A Hillbrook Education

Upper School: Opening Fall 2023



We believe our graduates deserve to have an extraordinary educational experience in high school that builds upon the exceptional foundation we provide for our JK-8 students. Actually, we believe all students deserve this extraordinary educational experience.

With our focus on student-led learning and academic excellence, and our strong commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Action, no school compares to Hillbrook. An urban high school campus with ready access to public transportation will enable us to attract a student body that fully reflects the extraordinary diversity of the Bay Area.



For years, members of our community have wondered, “What would it take to create a Hillbrook upper school?” After the extraordinary success of Vision 2020, our program has strengthened and evolved; we have successfully met the unprecedented challenges of the past two years. The time is right to bring our extraordinary approach to education to the Upper School level.

At Hillbrook, we recognize that children need to be equipped with skills in communications, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity to adapt to any challenges that they face. While there are a variety of high school options in our market, there are no models that look like the school we envision. Hillbrook Upper School will provide an experience that creates a pathway for students to excel both in school and life.

Hillbrook’s mission, vision, and core values will serve as the foundation of our high school program. While we will be on two campuses, we will remain one community and one school. From JK through 12th grade, all students will be reminded of our core values - be kind, be curious, take risks, be your best, as we strive to help each student reach their highest potential in school and in life.

Hillbrook Upper School will feature a rich, engaging curriculum driven by students’ passions and talents - an incubator for the potential of natural curiosity that encourages each student to design a path for themselves. Our program would move beyond the limitations of Advanced Placement, featuring challenging courses and advanced studies comparable to college-level work. The education we envision blends academic study and the excitement of learning in a diverse campus community. 

Building on our existing Reach Beyond Block and Reach Beyond Week programs, Reach Beyond programming at the upper school level would have near-unlimited potential. Through our partnership with The Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship, we are planning real-world, hands-on, and intensive learning opportunities that extend far beyond the confines of a classroom and into social impact and service learning opportunities. No matter where a Reach Beyond journey leads, it always takes our students somewhere unforgettable.

Like its JK-8th namesake, The Upper School Hub will be a place where students come together to design, create, imagine, and explore. From graphic design to filmmaking to furniture design to 3D printing, students will have access to the tools and experts they need to create any thing, solve any problem, and imagine any future. The Hub will be the place where engineering and the arts come together, providing a real-world learning opportunity unlike any other school in San Jose.

We envision a hybrid learning model and flexible schedule for our oldest students - a proto-college experience that emphasizes increased responsibility and greater independence. In this hybrid model, classes have both in-person instruction coupled with work outside the classroom—students might spend time doing lab research, having a Zoom call with an outside mentor, spending time in an internship, or putting the finishing touches on their engineering or art project.

Downtown San Jose represents a strategic decision for what we believe a high school experience – from the program to the people – can and should be. From the beginning, we were drawn to the idea of an urban environment for our Upper School, serving as a perfect complement to our JK-8 campus. In the same way that our Los Gatos campus is the perfect place for children to run, play, learn and grow, a downtown setting for our Upper School is the ideal location for our oldest students to stretch their wings, gain independence, and thrive.

San Jose is a city poised for rapid growth, and the city will serve as an extension of the classroom - providing proximity to public transportation, local companies, nonprofits, governmental agencies, art institutes, and universities. It is an ideal location to extend our Reach Beyond programming with the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Downtown San Jose will be a destination for a broad range of families in the next 15 to 20 years, and building our Upper School campus there will enable us to attract a student body that fully reflects the extraordinary diversity of the Bay Area.

Located next to a VTA light rail line, the historic Moir Building - also known as the St. James Hotel - dates back to 1894, and is filled with classic and modern touches, with natural light from a large central skylight. When searching for a home for Hillbrook School, we all wanted a building with a presence and character; additionally, the adaptive reuse of a Nationally Historic building aligns with our school's values, especially around sustainability. The Moir will be our main classroom building after our first year. Learn more about the Moir Building


The San Jose Armory was constructed in 1934 to house the California National Guard, and is a Spanish Revival-style building half a block away from St. James Park. The Armory will serve as classroom space for our first year, as well as the school’s gymnasium and community gathering space. The Armory’s large central floor will become the future home of Hillbrook’s athletic program, and possibly a theater space. The upper floors will be used as art labs and classrooms. Learn more about the Armory


We have a well-earned reputation as a destination workplace for educators, with a collaborative and collegial culture that supports ongoing professional development and growth. Our founding faculty will be leading-edge high school teachers, with a deep understanding of adolescent development and pedagogy and a commitment to creating challenging, interdisciplinary learning experiences that foster student engagement and growth.

Our JK - 8 Hillbrook faculty and staff are a vibrant community of highly trained educators who come to Hillbrook from around the world, bringing a rich mix of backgrounds and experiences. As our Upper School team grows, cross-functional staff will act as "culture carriers" to help us embed the school’s longstanding values, including a commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Action (DEIJA) and social impact education.

