Bolton Hill Nursery names new director, seeks board members

Christy Barnes-Toprac

Bolton Hill Nursery has appointed a new executive director, Christy Barnes-Toprac, who started her new role in March.

Christy has a long-standing relationship with BHN. She served as a teacher and assistant director from 2009-2017 before moving to Austin to become program coordinator for UTeach Fine Arts at the University of Texas. In this position, she managed the arts certification program for K – 12 teachers.

Christy is a native of the Gettysburg, PA, area and attended Goucher College, where she studied studio art and arts management. At BHN, Christy taught classes at each age level and also managed an after-school science program.

“I am humbled to accept the position as executive director. This school holds a special place in my heart and, as I look back, I credit my time at BHN for igniting my passion for providing and advocating for high-quality education for all children. I have always valued BHN’s approach to early childhood education and its commitment to community engagement and I will continue to honor and build upon that legacy.”

Also joining the BHN community are Christy’s husband, Alex Toprac, and their 14-month-old son, Oscar. An artist at heart, Christy enjoys visual arts but also dabbles in music and has recently taken up the drums as a hobby. She also enjoys exploring the outdoors and is an avid reader.

Founded in 1969, BHN is a play-based nursery school and childcare center serving 2, 3 and 4-year-old children and their families living in Bolton Hill and surrounding neighborhoods. It operates year-round in the historic building at 204 W. Lanvale St. and serves about 70 children. Its mission is to foster through its curriculum a culture that nurtures and empowers empathetic, creative, and inquisitive children. The core values of the school are joy, discovery, empathy and community.

Play-based learning builds on the philosophy that children learn best through play. At BHN, children’s learning is open-ended. Our educators build from each child’s interests and prior knowledge to create an environment that encourages the development of confidence, perseverance, and problem-solving skills. Children at Bolton Hill Nursery gain competencies such as pre-literacy skills, spatial awareness, emotional maturity, and number sense while experiencing the joy of discovery and learning. Through play, children flex their most important skill of all – to be active agents in their own learning.

Bolton Hill Nursery is governed by an all-volunteer board comprising current parents, alumni parents and neighborhood residents. We are currently looking to add several new members. If you are interested in joining our board, please send an email to:

–John Timson is BHN’s board treasurer