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22-23 Yearbooks

Extra copies of the 2023 Yearbook are available this week for purchase in the Lower School Office. They are $75 each. Early Childhood and Lower School students are featured on their homeroom pages and on spreads for Homecoming and Halloween. Please contact Jenn Brown ( by June 16th if you are interested in purchasing a yearbook.

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Divisional Year-End Mailings

Shortly into the summer, families will be receiving information via mail for their respective divisions. Here is a preview of what will be sent; families should receive this information by the end of next week (June 16) or early the following week.

Early Childhood & Lower School families will receive second-semester report cards as well as documents for the 2023-2024 school year: health forms, summer reading lists, and supply lists.

Middle School families will receive second-semester report cards and advisor letters as well as documents for the 2023-2024 school year: health forms, summer reading lists, and supply lists.

Upper School families will receive second-semester report cards and advisor letters as well as documents for the 2023-2024 school year: health forms and summer reading lists.

Middle and Upper School students will receive course schedules and textbook purchasing information in July.

Should you have any questions about our summer communication, please contact Michelle Matalone or Doug Sept.

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On The Move

Sam O'Connor-Divelbiss, who teaches science and math in the Middle School, has very recently informed us that he will not be returning to Elgin Academy next school year. He has accepted a position at Baker Demonstration School in Wilmette. We thank him for his good work in the classroom with our middle schoolers as well as his time as a coach and the sponsor of the Middle School Science Olympiad team.  We appreciate his four years of service to Elgin Academy, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.

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Leadership Change Update 

The Board unanimously selected Paul Druzinsky to serve as the EA interim Head of School for the 2023/2024 school year.

Paul has 40 years of independent school experience across the entire spectrum of types and sizes of institutions. Most recently he served as the managing director for an educational technology corporation in Elmhurst. In total, his career has spanned serving six highly regarded yet very different independent schools:

  • Francis Parker School in Chicago
  • St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut
  • Branson School in Ross, California
  • The Rodeph Sholom School in New York, New York
  • The Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, Illinois

Paul earned his Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, attended the Paris-Sorbonne University and earned his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.

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On The Move

We are happy to announce that Michelle Matalone, EA's Kindergarten teacher, will become our new Early Childhood and Lower School Director beginning July 1st. Ms. Matalone holds a B.A. in Communications from Western Illinois University and an M.A. in Elementary Education from University of Phoenix. With over a decade of experience in elementary classrooms, Michelle is looking forward to expanding the range of students and families with whom she works. When she arrived on our campus two years ago, she quickly gained the trust and respect of her Lower School teaching colleagues. Her kind but firm demeanor has made her classroom a fun yet challenging place for students, and these same qualities will serve her well as she leads the entire EC/LS program. A familiar face to both students and their parents, we know that Ms. Matalone will make a smooth transition to her new administrative role. Early Childhood and Lower School families will receive a welcome letter from her in the next week. With Ms. Matalone changing roles, we are now looking to fill the position of Kindergarten teacher for the 2023-24 school year. Please refer any candidates to the position description on our website.

Congratulations are also in order for Ashley Anderson who has been named our new College Counselor for the 2023-24 school year. Ms. Anderson has been teaching 10th grade English here this past year and expressed her interest in taking on the additional responsibilities of the college counseling position. After meeting with Doug Sept and Seth Hanford, they were convinced that her excellent writing skills, positive relationship-based style, and genuine care for students and their futures will make her an excellent person to fill this position, especially as she collaborates with Doug in his role of Director of College Counseling. Ashley has already begun collaborating with Dan Raffety to ensure that our 11th-grade students will have a seamless transition in their ongoing college processes, and we have planned opportunities for her to connect personally with each of those students over the coming weeks. Ashley holds a B.S. in Education from Missouri State University. She will continue to teach 10th grade English and will also add 11th grade U.S. History to her plate along with the college counseling duties. We are also pleased to announce that as a part of this transition, Brian Allen will be teaching the 11th grade AP U.S. History course starting in 2023-24.

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On The Move

Elgin Academy is pleased to announce that Dr. Helen Elayan, our school counselor, will be adding two titles to her job description for the 2023-24 school year.  In recognition of the important and ever-expanding scope of the work she does with EA students of all ages and their families, she has been given the title of Director of Student Support Services.  In addition, Dr. Elayan will take on the leadership role of PEAK Director in our program for students with language-based learning differences.  Helen was instrumental in establishing this program with Ms. Criswell and has been an important part of its operation since its inception.  Her broad knowledge of how both the social/emotional and academic growth of these students takes place as well as her understanding of the importance of specific methodologies and training for teachers who work with these kinds of learning differences make her an excellent choice to take on the directorship of this program. 

