., attending Wilmington Friends School from Pre-K through high school. He went on to attend Williams College in Massachusetts where he graduated with a degree in mathematics in 2014. While at Williams, Ernest played football and lacrosse. After college, he joined the coaching staff of the Williams football team, working as a defensive line coach for the Ephs. He later coached middle school and club lacrosse in Delaware. As a Mathematics Fellow , Ernest teaches Integrated Math 22 and Pre-Calculus, and coaches varsity football and J.V. boys’ basketball.


Amanda Molitor grew up in nearby Radnor, Pa. and attended Episcopal Academy. She graduated from Episcopal as an AP Scholar with Distinction and earned the school’s Alumni Prize, which is given to the member of the graduating class with the highest standing in English. She matriculated to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., where she majored in English with a concentration in British Literature. In the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Amanda traveled to London, where she completed coursework in Jane Austen and William Shakespeare at King’s College. Amanda has been a contributing writer to the Wesleyan Argus newspaper throughout her time at the University, and she is a Division III All-American rower on the Wesleyan women’s crew team. At Hill, Amanda is an English Fellow and coaches crew.  (2018-19)




The Hill School's Tiered Faculty System:

20+ Years of Teaching Experience
10+ Years at The Hill
Master's Degree

12+ Years of Teaching Experience
Master's Degree

3+ Years of Teaching Experience

Up to 3 Years of Teaching Experience
Bachelor's Degree