New Staff at North


Mr. Hord, a new teacher, teaching a class. Photo Taken by Siena Pietraszak

Vanessa Garcia…Richard Lee…Allison Szramek

Marlo Anderson
Staff Reporter

Allison Szramek is a new speech pathologist who was previously a student at GNHS. She graduated from Illinois State University and has started her career at GNHS. Vanessa Garcia is a new EL teacher who has been committed to helping people since she was in 4th grade.

She is a certified pharmacy technician but has now started her teaching career at GNHS. Richard Lee is a new special education teacher who is eager to help his new students. He played baseball in college, but while he was there realized he wanted a career in education.

All of these people are now staff at GNHS and have their own unique stories to tell.

These staff members all had unique reasons for coming to work at GNHS. Some of them had motives to help others and chose to come to GNHS. But one woman had been here before, only as a student. North alumna Allison Szramek has chosen to once again join the Knights, but this time as a speech pathologist.

“I had a really awesome experience in high school and I just felt supported by all the staff members here and I kind of wanted to come back and give back and allow people to also have a great experience and just kind of help those kids have an awesome experience like I did,” Szramek said.

When you are little, you may have a dramatic idea of what you want to be when you grow up, or you might have no idea what you want to be. But some people know early on that they want to make a difference in the world.

“Since like fourth grade, I knew I wanted to do something that would help others and have some sort of impact,” Garcia said.

High school is a significant and exciting time in a teenager’s life. Richard Lee, a new special education teacher, was excited to re-enter the high school atmosphere.

“Attending the Homecoming assembly on Friday, I mean, it just kind of brought me back to like my high school days and having assemblies,” Lee said.

When starting ‑a new job or doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone, you want support from family, friends, and peers.

“Everyone is really inviting, like, even everyone in terms of staff, even if I don’t know them or they belong to a different department. I’ve gotten a lot of people asking me, ‘How are you feeling? How are you doing?’ And I think the students are also very open to getting to know you as a teacher too,” Garcia said.

Role models can have a large impact on the person you become. It’s always a good idea to have positive role models in your life.

“I didn’t have any teaching role models, but my role model I did have in sports was Derek Jeter. The one reason why I like him so much was that he does everything the right way, never cheated, was always like there for his teammates and always did the best for him and his teammates. And I kind of took some of those characteristics and it kind of brought them to like teaching. So like I mean, I’ll do anything for my students,” Lee said.

For students who want to become a teacher or who want to become a part of school staff, many of the teachers have great advice.

“I think just like getting in and observing or being able to see it in action to kind of like fully understand and kind of getting your feet wet there and just really loving what you’re doing, and it’s a big thing to like help people and inspire people and then just getting the opportunity to see it and to kind of do it,” Szramek said.

Kyle Cook…Alex Hord…Henry Kappler

Siena Pietraszak
Staff Reporter

Every year, Grayslake North welcomes new staff members, and the 2022-23 school year is no exception. Alex Hord, Henry Kappler, and Kyle Cook are among the new staff members this year. Alex Hord teaches chemistry and travels between both North and Central. Kyle Cook is a recent addition to the social work department.Henry Kappler, the new fine arts department chair, also goes back and forth between schools.

This is Kappler’s 16th year of teaching, while Cook has been in his field for about three years. Hord has been a substitute teacher here and taught at Mundelein High School.

All three staff members are extremely qualified for their new positions.

Hord has an extensive background in the scientific field.

“I spent two years doing geoscience work. So groundwater, soil sampling, emergency responses, EPA contracts and like that, a lot of traveling,” he said. “The other thing I was always interested in was teaching.”

Kappler, meanwhile, is new to an administrative position but has plenty of experience in high school fine arts.

“I have taught in central Illinois and suburban St. Louis, and just before Grayslake, I was in District 214 in Buffalo Grove High School as the band director there,” Kappler said.

Cook has worked as a private therapist in the past, and this is his second year as a social worker at a high school, having worked at New Trier High School in Winnetka last year.

For all three new staff members, the environment and sense of community at North is high on their list of favorite things about the school.

“It feels like a family and a small community here. Everyone’s so welcoming. I mean, from the hall monitors to the cafeteria staff, everyone’s just all in,” Cook said.

The sense of community and willingness is one of his favorite aspects of the school.

