Our History

The Heartworks and Renaissance Schools were founded in 1988 by Louise H. Piché and Diane Rooney, and by 2013 had grown to encompass three Heartworks Preschools, in Burlington, Williston and Shelburne, along with the Renaissance Elementary School at Shelburne Farms. In September 2013, Lisa and Paul Zengilowski assumed ownership of the schools. 

Paul and Lisa have a long and rich history with the schools that began when their children, Gregory and Allison, enrolled in Heartworks in 1997 and continued through 6th grade at Renaissance School. 

Impressed with the philosophy and values of these programs, Lisa joined the Heartworks leadership team in 2002 as the first School Director for Heartworks Williston and held that position from 2002-2012; she was instrumental in growing the school from four classes to nine classes including expanding to Kindergarten through Second grade classes during 2003-2007.  In 2011, she assumed operational responsibility for all Heartworks Preschools, a role she held until assuming ownership in September, 2013.

In the fall of 2014, Paul and Lisa expanded the scope of programs to include the children six weeks old through 23 months at the Heartworks Shelburne campus, the Endeavour Middle School, a stand-alone program, grades six through eight at Shelburne Commons, as well as the Heartworks Stowe program.

As the schools continue to grow and thrive, the approach to education and Heartworks values that began with Louise and Diane’s vision, lives on.

Please read on to learn more about how the name of each of our schools reflect the educational approach appropriate to each child’s developmental stage.

The Renaissance Elementary School

An inquiry-based education with a strong focus on developing academic skills and character development through hands-on learning in the heart of Shelburne Farms. Small classes, a curriculum aligned with and surpassing national standards, and teachers who excel at engaging students, all contribute to create a rich learning environment. As students prepare to transition to middle school, special emphasis is placed on acquiring organizational skills and academic independence.

The name of The Renaissance School was chosen to signify the Renaissance era, a period of great enlightenment and discovery marked by a new creative energy in the arts and sciences.  Just as Renaissance era scholars sought to be well-rounded, The Renaissance School student will study the traditional academics such as mathematics, science, social studies, language arts while also experiencing community service, life skills, literature, world language in French and Spanish starting in kindergarten, physical education, art, drama, health, music, and technology as an integral part of the world in which we live.  Students also participate in team building and values-based discussions on topics such as respect, courage, kindness, and more, where they share ideas in an open forum and build conflict resolution skills as an integral part of the program.  At the Renaissance Elementary School, students are well on their way to becoming well-rounded world citizens.