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Host an International Coach This Summer!

Elgin Academy includes soccer camps offered by Challenger Sports as part of our Summer Program. The Challenger Sports international staff stay with host families from EA or other schools. 

"Each year we receive hundreds of emails from families telling us what an unbelievable time they had hosting one of our coaches. Take it from previous host families, it is truly a life-changing experience." - Challenger Sports

If you are interested in hosting a coach this summer, please click below to learn more. For questions reach out to the local Challenger Regional Director, Dave Wiltcher at

Learn More About Hosting

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On The Move

Although she has only been on our campus for a short time, Amy Criswell has made a big impact during her two-year tenure as our Early Childhood/Lower School and PEAK Director. We will be sad to say goodbye to her at the end of this school year as she heads back to her native Massachusetts to serve as the Lower School Principal at Milton Academy, a prestigious PS-12 independent school with a K-8 Lower School. While happy for her as she takes on her next professional challenge, we will miss Ms. Criswell's incredible care for her young students and their families, her organizational skills, and her support of our Lower School faculty all of which have played such a large part in strengthening that division. Additionally, her deep compassion for students and understanding of literacy instruction have helped us successfully inaugurate the important PEAK program. 

Susie Howe, EA's Middle and Upper School Latin teacher, will not be returning to Elgin Academy next  year.  She has accepted a position teaching Latin at Lake Forest High School for the 2023-24 school year.  Magistra Howe came to the Academy in 2016. Her expert knowledge and love of the classics was immediately evident to her students. In addition to her classroom teaching, Ms. Howe has taken teams to the Illinois Junior Classical League Conventions, participated in Certamen competitions (a quiz-bowl style game for Classics students), helped coach our Scholastic Bowl team, and led J-Term classes. We thank her for her 7 years of service to EA and wish her all the best as she moves on to the next stage of her career.

At the end of this school year we will also be saying good-bye to Heather Bragg, our PEAK multisensory math teacher/5th grade math teacher. Ms. Bragg came here mid-year in the 2021-22 school year as a long-term sub in our Middle School. Her classroom skills and easy rapport with students along with her broad background and training in working with students with learning differences made her a perfect teacher for the first year of our PEAK program.  We extend our thanks to Ms. Bragg for her year and a half of service on our campus. We know she’ll do well in her new position as a resource teacher at Geneva High School.

First grade teacher Terri Garcia has decided that this will be the last year of a long career as an elementary teacher.  Ms. Garcia will be retiring at the close of this school year and moving with her husband to Spring Hill, Florida. She is very much looking forward to drinking coffee and reading wonderful novels in the sun room with a few long walks on the beach and maybe even a few minor league baseball games thrown in for good measure.  We thank her for the year she spent with us and are happy to think of her living the idyllic retirement she has planned.

We are seeking interested candidates, both internally and externally. Please encourage interested parties to reach out to us; the way to do that is listed in the job description on our website. Meanwhile, we will communicate when we have news, and we appreciate your understanding that our hiring process is a comprehensive one that demands both confidentiality and time to work well.

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Senior Speeches are Posted on the Class of 2023 Webpage!

If you missed any of the senior speeches you can find them posted on the Class of 2023 page on the EA Community Portal. The videos will also be posted on Social Media this week and next week. As we celebrate our seniors in the coming month, we will continue to post videos, photos, and more from the class of 2023 end-of-year festivities including Commencement. The page is available for anyone to view over the summer, so please share it with family and friends. In the fall the class of 2023 page will be moved to the Alumni portal. 

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On The Move

After a decade as college counselor and Upper School history teacher, Dan Raffety has decided to return to his roots in New England. Mr. Raffety has accepted a position as the Director of College Counseling at the Putney School in Vermont. The Putney School is a highly-regarded independent boarding school, where, in addition to his college counseling work, he will also have dorm faculty responsibilities.  Dan has provided many Hilltoppers with guidance and support as they have navigated the college application process and made decisions about where to matriculate. He will be missed by his students and his colleagues as well. We thank Mr. Raffety for his 10 years of service and wish him all the best in this next stage of his career.

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On the Move

Elgin Academy will be saying good-bye to Middle School Administrative Assistant Trisha Shrum at the end of this week. Ms. Shrum has been working here since 2017. In addition to her time in the Middle School office, she has also been a member of our Summer Camp staff. Her kindness in helping our middle schoolers and their parents navigate the school day and co-curricular activities has been invaluable, and we are grateful for her years of service. Ms. Shrum has accepted a new position which aligns more with her career goals and family priorities. It will allow her to work with younger children which is the age group she is most passionate about. Good luck, Ms. Shrum!

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