Faculty Spotlight

Amy Maly

Amy Maly – Early Childhood Teacher
Bachelor of Science, Illinois State University
1.5 Years at Elgin Academy

What is your favorite part of an Early Childhood day?

My favorite part of a day is when the children arrive and they are genuinely happy to see me. The smiles are truly heart-warming. I also love when a child who has difficulty separating from Mom or Dad waves goodbye and walks into the room. Both are beautiful and just like everything else, will happen when the time is right!

How does a strong Early Childhood education prepare students for when they are older?

The skills that are being newly introduced to this group of early learners are crucial for life. In my early childhood classroom, an individual will notice a lot of modeling from teachers as to what approaches may have a positive impact on a perceived challenge. One can also see that power struggles happen at this early time in life where many times language development is fairly recent. Through repetition and getting on the level of the children we are able to model empathy, communication of ideas, wants, or needs. We can assist in problem-solving, allowing the child to take the lead if comfortable and coming alongside of those not yet ready to take that step. It is always my top priority to develop self-esteem in all children. I want to equip them with the intrinsic pride in themselves that eventually they can move through life feeling confident. I also want them to know that all people are valued and all people matter. We can use our tools that we used and learned at a young age to celebrate success and work through challenges that come up over the course of a lifetime.

What is the most fulfilling part of teaching?

The most fulfilling thing to me as a teacher, who incidentally has been teaching in Early Childhood for 16 years, is being able to now connect with some of my former students over social media as well as with their parents. I have been told that I am still remembered and that their children, now in college, have fond memories of their first experience in school and have specific memories that they can pinpoint. I am so honored and blessed to have a menagerie in my mind of so many children with so many personalities that have touched me deeply.

Why is it important to create empowered and collaborative learners?

It is important because these two qualities are necessary in all avenues of life. The world is very different now, it is our place as educators to set the stage and allow our students to lead and create opportunities where development in these specific areas can take place and grow.

Craig Pinson

Middle School Athletic Director
LS & MS PE Teacher
Bachelor of Science, Northern Illinois University
Master of Science, Ohio University

I really like teaching activities that students don’t get exposed to a lot.  You can go to any school in America and learn how to dribble a basketball in PE.  It takes a special kind of teacher to trust a kindergarten student with a floor hockey stick…

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Jennifer Brown

Lower School Administrative Assistant
Bachelor of Science, St. Louis University

"I enjoy knowing that I've helped someone, whether it's by completing a task, making sure information gets where it needs to go, or just listening. I get to do all of those every day."

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Julie Janik
Middle School Social Studies, Language Arts, and Theater
Master of Arts, National Louis University 
Master of Arts, Bowling Green State University Master of Music, University of Cincinnati
Bachelor of Music, University of Cincinnati 
"Middle school kids are a joy to teach. Their critical thinking skills and academic independence are just starting to blossom at this age, and they are contemplating topics and issues in new ways and at deeper levels."
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Elizabeth Stemn

Kindergarten Teacher
Bachelor of Arts, Minnesota State University-Moorhead

Kindergarteners find joy in the ordinary. It doesn't take much but a little encouragement and a smile to change a frown upside down or dry a tear.

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Jessica Brown

Middle School English
Bachelor of Arts, State University of New York-Cortland
Master of Science, Nazareth College
Master of Arts, DePaul University

"By teaching and guiding students through basic skills, they are better able to take control of their learning."

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Amy Maly

Early Childhood Teacher
Bachelor of Science, Illinois State University

"We can use our tools that we learned at a young age to celebrate success and work through challenges over the course of a lifetime."

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Doug Sept

Upper School Director & College Counselor
Bachelor of Science, University of Missouri
Master of Science, University of Kentucky

"There is a palpable sense of joy at Elgin Academy."

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Peggy Veltri

Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies
Bachelor of Journalism, University of Missouri
Master of Business Administration, Loyola University
Master of Arts in Teaching, National Louis University

"When we learn about things like the Silk Road in social studies, we don't just read about it, we take interactive journeys along it, trading as we go."

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Rick Williams

Director of Athletics and
Varsity Boys Head Basketball Coach
Bachelor of Arts, Judson University
Master of Science, Capella University

"By playing hard, having fun and getting better we let everyone know what it means to be a Hilltopper!"

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Heather Giebel

PS-8 Grade Music
Master of Music, New England Conservatory
Bachelor of Music, University of Massachusetts

"I wouldn't want any child to miss out on a musical education."

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Jim Kidston

Technology Director, Upper School Computer Science
Bachelor of Arts, University of Michigan
Master of Arts, University of Chicago
Master of Business Administration, University of Chicago

"My goal is to make myself unnecessary."

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Adeline Moon

4th Grade Teacher
Bachelor of Science at University of Illinois

"We have a Twitter page that allows the weekly student "Tweeter" to showcase what is going on in the classroom."

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