News about The Ellis School includes timely announcements about events, initiatives, and accomplishments happening across campus.



  • Ellis Appoints Three New Trustees to the Board

    The Ellis School is pleased to announce the appointment of three new trustees to the Board. Effective July 2021, these new appointments will work with Board Chair, Elizabeth Riordan, to guide The Ellis School’s strategic vision for the future.
  • Welcoming New Faculty, Staff, & Coaches for the 2021-22 Year

    The Ellis School is pleased to announce new faculty members for the 2021–2022 school year. The School is thrilled to add these passionate intellectuals, scholars, and leaders to our team. Please join us in welcoming these talented educators, coaches, and staff members to our community.
  • Ellis Alumna Awarded Fulbright Research Grant

    Ellis alumna Maria KOVALCHUK ’10 has been awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research focused on translation and society in Ancient Rome at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. The United States government’s flagship international educational exchange program, Fulbright grants fund 12 months of international educational experience and facilitate cultural exchange through work in the classroom and in the community.
  • 2021 Upper School Awards and Book Prizes

    The Ellis School honored members of the junior and senior classes with awards honoring their outstanding academic achievements, athletic contributions, and service to the community at Closing Exercises. Please join us in congratulating these students for their commitment to scholarship, service, and sportsmanship.
  • Ceil (Leeper) Sturdevant Retires After 40 Years at Ellis

    For the past four decades, Ceil (Leeper) Sturdevant’s clay studio has been a safe haven for Ellis students. Tucked in the back corner of the Fine Arts Building with a “Caution: Pyros Within'' sign on the door, her room has been a sacred hideaway for scores of Ellis artists over the years who have discovered the beauty of molding and making within its walls. And while the studio holds significance to Ellisans, it’s really Ms. Sturdevant herself and the impact that her teaching style and talent have had on the entire community that will leave a lasting impression when she retires at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Students Win Top Awards at State PJAS Competition

    Ten Middle and Upper School students received first and second place awards in the statewide Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) competition. Under the guidance of Upper School Chemistry Teacher and Faculty Advisor Lynne St. Hilaire, students unraveled complex problems, troubleshot possible solutions, and analyzed data to support their conclusions before presenting their final projects. In addition to the awards, Meghan McNabb, Class of 2022, was honored with a scholarship to Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. 
  • Ellis Student Named State Finalist for FIRST Dean's List Award

    Celina Whitmer, Class of 2022, has been recognized as one of the state finalists for FIRST Tech Challenge’s Dean's List Award. She was one of three individuals selected from the state of Pennsylvania and the only girl! 
  • 28 Students Inducted Into Language National Honor Societies

    Twenty-eight Upper School students have been inducted into National Honor Societies for world languages. Ten students were inducted into Société Honoraire de Français, nine students were inducted into Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, and nine students were inducted into the National Latin Honor Society.
  • Alumna Inducted Into PA Track and Field Hall of Fame

    Ellis alumna Heather HANCHAK Moss '97 has been elected to the Pennsylvania High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. An outstanding sprinter at Ellis, Heather’s athletic accomplishments include:
  • Class of 2021 College Commitments

    The Ellis School is proud to announce the Class of 2021’s college matriculation list. When making their final decisions, Ellis seniors are encouraged to follow their own paths and commit to a school that not only supports who they are now, but who they will become. This year’s class of 29 students will attend 23 institutions across the country and has shown a strong interest in pursuing careers in engineering, public policy, and creative writing.  
  • Growth Mindset at Play

    It all started with a group of rowdy puppies—or should we say fourth graders—in February when the 2021 Lower School musical was first announced. Yelps of excitement could be heard coming from the fourth grade classroom as students shared their enthusiasm for this year’s show, 101 Dalmatians, and began talking about the different parts in store for them. 
  • Student Science Experiments Recognized at PRSEF

    Three Ellis Upper School students were recognized for their scientific investigations at the 82nd Annual Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (PRSEF).  At this year’s virtual competition, Eleanor Barth Wu, Class of 2022, Viola Haggerty, Class of 2023, and Erika Rispoli, Class of 2022, were honored by judges for their research, findings, and presentations at the annual fair.
  • Jenn Moynihan Named Next Head of Middle School

