Fifth Grade

Chris Szpila

5th Grade

Chris is a super fan of Academy School and 5th graders. She found her niche almost 15 years ago, and may never graduate from 5th grade. In her classroom she emphasizes the importance of community and relationship and uses this as the foundation for creating a safe learning environment where kids can take risks, make mistakes and learn.

Chris graduated from Stonehill College and earned her master’s degree from Sacred Heart University.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. -African proverb

Dan O'Brien

5th Grade

This is Dan's second year teaching at Academy and 5th year teaching elementary school. Previously Dan taught 4th grade for 3 years in Portland, OR. He graduated from Westfield State University in 2017 with a bachelors in elementary education and a focus in mathematics. Dan believes that flexibility, a positive mind set and a good sense of humor are essential in order to be successful in the classroom.

Michael Lonergan

5th Grade

This is Michael's third year teaching at Academy School. Prior to that, Michael taught middle school English for 21 years in Brattleboro, Keene, New Hampshire, and Grants Pass, Oregon. Michael earned his undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire and his teaching certification from Southern Oregon University. He is excited to teach at the elementary level and grateful to be a part of the Academy community.

Orly Hasbani

5th Grade

Orly Hasbani began teaching in 2002 and has worked at Academy School since 2007. She taught third grade for many years but switched to teaching k-6 enrichment in the fall of 2017. She will be teaching the remote 5th grade class this year. Orly received her masters degree in education from Antioch University and a BS from Tufts University where she studied biology and music. She was also premed but happily changed course after getting her undergraduate degree and hasn't regretted it since. She focuses on project-based learning and strives to infuse independence and critical thinking in her students in all areas of the curriculum.

5th Grade is an exciting year at Academy School. We strive for academic rigor while incorporating components of team building and social competency so our students will be well-rounded thinkers and contributors to their larger community.


5th Grade themes include Age of Exploration and Colonization through the American Revolutionary War. Through inquiry in science, students will explore cyclical events, energy flow in an ecosystem, and states of matter. The 5th-grade team is especially enthusiastic about sharing top-notch literature with students to inspire a love of reading.