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Middle School

Connecting newfound passion with newly honed ability

We believe the middle school years mark the momentous time when students are physically, emotionally, and intellectually mature and capable enough to pursue learning at a level far deeper than before.

Our fifth through eighth grade students benefit from robust programs provided by caring educators that help them realize and fulfill their potential.

Starting in fifth grade, project-based learning invites students into hands-on collaboration with their peers and teachers. Middle School students also sign up for far-ranging co-curriculars including a variety of athletic options, a theater production, and more. Along the way, students meet daily in their small advisory groups, a hallmark of our supportive community, and assume more responsibility for shaping their own learning as a part of their Learning Plan conferences.


Doug Sept

Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs

“EA’s strong academic program is a differentiator, but not as much as it used to be. What makes EA different is what is happening within those courses. They are collaborative in nature and not as teacher centric. When our Middle and Upper School students are in a class, they are expected to be active participants. We teach and mold them to learn what that means: advocate for themselves, share thoughts, develop communication skills.”

Meet Our Middle School Faculty & Staff

“We found some wonderful teachers who were caring, engaging, and personalized. You know those once-in-a-lifetime teachers you get? At EA, we got them multiple times.”

Parent of an EA Graduate

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Stacey Lorenz

Stacey Lorenz

Middle School & Upper School Latin
B.A., Mount Holyoke College
M.A., Indiana University

The Latin language did not fall with the Roman empire. The influence of the Romans and their language can be seen in so many aspects of modern life. I hope to help my students make those connections between the past and the present. I want my students to leave my class as critical thinkers, with a strong work ethic and always wanting to learn more.
-Stacey Lorenz

Renee Nealis

Renee Nealis

Upper School & Middle School Spanish
BA, Saint Xavier University

I love to teach! Spanish language and culture have been a big part of my life and I invite my students to explore the beauty in them in my class. Elgin Academy has been an amazing place to teach at. I love getting to know each of my students and belonging to such a close knit community. My goal for my students is for them to appreciate another culture and language to its fullest!
-Renee Nealis

Jennifer Sampson

Jennifer Sampson

Middle School English
PhD, University of Chicago
MA, University of Chicago
BA, Kenyon College

In my classroom I want to help middle schoolers learn to be brave enough to be vulnerable, curious enough to make mistakes, and compassionate enough to forgive others and themselves. Literature is a wonderful tool for leading kids to greater self-awareness, empathy, and cultural literacy. And as they become better writers they can better connect with their audience, discover themselves, and work through problems. I feel privileged to accompany these kids as they learn to question, make good choices, and confidently engage with the world.
- Jennifer Sampson

Cassandra (Cassie) Spencer

Cassandra (Cassie) Spencer

Middle School English
BA, Aurora University

In middle school, reading and writing were my favorite subjects. I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me to pursue my own interests and ideas while still providing me with a solid foundation of skills for the future. It was then that I decided that I also wanted to be a middle school teacher, so that I could do the same for my own students one day.
- Cassie Spencer