    Jenn Moynihan has been appointed Ellis’ next Middle School Division Head, effective July 1, 2021.
  • Senior Named WPIAL Scholar-Athlete

    Tegan Poerio, Class of 2021, has been named a Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) Scholar-Athlete. One of twenty students honored in the region, Tegan earned one of the ten spots for female high-school athletes across WPIAL sections and classes. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a commemorative plaque in honor of her hard work and commitment to Ellis Athletics.
  • Pen Pal Project Sparks Next Level Spanish Learning

    A handmade blue mailbox was stuffed to the brim with letters postmarked for Mexico City in the Lower School Spanish classroom. The destination? Instituto Miguel Angel, a private school in Mexico City that Ellis girls had begun correspondence with, thanks to Lower School Spanish Teacher Brenda Martinez. 
  • Visiting Artists Challenge Students to Reflect and Connect

    For the last several years, Ellis’ visiting artists program has brought local artists and creatives to the School to share their skills and perspectives with students. Funded through grants from the Ellis Parent Association, the program has welcomed Christian Hughes, a local architect and founder of Drafting Dreams, to work with Middle School students on a neighborhood architecture project and visual artist Ramon Riley, to name a few. This opportunity for students to delve into and deepen their creativity alongside working artists empowers them to visualize themselves as makers and artists as they create, question, and collaborate.
  • Ellis Launches Changemakers Lab Summer Institute

    The Ellis School is excited to announce the launch of Changemakers Lab, a summer experience unlike any other—that’s exclusively for girls. The first program of its kind in Pittsburgh, Changemakers Lab is designed to empower girls to ask big questions, roll up their sleeves, and work together to create a better tomorrow. 
  • Ellis Establishes Edna Jones Endowed Library Chair

    The Ellis School is pleased to announce the creation of the Edna Jones Endowed Library Chair. A mark of professional distinction, the Endowed Library Chair has been appointed to School Librarian Sara Brooke. 
  • Students Honored with PJAS Awards

    Thirteen Ellis students were awarded with Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) awards at the regional competition. Ten students were awarded first place honors, and three students were awarded additional awards of merit for their experiments. 
  • Ellis Wins Pittsburgh Future City Competition

    Ellis’ Middle School Future City Team once again took first place at the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition. This honor marks the seventh time Ellis has won the regional competition in thirteen years of competing. In addition to taking the top prize, the Ellis team also won special awards for Best Essay and Best City Layout. The team advanced to the National Finals in mid-March, where they competed against teams from across the country in a virtual competition, and are in the running for the National People’s Choice Award. The national awards will be announced at a virtual ceremony on April 7.
  • Ellis Takes First Place on Hometown High Q

    A team of Upper School students representing Ellis won first place on Hometown High Q, a local trivia quiz show for high school students on KDKA. Seniors Kiera Harrell-Danks, Annika Ramani, and Lowrie Woodside competed in the regional quiz show, and Hunter Kloss, Class of 2021, and Grace Boyer, Class of 2023 served as alternates. 
  • Computer Science Project Highlights Changemakers

    “What does it mean to be a changemaker?”

    Computer Science Teacher Michele Lombardi posed this question to her grade 5 students in Creative Computing class. In-person and remote learners raised their hands and chimed in with different answers. “It means to be confident,” said one student. Another suggested it meant being helpful. A third said it meant being inventive. Students compiled their descriptors into a word bubble and agreed that a changemaker is someone who is brave, someone who is kind, and someone who perseveres.
  • Lower School Students See the Best in Themselves

    Outside of the second grade classrooms, the walls are lined with black and white photos and short essays written by students. Each one has a different title—My Hands, My Arms, My Neck, My Hair, My Brain—and explains what second grade girls believe is the best part of themselves. Inspired by the book, The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald, which features a similar style, students celebrated the different ways they were unique by writing about their favorite attribute and sharing it with the class. 
  • Student-Athletes Start Middle School Field Hockey Clinic

    For grade 10 students Ilona Bender, Abby Fägersten, and Zoe Woon, field hockey season doesn’t begin in August and end in November—it’s a year-round commitment. Dedicated to the sport and to the Ellis team, Abby, Ilona, and Zoe took matters into their own hands this year to ensure that the Tigers continue their legacy of being a fierce WPIAL competitor. They decided to start a winter field hockey clinic at Ellis to introduce more girls to the game and to work on skill-building in the off-season. 
  • Zia Shelly, Class of 2026

