The Hill School of Wilmington began as the vision of a dedicated group of parents and professionals who saw the need for a school which focused on serving students with learning and attention issues.
In June 2008, the group met with interested parents, educators, and professionals to assess interest in having a school like The Hill Center established in Wilmington. After an outpouring of support, the group began fundraising to purchase the affiliation package. In late 2008, the board was formed: Beth Chadwick, Porter Young, Carla Whitwell, Jimmy Sloan, Steve Diab, Lynne Loeser, Karen Kirk, Tom Mates, Denise Hanson, Julie Lancaster, and Amy Brown North as well as Susan Harrell, Facilitator. The board set its sights on opening in fall of 2010.
In 2009, St. James Parish offered Hill School use of its basement classrooms - rent free - an added benefit for a fledgling school with very little funding. This was followed by the hiring of the school’s first director, Dr. Dawn Hodges, in February. The Hill School of Wilmington opened its doors on August 19, 2010, with only six students and two staff members. Dr. Hodges would act as both school director and teacher for the three years the school remained at St. James. But with the addition of the HSW Summer Program and the growth in enrollment from 6-16 students by 2011, finding a new location suitable to serving more students became a necessity.
In early summer 2013, The Hill School moved to Burnt Mill Business Park. The new 1700 square-foot space housed six classrooms and made it possible to increase enrollment for both the academic and summer programs, as well as the addition of after-school tutoring.
As of fall 2017, Hill School enrollment had grown from six students at its inception to 40, and staff from only two to nine. Staff now included a full-time director, Susan Mixon-Harrell, who replaced Dr. Hodges in 2016, six full-time teachers, a full-time administrative assistant, and a part-time public relations/marketing manager.
Enrollment demand continued and the opportunity arose for Hill School to lease a 3800 square-foot custom space on Jaeckle Drive in 2018. This location includes additional classrooms, a multi-purpose room for workshops and events, a staff break room, and additional office spaces. This expansion allowed the school the opportunity to grow to serve 60 students in its academic program, ten times its original enrollment! In addition, the school was also afforded the opportunity to serve more students with the incorporation of both a school-day and after-school tutoring program in the fall of 2019.
The Hill School of Wilmington has grown exponentially since the original vision in 2008, and through its programs has helped many students become confident, independent learners. The hope is one day to accommodate many more students and relocate to a facility owned by the school.