Steve Hilsabeck, Upper School social studies teacher (and occasional English teacher), will not be returning for the 2017-2018 school year. This is the second retirement for Steve who taught for many years at New Trier High School. During his 12 year tenure at EA, Steve has been an advisor and has sponsored numerous co-curricular activities, including National Honor Society, Mock Trial, Gavel, and Dough Gooders (a baking club linking bake sale profits to charity causes). During our last ISACS accreditation visit in 2010, Steve served as the chair of the steering committee which led the process. His enthusiasm on school service trips and unwavering support of our Hilltoppers at fine arts and sporting events has always meant a great deal to his students, and it is his ability to balance the nurturing aspect of teaching with academic expertise and an emphasis on critical thinking which have characterized Mr. Hilsabeck's classroom over the years. We will miss Steve's presence in Edwards Hall.
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Jill Kowalyszyn, who has been our Middle School Athletic Director and Head Coach of the Varsity Girls Basketball Team for the 2016-2017 school year, will be leaving us at the end of the school year to take over the Varsity Girls Basketball Program at Maine East High School. During her tenure at Elgin Academy, Jill has also been the assistant to the athletic director, the assistant girls' basketball coach, Middle School volleyball coach, and Middle School physical education teacher. Jill took this year's Hilltopper Basketball team to the IHSA Class 1A Regional Championship, making the team the most successful EA girls basketball team since 2010. We thank Coach K. for her four years of service to our school community and will miss her enthusiasm for Elgin Academy sports and keen ability to relate well to her students.
Jarrett Payton, former NFL player with the Tennessee Titans and son of Walter Payton, delivered an entertaining and inspirational message to middle school students in grades 6 through 8. Payton is a former Hilltopper, having attended the Academy from kindergarten through 2nd grade. He was delighted when 8th grader Emma Smiley showed him a photo of himself as a 2nd grader in an old Hilltop yearbook.