Chamber Insider Blog

Member Celebration: The Hill School’s Innovation in the Education Space

Post written by Loudoun Chamber Intern, Emma Royce.

Students from The Hill School planting potatoes.

On a sunny Friday afternoon in May, I had the chance to visit The Hill School in Middleburg. Hill School is an independent, co-educational day school founded in 1926. They teach grades Junior Kindergarten through 8th and have a beautiful, rolling campus situated in what feels like a spot of Heaven on earth.

The comfy wooden cubbies at Hill School.

I met with Will Nisbet, Director of Institutional Development, and he graciously gave me a tour of the campus during the afternoon. When asked what he enjoys most about Hill School, Will instantaneously responds with, “Knowing the children and their families well.  They are what Hill School is all about.”

This is the response that every single one of the staff members I interacted with said about their jobs. Something which I found unique to Hill School’s faculty is that some are alumni of the school and that each student (all 220 of them) is known to each faculty member.

The Hill School itself is absolutely beautiful, with its welcoming campus situated on 140 acres of grassy fields, woods, gardens, and a Smithsonian-recognized arboretum. It wasn’t always this way, however. In 1926, the first Hill School class of five students met on the top floor of what then was The Middleburg Bank at 1 East Washington Street. For those of you who, like me, might not picture where this is in their heads, 1 East Washington Street is the current location of King Street Oyster Bar.

In 1928, Hill School moved to their current location which was only a half-acre lot back then. The School continued to grow throughout the years into a 5-acre campus with 5 buildings, a playing field, and also a faculty house. In the early 90s, Hill School was granted an incredibly generous donation of the land surrounding the school by Mr. Stephen C. Clark Jr. and his daughter, Hill alumna Jane Forbes Clark. This would be a gigantic step for the future of Hill School, and Head of School Treavor Lord says that gift would set the tone for the bright future of Hill School’s development.

The Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center

As Will and I walked around Hill School, I was struck by the ease with which the School operates. The students are not allowed to use cell phones at the school, and each faculty member takes part in the friendly reminders of the children saying “excuse me”, “good morning”, and holding doors for one another.

An aspect which I found unique to Hill School is their commitment to Total Education. Instead of calling subjects like sports and music “extra-curriculars”, the faculty at Hill School refers to them as “co-curriculars.”

A partial shot of the brand new solar field at the Hill School. The new field provides one-third of the School’s energy requirements.

Some of the co-curricular subjects included at Hill School are learning a string instrument, participating in theatre, choir, and studio art, and practicing sports like soccer and lacrosse. It was amazing getting to walk through the Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center as someone who has participated in and loves theatre, knowing that appreciation and respect for the theatre is being carried on through both Hill School students and alumni.

A glimpse into the Art Room and the African drums in the Music Room.

I left The Hill School feeling very inspired. Their dedication to excellence, integrity, and commitment to Total Education was truly refreshing. When asked about the wonderful Hill School campus, Head of School Treavor Lord replied that it is the physical manifestation of the educational philosophy and program of the school.  Both he and Will Nisbet mentioned time and again that the focus of school should be about the development of the children.

Thank you so much for having me out, Faculty of The Hill School! It was wonderful to see how you are investing in the next generations and raising them up in such standards of excellence as they mature and grow.

Visit The Hill School’s Website Here!  Thank you to The Hill School team for showing us around!

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