Meet the Staff



Gail Lager

Director / Lead Teacher: Wraparound
Gail is a lifetime resident of the Kalamazoo/Portage area. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University with emphasis in creative arts, math and science. She has worked with children for the past 15 years in many different capacities: preschool director/teacher, reading paraprofessional for elementary children, before- and after-school program supervisor, teaching English as a Second Language in Japan, as well as a summer camp director/counselor.

April Alexopoulos

Administrative Assistant
April is a native of Michigan with a varied background of work experience which brings a unique perspective to the preschool. While residing in California she worked with victims of domestic violence and the homeless to secure housing. There she received her Associate of Arts degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco while working for a children’s clothing designer. She spent eight years in Athens, Greece teaching English as a Second Language. After settling in Kalamazoo, she served as a board member for three years as a parent of Hilltop students and has taught Sunday school to preschoolers.

Courtney Markham

Lead Teacher: 3s and 4s
Courtney was born and raised in Shelby Township, Michigan. She attended Western Michigan University where she earned her Bachelor in Creative Arts and Science. While attending university she fell in love with Kalamazoo and now calls it home. Courtney joined began her teaching career at Hilltop shortly after her graduation.

Stephanie Cullimore

Lead Teacher: 3s and 4s
Stephanie was born and raised Lansing, Michigan. She came to Kalamazoo to attend Western Michigan University in the fall of 2004. There, she received her Bachelor Degree and Early Childhood Endorsement. During her time at Western she has had the opportunity to work not only in preschool setting, but also at the Kindergarten and Second grade levels.

Melissa VanderMeeden

Lead Teacher: 4s and Young 5s
Melissa is a lifetime resident of the Portage area. She has a bachelor of arts in English/Elementary Education from Western Michigan University. Melissa has continued her education with post graduate work at Spring Arbor (Kalamazoo campus) and Central Michigan University. She has worked with children in several educational capacities: as a first grade classroom teacher, a young fives teacher and as a literacy paraprofessional in several grades, with an emphasis in BK and Kindergarten classrooms.

Liz Zimmermann

Lead Teacher: Wraparound
Liz is a native of Midland, Michigan where she graduated high school. She moved to Kalamazoo in 2008 to attend Western Michigan University where she recently graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology with minors in Social Psychology, Social Work, and Holistic Health Care. In addition to being a Student Ambassador and Special Tours Coordinator at WMU, Liz spent time in Ireland as a nanny and home-school preschool teacher. After an internship at a local adult foster care home, she accepted a position as a Direct Care worker for six months. Liz has also volunteered her time as a Girl Scout Leader for the past two years at Arcadia Elementary School.

Robin Olson

Assistant Teacher
Robin grew up in the Kalamazoo area. She is a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School and attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She directed her church nursery program for two years and has taught Sunday school for three and four year olds. She gained extensive experience in Early Childhood Development while working as a paraprofessional for five years in the Grand Ledge Public Schools and has training working with children with various types and degrees of disabilities.

Angela Bowers

Assistant Teacher
Angela grew up in Michigan. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. After graduation she taught for three years at a local preschool and was employed at WMU for several years. She has served as a board member and volunteer parent at Hilltop.
Hilltop Preschool does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.