It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the passing of Hill Top Preparatory School founder Elissa L. Fisher Ed.M. (Ped.D.). Dr. Fisher (86) is survived by her two children, Bill (Cindy) and Deborah, and her beloved grandchildren.
Elissa dedicated her 40+ year career advocating for the specialized educational and clinical needs of middle- and high-school-age students with learning and developmental disabilities. Together with her husband, Jim, she founded Hill Top Preparatory School in 1971.
A pioneer in specialized education, Dr. Fisher identified only a small group of private schools designed to comprehensively educate children with learning challenges in the late 1960s. Recognizing that these children had great potential, she was determined to create an environment conducive to success that partnered strong academics with clinical programs that did not stigmatize students. This curriculum allowed teenagers who struggled in traditional schools to achieve the proper credentials to graduate prepared to go on to college.
Since her retirement, the school continues to implement a curriculum very similar to Elissa’s design, in which strong academics are combined with clinical programming and social/emotional learning to ensure students have postsecondary opportunities for success. Dr. Fisher's educational model continues to be life-changing today for students who struggle in traditional schools.
Upon her retirement, Dr. Fisher spent her free time reading, assisting patients with Alzheimer's in an assisted living residence locally, and encouraging their love of music.
We will share Dr. Fisher’s obituary when it is published. Your thoughts and prayers for the Fisher Family are encouraged during this difficult time.