List of 1 items.

  • Mark Silver, Hillbrook Head of School

    Mark Silver is the Head of School at Hillbrook School, a JK-8 independent school located in Silicon Valley. Since his arrival at Hillbrook in 2009, Mark has deepened the school’s connections to its historical roots as a leader in innovation and best practices in elementary education. As part of the school’s ambitious strategic plans, Visions 2015 and 2020, Hillbrook has launched the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship, established itself as a leader in the use of technology, earning designation since 2012-13 as an Apple Distinguished School, and placed itself at the forefront of conversations about the Maker’s movement, social entrepreneurship, learning spaces, and co-teaching.

    Prior to his arrival at Hillbrook, Mark spent a number of years as an administrator, teacher, and coach in independent schools, including Holland Hall School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, California, and Francis Parker School in San Diego, California. Mark graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Amherst College with a degree in American Studies, and later earned an M.A. in American History at Stanford University and a Ph.D in Leadership Studies at the University of San Diego. Mark was a fellow at the Heads of School program at the Klingenstein Center at Teacher’s College Columbia University in 2014. He currently serves as a Board member for the California Association of Independent Schools, the Elementary School Heads Association and Los Gatos Safe Routes to School, and is also a member of the CalWest Advisory Board.

    Mark has three children and his wife, Carla, is the Executive Director of Leadership & Design, a non-profit organization that “designs experiences for the people who design the future of education.” They live in Los Gatos, and can be seen running on the trails or sitting on the sidelines of various Los Gatos youth activities including soccer, basketball, swimming, and rowing.
Listen to "The Education All Students Deserve," Mark's weekly podcast on Jam.ai! 
>> Tune in

List of 1 items.

  • Mike Peller, Head of Upper School

    Mike is currently Assistant Head of School for Teaching & Learning at White Mountain School, a boarding school in New Hampshire. During his time at White Mountain, he has helped the school’s transition to a competency based educational model in partnership with the Mastery Transcript Consortium, helped with the building of an Innovation Lab and a suite of engineering and design courses, led a schedule redesign, and supported development and enrollment with travel to China. Earlier in his career, Mike also worked at Holderness School, a boarding school in New Hampshire, where he taught upper level math courses and chaired the Mathematics Department. He started his career in Sonoma Academy, a 9-12 day school, where he taught interdisciplinary math and science courses, coached boys soccer, and served as the inaugural ninth grade dean in 2008-2009. Mike graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Environmental Engineering and later earned an MA in Educational Leadership from Columbia University. Learn more about Mike

List of 1 items.

  • Charlotte (Charley) Burkly

    Charlotte (Charley) Burkly is our founding Director of College Counseling. Before joining Hillbrook Upper School, Charley spent six years at University School in Ohio as Associate Director of College Counseling. Prior to her work in college counseling, Charley served as Assistant Director for MBA Admissions at Columbia Business School and as Assistant Dean of Admission at Princeton University. Her work on both sides of the college counseling process ensures she understands how best to support students navigate the competitive world of college admissions, and at Hillbrook Upper School she will be instrumental in laying the foundation for an exceptional educational experience - one that prepares students not only for school, but for life. 

    In addition to her main work in college counseling, Charley has led a range of student initiatives, including overseeing advising, participating in the Student Life Committee, and also coaching Track and Field and Cross-Country. She has also been a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion, participating in and co-leading SEED seminars for faculty and serving as a Freshman Seminar and Conscious Community Conversations facilitator. She started her career teaching 7th and 8th grade science as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University with a BA in Chinese, and later earned an MS in Science Education from CUNY-City College and an MA in Higher and Post-Secondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
    Charley joins the Hillbrook community along with her husband, Woli Urbe, and her two children
Hillbrook's Upper School will open its doors in Fall of 2023 - there's a lot to get done and a lot yet to come, and we can't wait to welcome our Founding Families! See below for how to get involved - subscribe to our mailing list for updates, submit your resume, or reach out to find out how you can be an integral part of Hillbrook history.

Click here to read our FAQ

Subscribe For Updates About Hillbrook Upper School

* indicates required
I'm interested in (check all that apply):

Read news stories and other press coverage of Hillbrook's new high school here.

The Mercury News

by Sal Pizarro, San Jose Mercury News
May 15, 2022
by Len Ramirez, KPIX-5
May 16, 2022

>>Watch the story
San Jose News, Politics & Business at San José Spotlight
by Lorraine Gabbert, San Jose Spotlight
June 16, 2022

>>Read the article
>>Download the PDF
For press and media inquiries, please reach out to:
Micaela Youmans
Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Hillbrook School
(408) 356-6116 ext. 576    |    myoumans@hillbrook.org

An independent Junior Kindergarten -8th grade school in Los Gatos since 1935

300 Marchmont Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 356-6116 | info@hillbrook.org