Kappler’s job requires that he work primarily with other staff members rather than the students themselves, and he’s learned a lot from North’s resident staff.

“I have found that there’s a really awesome veteran staff here who know exactly what they’re doing, exactly what they want. And it’s been awesome to work and learn from them,” he said.

Hord, on the other hand, finds working with students the highlight of his job.“I was with some of these students last year, for that semester, and students are always great.

Always fun to talk to them and teach them,” he said.

With his position as a chemistry teacher here, he has plenty of interaction with students and is glad he gets to pursue additional passions with teaching.

Hord, Kappler, and Cook are all excited for the upcoming school year and their new positions as Grayslake North staff.

Cook is planning to potentially help create and sponsor a new club.

“It’s still in early stages, but me and Miss Donna are talking about an eSports club. I’m really excited to see if that takes off or not. I’m really excited to get more involved,” Cook said.
For Kappler, who’s in his first administrative position, becoming familiar with D127 is most exciting.

“I’m looking forward to really learning a lot about the school district,” he said. “And honestly, knowing what I’m doing, understanding where I’m supposed to be and all those other roles that I have.”

Hord is most looking forward to meeting people, staff and students, and forming connections with them.

“Just getting to know everyone. I think the first semester is really important to build relationships with students and staff members and getting to know them,” Hord said.

For Hord, Kappler, and Cook, the 2022-23 school year promises excitement, involvement, and a lot of learning. All three new staff members are so excited to be a part of the Grayslake North community.

Brent Jones…Ashley Kunz…Eric Lopez

Dani Ebbole
Staff Reporter

There are many new staff at North, one of them being Coach Brent Jones. Coach Jones was at North last year as a coach for boys basketball and track. This year he secured a full-time job at North as a paraprofessional.

Ashley Kunz, social stu

dies teacher who has previously worked at Round Lake High School

, graduated from Indiana University in 2021.

Kunz has also recently joined the staff.

Eric Lopez previously worked at Lakes High School and Woodland Middle School. He is now a special education teacher as well as the boys varsity baseball coach.

Everyone has different reasons for becoming who they are currently. People have many different events and individuals who influence their life and help decide what to do during their life.

“When I was kid, I always wanted to be a lawyer. Then as I got older, and I was thinking, like would that be boring as I became more of myself and the energetic, crazy person I am. Like, would that be boring for me? But I am very happy where I’m at,” Jones said.

Role models and figures in someone’s life can help develop the person they are. The people and environment that individuals surround themselves with really help them grow and develop.

“Easy, easy way to say, my parents. They just taught me how to be a great human being, someone who you want to be around,” Jones said.

A big part of life is facing various difficulties practically every day that you have to adapt to and push past. Every job has different challenges people can face.

“I think a difficulty I’ve experienced has definitely been each day brings its own new thing. And there’s no way you can be 100 percent prepared for that. Which, as someone who likes to plan ahead almost every minute of every day, that is a really big challenge. And I do say I’m relatively adaptable, but it can really go other ways sometimes where it’s just not. It’s hard to adapt to those changes,” Kunz said.

There are many things that stand out to a teacher that tell them about their students, the way they dress, act, speak and more. The way that students present themselves to a teacher helps to determine their view on them. Kunz related to this by also explaining what are her favorite things about her students.

“My favorite thing about my students is how much they really want to connect with each other and in whatever way that comes about, whether that be just like talking in class or working in groups. My favorite thing is seeing them come back together and connect on whatever it is we’re doing for the day,” Kunz said.

The community in workplaces is a big part of why people pick their jobs, be it because of the location or just because they know it will be a nice place to work.

“The community so far, it’s been it’s been really cool. The other teachers have been very helpful. Everybody’s been receptive to questions. The student population I mean, everybody’s willing to work and kind of everybody’s been very welcoming to me thus far, and I’m excited to be a part of the community,” Lopez said.

Every workspace is different, and all have separate pr

os, cons, as well as distinct rules. People, after working in different environments, can see things they like and don’t like about a job space as well as what they need to look for, for them.

“It allows me to kind of be the philosophies that I’ve lived my whole life: focus on what you can control and nothing good comes easy. It has put those philosophies to the test. Where I tell these things to my students and my players but now I gotta live it again, because I know that starting new at a brand new building has made it so I gotta walk the walk. Now I’ve been talking the talk and I get to practice what I preach,” Lopez said.