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Student Learning at Gifft Hill School
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Academic Rigor

  • Small classes and low student-teacher ratios

  • Individualized college and career preparation

  • High expectations supported by tailored instruction

  • Focus on critical reasoning and ability to invent and adapt

Compassionate Community

  • Instilling the importance of respect, integrity, and cooperation

  • Valuing all members of our community as crucial to our shared success

  • Giving back and paying forward to our island and global community

  • Expanding our horizons through island and global partnerships


Experiential Learning

  • Using our gardens, national park, and the sea as living laboratories

  • Employing innovative faculty to engage and inspire every child

  • Creating project-based instruction and a variety of extracurricular opportunities

  • Integrating world-class arts and EARTH instruction into GHS curriculum

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Members of the Board of Trustees share a commitment to rigorous, experiential education, and to the school as a community and as part of our broader island community. Dedicated people from a broad array of backgrounds bring their experience and their best thinking to the table to bring school traditions into our future.

Dr. Ruth Doan

Board President

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Leadership Team

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Head of School

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Lower Campus Principal

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Upper Campus Principal

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Business Office Manager

Lower Campus Faculty

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Kindergarten Teacher

Laura Dunlap

Fourth Grade Teacher

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First Grade Teacher


Preschool Teacher

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Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

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Fifth Grade Teacher

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Spanish Teacher

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Physical Education Teacher / Coach


Second Grade Teacher

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Third Grade Teacher

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Toddler Program Teacher

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Learning Strategist

Upper Campus Faculty


Chef / Culinary Teacher

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Science / EARTH Teacher

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Social Studies Teacher /

Athletic Director


Social Studies /

English Teacher

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Spanish Teacher

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Physical Education / Coach


Math Teacher / Learning Strategist

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Upper Campus Humanities Teacher

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Science / Math Teacher

Leadership Support Team

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Maintenance Specialist


Communications /

Yearbook Teacher

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Contract Services

Board of  Trustees

Ruth Doan, President
Rich Emmett, Vice President
Teresa Bertolino, Treasurer
Rob Snyder, Secretary
Nancy Coxe Batten

Jan Courlas
Susan Crane

Crystal George

David McCay
John Reny
Andrew Rutnik
Gershwain Sprauve
Miles Stair
Fred Trayser

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Gifft Hill School's Board of Trustees is comprised of prominent local community leaders, business owners, academics, parents and grandparents. Working closely with the Head of School, their range of responsibilities includes developing, implementing, and sustaining the mission of the school, ensuring the school's fiduciary sustainability, and serving as community ambassadors. The countless hours they volunteer and their personal generosity as donors are testament to their commitment to GHS, to education on St. John, and their passion for this community.

faculty & staff
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1981 School Construction
School History

Coral Bay School founded, serving 13 students in grades 7-9. Over the next four years, the school grew to 85 students in grades 7-12, gained accreditation, and graduated the first senior class in St. John’s history—achieving 100% college acceptance. 

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Four devoted community members founded Pine Peace School in 1978 as a preschool serving a handful of students. The school grew quickly, adding both students and grades. After moving four times in as many years, Pine Peace settled onto donated land on Gifft Hill, where the elementary campus remains today. Through the 1980s and 1990s, the school expanded to 6th grade, gained accreditation, and greatly enlarged its campus facilities.


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Coral Bay School purchased land on Gifft Hill—adjacent to the elementary school. Pine Peace School and Coral Bay School merged to become one, and Gifft Hill School was born. 

GHS broke ground for the Upper Campus building, led by Fred Trayser.


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Dedication of Trayser Field and completion of the playground and green-top renovation at the Lower Campus. GHS initiates a partnership with Iowa State University to form the EARTH program. Accreditation was renewed for K-12th grades, and the Nekwan Sprauve Memorial half-court Basketball Court was created.


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Glen and Jo Ann Hall donate four-acre parcel of land adjoining Lower and Upper Campuses, allowing the school to sit on 14 contiguous acres.


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GHS opened its doors just five days after the second of two category five hurricanes hit St. John. The Board of Trustees waived tuition for the 2017-2018 school year and welcomed all students on St. John to attend.

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GHS awarded the EPA Environmental Champion Award in recognition of its commitment to environmental sustainability and for leading by example in the Virgin Islands. 


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GHS ambitiously enhanced its curriculum with an increased number of STEAM opportunities and the creation of STEAM labs on both campuses. Spanish Immersion through Art was introduced to the Early Learning Center, K, 1st, and 2nd grades.

The entire school transitioned to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Students returned for live, in-class instruction. GHS expanded its programs to include aquaponics, engineering, and seminars. GHS also completed the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) to evaluated strengths and opportunities for improvement with regard to diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

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In December 2020, GHS was recognized as a Bronze level Eco-School by the National Wildlife Federation.

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Board of Trustees adopts a resolution citing, in part, "that a diverse and inclusive learning environment is integral to achieving academic excellence. We recognize and value the experiences that diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, family structure, age, and ability contribute to Gifft Hill School."

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We have extraordinary highly credentialed, experienced, and mission-oriented faculty and staff that are dedicated to the well-being of our student body.  We welcome applications from passionate educators and professionals to join our team. 

Candidates must be citizens of the United States, have valid permanent residency status, or hold current visas and permits allowing them to work in the USA.

Gifft Hill School is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Staff Openings

For questions or to submit a cover letter and resume, please email

  • Applications for substitute teaching positions are accepted year-round, please email your resume to with the subject line: Substitute Teaching.

News & Events
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Live-streamed Events

October 2021 Reading Awards and 5th Grade Academic Showcase

September 2021 Reading Awards

2nd Grade Hermit Crab Showcase 2021

December 2021 Kudos for 'Cudas Assembly

November 2021 Kudos for 'Cudas

5th grade Aquaponics Showcase 2021

December 2021 Reading Awards

Live-streamed events
Barracuda Bulletin
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