March 4, 2020

Dear Aloha Friends,

It is my distinct honor and privilege today to announce some wonderful news: Ellie Thompson Pennell has accepted our offer to become the next Director of Aloha Hive!

Ellie Thompson Pennell

Ellie first came to the Alohas as a Hive counselor in 1998. Back then, pine trees surrounded the Comb and the Hive office received its first computer. In the two decades since, Ellie has remained connected to the Aloha community—as a Hive staff member for seven years and also as a Lanakila, Horizons, and Hive parent. Last summer, Ellie served as an integral member of Hive’s leadership team as assistant director, working side-by-side with Kathy Plunkett and key staff on programming, staff training, camper support, parent communications, operations, and everything in between.

Outside of camp, Ellie has dedicated her career to supporting children and families. An experienced educator, she has spent the last 10 years at the Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro, Vermont, most recently as the Founding Director of the Toddler and Children’s House Programs. In addition to her responsibilities as the primary classroom teacher, she trained and led a team of staff, presented educational sessions to parents and community members, conducted home visits, partnered with local agencies to support children with learning differences and behavioral needs, and authored new assessment tools and educational articles.

In her application letter, Ellie wrote: “I came to become a self-assured, positive, playful, and empathetic leader because of some very important lessons first learned at camp that were honed in the world outside camp—like how to embrace choice; view leadership as an opportunity to coach and guide, rather than dictate; be genuinely vulnerable as a means of creating connection and encouraging depth in relationships; and continuously re-adjust and re-align in accordance with our values and a changing world.”

Ellie has a BA in Psychology from Miami University in Ohio and a Master’s in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She and her husband, Andrew, live in Rockingham, Vermont with their three children: Susannah (15), Henry (14), and Luke (12).

Ellie will work closely with Kathy Plunkett this spring to prepare for Hive’s 106th season and a fabulous 2020 summer. And please allow me to invite you for the perfect opportunity to meet Ellie, celebrate Kathy, and experience the joy of camp and community!

Join us at the Hive and Aloha combined reunion, taking place on both campuses, August 14-16. The schedule is posted and online registration will open soon:

Our search committee consisted of current and former staff, board members and parents and the input of alumnae, parents and kids. I want to share my heartfelt thanks to them for engaging in this process courageously, as our applicant pool was exemplary, and our decisions were difficult.

Please join me in congratulating Ellie and extending a rousing Aloha welcome! Her email address is

Warm regards,







Christopher Overtree, Ph.D.
Executive Director