Custom Class: header-search-container

Custom Class: header-utility-container

Custom Class: mobile-menu-toggle

Know Your Pelicans

Meet Zoë Hillman (she/her)

Head of Preschool and Lower School

Know Your Pelicans

Why did you choose to work at Packer?

I was drawn to Packer because of the strong mission and also the opportunity to work with children, families and teachers Preschool through 4th Grade. Prior to Packer, I was the Elementary Division Director at Washington Episcopal School, Bethesda MD for three years.

Tell us about your education.

I completed an undergraduate degree in Zoology at Durham University in the UK followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at Cambridge University. I have an MA (Ed) from Sussex University and a Certificate of Advanced Education Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

What are the strengths of your department?

I am excited about working with faculty who are highly professional and who have a deep commitment to their craft. The Preschool and Lower school teachers are intentionally student-focused and student lead - meaning we meet children where they are and nurture and challenge them to be the very best they can be. Working with the very youngest children in the school means that we have the opportunity to form incredibly strong relationships with both students and their families, and the sense of community and support across the division is tangible.

What are your impressions of Packer? Our students? Your colleagues?

Starting in the summer means a gentler beginning but I have loved the opportunity to connect with other administrators, support staff, and auxiliary personnel. It has been a wonderfully warm welcome with incredible outreach and help, I am so grateful to be part of the Packer community! I love greeting students as they come into school and making small connections with them throughout the school day.

Besides your subject, what's something you hope to teach your students?

There is a saying that teaching a child not to squash a caterpillar is as good for the child as it is for the caterpillar. I am hopeful that I can impart my love and awe of the natural world to our Preschool and Lower School students and help them develop understanding, respect and stewardship of our planet for the future.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I sometimes wish I would have the power to stop time! I have a tendency to want to move quickly and it is important to cherish small moments and take time reflect, look deeply, uncover complexity, and enjoy the here and now. Particularly working with such little children, we are sometimes eager to look ahead and want time to pass to reach the next age and stage, but truly each developmental step has its own joys that should be savoured.

What is something most Packer people wouldn't know about you?

When I lived in the UK I had two allotments (P-Patches) and three bee hives; I swam with sharks in the South China sea as part of a 3 month expedition to Borneo.


Explore More