Phone: 847-731-9370

Email:

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Mr. Michael Blades - Department Head

Mr. Michael Blades came to ZBTHS in 2014 from Intrinsic Charter School in Chicago, where he helped design both the learning spaces and the Humanities curriculum for an open classroom, technology-based charter high school.  Prior to that, Mr. Blades taught English for 14 years at Evanston Township High School, Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago, and Glenbrook North High School.  Mr. Blades holds a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Olivet Nazarene University, Teaching Certification from The University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and English from Loyola University of Chicago.  Mr. Blades has also taught English overseas in Seoul, South Korea, and was a Human Rights Investigator with the State of Illinois.  Mr. Blades has three children of his own of high school and college age.


Phone: 847-731-9540

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Dr. Jasey Kolarik - Department Head

Dr. Jasey Kolarik has served as Department Head for Social Science and World Language at Zion Benton Township High School since 2020. Prior to becoming an administrator, Dr. Kolarik taught in the Social Science Department for 20 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in Environmental Policy and Planning from University of Wisconsin at Green Bay; a Master of Arts in Education: Language Arts from Carthage College; Master of Science in Psychology from Arizona State University and her Doctor of Education from Aurora University.  As a Department Head, Dr. Kolarik supports teachers’ efforts to empower students, enhance achievement, and ensure excellence.


Phone: 847-731-4401

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Ms. Jenn Lang - Department Head

Ms. Jennifer Lang has served as Department Head for Alternative Programming at Zion Benton Township High School since 2012. Prior to becoming an administrator, Ms. Lang taught in the Departmental Program at Cyd Lash Academy, before moving into a Lead teacher position at CLA. Ms. Lang also served as a Dean at Huntley High School before moving on to her role here at ZBTHS. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education (LBSI), a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.  Ms. Lang serves as a Nonviolent Crisis Intervention trainer for the district. As a Department Head, Ms. Lang supports staffs’ efforts to foster positive relationships with students, enhance equitable services and ensure meaningful opportunities for students.


Phone: (847) 731-9311

Email:

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Mr. Derrick Lee - Dean of Students

Mr. Derrick Lee has served District 126 since 1998 and is currently in his twenty-third year of service. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Carthage College and is a 1985 Zee-Bee graduate. His current role for the past 21 years has been Dean of Students. Prior to that, Mr. Lee served as Assistant Safety Director.  Mr. Lee has also been the Men’s Head Track Coach for the last 12 years and has sponsored The Brotherhood of Extraordinary Young Men for the last 10 years.


Phone: 847-731-9309

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Mr. Zackary Livingston - Assistant Principal

Mr. Zackary Livingston has served as the Assistant Principal of Zion-Benton Township High School since 2021. He is a graduate of Zion Benton Township High School where he credits his interest and desire to work with youth in the surrounding community.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Livingston served as Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning at North Chicago Community High School for 4 years. He previously taught Technology, Science, English, and Social Studies for middle schools in Waukegan Public Schools, and at private and charter schools in Florida and Georgia. 

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Adventist University, a Master’s Degree in Education from Quincy University, and a 2nd Master’s in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. He is currently a doctoral candidate studying Leadership, Equity & Inquiry at Concordia University of Chicago.


Phone: (847) 731-9313

Email:

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Mr. Omar Orozco - Dean of Students

Mr. Omar Orozco has been working in the field of education for over 11 years and joined District 126 in July of 2021.  Prior to becoming a dean, Mr. Orozco spent 10 years in the classroom teaching Spanish while also coaching Boys and Girls Soccer. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Spanish and Secondary Education with a minor in Latino and Latin American Studies from Northeastern Illinois and his Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction-ESL from Concordia University.  Mr. Orozco believes that it is imperative to foster a positive school environment so that students are able to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.


Phone: 847-731-9303

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Dr. Christopher Pawelczyk - Principal

Dr. Chris Pawelczyk has served as Principal of Zion-Benton Twp. High School since 2013.  Prior to this, Dr. Pawelczyk taught high school science and history in the south suburbs of Chicago and worked as an Assistant Principal in the Chicago Public Schools.  He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a concentration in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, his certification in Secondary Education from Chicago State University, his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Governors State University, and a Doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In his role as principal, Dr. Pawelczyk serves as the instructional leader of and lead building administrator for Zion-Benton Twp. High School.


Phone: 847-731-9440

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Dr. Nicole Stommel - Department Head

Dr. Nicole Stommel has served as Department Head for Mathematics and Driver Education at Zion Benton Township High School since 2015.  Prior to becoming an administrator, Dr. Stommel taught mathematics in Wisconsin and Illinois.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, with a minor in Secondary Education from Roosevelt University; her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University; and her Doctor of Education from Western Illinois University.  As a Department Head, Dr. Stommel supports teachers’ efforts to empower students, enhance achievement, and ensure excellence. 


Phone: 847-731-9492

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Mr. Andrew Stout - Department Head

Mr. Andrew Stout has been at ZBTHS since 2012 and has served as Department Head for Career & Technical Programs since 2020. Prior to becoming an administrator, Mr. Stout taught business education for 10 years. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Huntington University, a Master of Business Administration from Liberty University, Teaching Certification from Calumet College of St. Joseph and Educational Leadership Studies from Purdue University. Mr. Stout serves on the Executive Board for the National Business Education Association and President-Elect for the North Central Business Education Association. As Department Head, Mr. Stout supports teachers' efforts to create meaningful opportunities and ensure all students are college and career ready.


Phone: (847) 731-9312

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Mr. Brian Valerugo - Dean of Students

Mr. Brian Valerugo has served here as Dean of Students since 2007.  Prior to becoming an administrator, Mr. Valerugo taught in the physical education department at Zion-Benton High School for 6 years.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with an emphasis in sports medicine from Illinois State University.  He went on to earn his Masters of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.  As Dean of Students, Mr. Valerugo supports teachers’ efforts to empower students, enhance achievement, and ensure excellence. 


Phone: 847-731-9713

Email:

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Ms. Emily Waddick - Department Head

Mrs. Emily Waddick came to ZBTHS in 2006 and has served as the Department Head for Special Education since 2017.  Previous to being the Department Head for Special Education, Mrs. Waddick taught English and was a case manager for students with IEPs at Warren Township High School before coming to ZBTHS.  Mrs. Waddick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education (LBS1) and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.  Mrs. Waddick is certified in Trauma Informed Practices in schools and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention as well as a member of the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education and Council for Exceptional Children.  Mrs. Waddick is passionate about creating classroom spaces that are both equitable and accessible to all students.


Phone: 847-731-9570

Email:

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Mr. Mike Wollney - Department Head

Mr. Michael Wollney is the Department Head for Science, Health and Physical Education.  He studied Physical Education and Health at Eastern Illinois University.  Michael taught Physical Education and Health at CICS Northtown Academy in Chicago for 10 years. After earning his graduate degree in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University, Michael became the Department Chair for Health and Physical Education at Proviso West High School.  He later transitioned into the role of Division Head for Health and Human Services at Proviso East, before joining Zion-Benton.