    Middle School Artwork on Display for Youth Art Month

    Three Middle School students have been selected to participate in the 2021 Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) Youth Art Month Exhibition. Netta Dobzinski, Class of 2025, Josie Gaddess, Class of 2026, and Zia Shelly, Class of 2026, will have their art virtually displayed in PAEA’s digital exhibition from March 1 to April 4, 2021. 
  • Amanda Finigan Named Next Head of Upper School

    Amanda Finigan has been appointed Ellis’ next Upper School Division Head, effective July 1, 2021.
  • Ellis Student Nominated for Student of the Year Program

    Ellis student Rebekah Rapp, Class of 2024, has been nominated for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Students of the Year program. A philanthropic leadership development program, Students of the Year fosters skills such as marketing, fundraising, entrepreneurship, and project management in order to raise funds to fight blood cancers. 
  • Students Honored with Scholastic Art Awards

    Forty Ellis students have been recognized with regional Scholastic Art Awards, winning forty-eight different awards in several categories, including clay, photography, drawing, digital photography, and mixed media. Every year, students in grades 7 to 12 are encouraged to submit their work to the awards which are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious arts and writing recognition program. In March, Ellis’ four Gold Key winners will be considered for national award recognitions. 
  • Students Recognized with Scholastic Writing Awards

    Thirty-six Ellis students have been recognized with regional Scholastic Writing Awards, winning 44 different awards in the Personal Essay & Memoir, Critical Essay, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Short Story, Journalism, and Poetry categories. Every year, students in grades 8 to 12 are encouraged to submit their work to the awards which are the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious arts and writing recognition program. In March, Ellis’ seven Gold Key winners will be considered for national award recognitions.
  • Ellis Launches SHAKE THE WORLD Promotional Campaign

    Ellis students don't fit into a box. Their interests are wide-ranging, their skill sets are far-reaching, and their passions are ever-evolving. From pre-kindergarten to grade 12, you’ll find brilliant problem-solvers, community-minded collaborators, ambitious voices, and courageous changemakers filling our classrooms, learning how to shake the world.
  • Cultivating Changemakers at Culture Jam 2021

    On Friday, January 15, high school students gathered virtually for The Ellis’ School’s 17th annual student-led diversity conference, Culture Jam. Led by students in the Student Diversity League (SDL), Culture Jam is the largest and longest-running student-led diversity conference in the region.
  • Ellis Student Receives National Award for Aspirations in Computing

    Erika Rispoli, Class of 2022, has received a National Center for Women & Informational Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC). Her recognition, a national honorable mention, puts her among the top 400 student awardees in the country. 
  • Ellis Hosts MLK Day Celebration

    Community members celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. together virtually on Monday, January 18.  Denise LaRosa, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, led a Living History program which included performances, a keynote address, and a special presentation by Ellis students. 
  • Students and Faculty Attend NAIS Diversity Conferences

    Ellis students and faculty virtually attended the National Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership Conference and People of Color Conference in December.
  • Baking Bread in Biology to Learn About Cellular Respiration

    No biology lab? No problem. In place of a traditional lab to learn about cellular respiration, Upper School biology students took matters into their own hands and made bread at home during their final day of remote learning. 
  • Introducing Girl Talk, Ellis’ New Virtual Parenting Series

    Girl Talk is moving from the written word on our blog to the spoken word with our new, free webinar series, Girl Talk: Conversations for Parents. A parent's guide to raising girls who become bold, vibrant changemakers, Girl Talk brings families, educators, and experts to explore issues and ideas related to raising school-aged daughters.
  • Artist Laura Berman Virtually Visits Kindergarten

    One of the perks of virtual learning is that Ellis students have the chance to connect with experts and professionals from across the country—no plane ticket or road trip required. Whether it’s a university professor or a popular journalist, these experiences give girls the opportunity to learn about different careers and professions as they themselves consider what they want to be “when they grow up.” For the Class of 2033, their opportunity came in the form of an artist talk with Laura Berman, a printmaker who often draws inspiration from the natural world, whose work they have been studying.

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