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Hill School of Wilmington names Erin Payne as Director of Development


Hill School of Wilmington names Erin Payne as Director of Development during a period of significant growth.


Local fundraising executive, Erin Payne, has been appointed as the Director of Development for The Hill School of Wilmington, a nonprofit school serving students with dyslexia and/or ADHD. Ms. Payne has served the Cape Fear community for over thirty years in nonprofit executive roles in education and literacy, affordable housing, and historic preservation initiatives. She is a board member of the Brooklyn Arts Music Academy, WHQR Community Advisory Board, Randall Library Community Advisory Board, and volunteers with several local nonprofit organizations.

Hill School Director, Susan Harrell, announced Ms. Payne’s appointment to the School’s community recently, saying, “Erin Payne comes to us with a wealth of knowledge as well as strong community relationships. The Hill School is a small school now, but there is tremendous demand in southeastern NC for the exceptional learning environment we provide for students with learning differences. Erin comes to us with a deep understanding of the impact that quality education has on a community as a whole and she will be an important asset to the Hill School as we build capacity and grow to meet the demand for our services.”

At the Hill School, Ms. Payne will focus her fundraising efforts in three key areas –

●  Increasing accessibility to Hill School through growth of their need-based scholarship program. Hill School provides a safe, positive and highly individualized learning environment for children with language-based learning differences and/or attention deficit disorders. The School values an inclusive community and supporting students who need our programming regardless of their families’ financial means. Currently, 35% of the Hill School student population receives need-based financial support.

●  Fostering the growth of The Hill School, in order to serve the growing needs of exceptional children in southeastern NC. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, “60 million people, 1 in 5, including 10 million children, struggle with learning and attention issues.” The Hill School of Wilmington is the only school in southeastern North Carolina specifically designed to address the needs of students with learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders. The Hill School reaches students through three direct programs including a half-day academic program, a summer program, and tutoring. The Hill School also serves parents and educators through on-site and online workshops. Hill School enjoyed unprecedented success for its spring fundraising breakfast and has plans for partnerships with local and state-based foundations in the works.

● Funding an expansion campaign for the Hill School. Currently, the school is at capacity for the 2024-25 school year and currently has a one-year waiting list for admission, but tutoring slots are available for the 2024 Fall Semester.


The Hill School of Wilmington offers a unique academic program for students in grades 1-8, who have learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorders and has done so since it opened its doors in 2010. During the traditional school year, students attend The Hill School for three hours a day and attend their base school for the remainder of the school day. A 4:1 student-teacher ratio allows close student-teacher interaction. Our instructional program uses a research-based, multisensory, structured language approach to focus on reading, written language, and math. This program replicates the proven success over almost 5 decades at The Hill Learning Center in Durham, one of the southeast’s oldest and largest K-12 programs for students with learning differences. In addition to our academic year program, we also offer a five- week summer program to provide students an opportunity to improve their skills, as well as to help prevent the regression that occurs without daily practice. We have also expanded our reach with a robust after-school tutoring program that supports approximately 30 students as well as a satellite site on the south side of Wilmington.

Hill students are dually enrolled in 17 different area schools spanning over multiple school districts.St On average, 23% of our students attend public schools, 40% attend private/charter schools, and 37% attend home school.

The Hill program is research-based with supporting data from almost 50 years. Over 85% of the Hill Wilmington students score at least one-year’s growth annually on a nationally standardized individual.

For more information about the Hill School of Wilmington, click here. For media inquiries or questions about The Hill School of Wilmington, please contact Executive Director, Susan Harrell, or (910) 685- 3734.


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