Faculty Spotlight

Doug Sept

Upper School Director & College Counselor, Upper School Math
Bachelor of Science, University of Missouri
Master of Science, University of Kentucky
5 Years at EA

How would you summarize your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy remains the same as it was when I joined the EA community - a necessary key to successful teaching and learning is cultivating relationships. Students learn best when they feel accepted in the classroom, and this happens when they know they have an ally in the teachers who know them not only as students in their subject areas but holistically as young adults.

How does an Elgin Academy education prepare students for college?

In addition to being prepared with a solid academic foundation, EA students gain life and student skills that allow them to thrive in college environments. Perhaps the most important traits that students master are the ability to self-assess honestly and the confidence to advocate for themselves when learning with professors and peers.

What makes an Elgin Academy education so special?

As our tagline states, we truly do take learning personally. I love that our Promise Statement was not formed from a desire of who we wish we were. Instead, it is an accurate reflection of who we are and will continue to be, and it is the best summation of what makes an EA education so special. I enjoy seeing proof of that on a daily basis not only during the school day but also in my own home as the father of two EA Middle School students.

What do enjoy most about teaching at Elgin Academy?

There is a palpable sense of joy at Elgin Academy. I relish being in an environment where there is an easy, respectful give-and-take between students and adults. Everyone is here with a purpose of learning and striving to become better versions of ourselves, and we have a lot of fun while doing so.

What is one piece of advice you would give students when they apply to college?

For perhaps the first time in your life, you have the ability to design what the next 4+ years of your experiences will be like. Take charge of your own process, drawing upon insights from your parents, college counselors, and teachers, and be open to learning more about yourself along the way. There is a strong chance that you will end up somewhere you never imagined, and yet it will be the best place for you.


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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