The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

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Assistant Principal retiring after 17 years

Kelly Dostal leaves behind legacy of student support, success
Retiring Senior Assistant Principal Kelly Dostal meets with student in her office at NC (Klos/LION).

The Assistant Principal for the class of 2024, Kelly Dostal, has announced her plans to retire at the end of the school year after 17 years at LT. Dostal has been the assistant principal for four classes and has seen each of them to their graduation, as she will be doing for the last time with class of 2024. 

Dostal began her teaching career in 1990 at a small school in Central Illinois, where she taught Spanish, English and history, she said. She then taught in Upstate New York for a few years and later came back to the Chicagoland area to teach Spanish. When her best friend and former Assistant Principal Kristine Costopolous reached out to her with the news of an open Assistant Principal position at LT, Dostal jumped on the opportunity and got the job. 

“Our assistant principals are important facilitators who ensure that the correct support and resources are provided to students,” Superintendent Brian Waterman said. “[They] play an important role in the overall safe environment that we have here at LT.” 

The assistant principal role at LT has historically been a very reactive role. Throughout the last several years, the role has become much more proactive, and is more focused on support for students, Waterman said. Dostal works closely with counselors, social workers, and school psychologists to help support all students.

“A big part of my job is handling disciplinary matters, attendance, tardies, and making sure we can create a safe environment for kids,” Dostal said. “Good students make bad choices everyday, and our role as [assistant principals] is to help our students reflect on what may have happened, why they made the decision that they made, and how they can make a better decision next time. Student success is the most important aspect of my job. It’s about helping remove barriers for their success and pushing students to succeed. That’s ultimately been my goal, I want to give them the space to learn and reflect.” 

Dostal’s day-to-day routines consist of having an empty schedule to then being swamped from the time she gets here to the time she leaves, she said. 

“If a parent or student or someone comes to me with a problem or questions regarding support that a student might need, more often than not I will work with the AP because they work with the Student Support Teams in supporting students and will have a full picture of not only what the student needs but also the supports and resources available both at LT and within the community,” Principal Jennifer Tyrrell said. “So, Dostal not only knows our students, but she knows our families and has connections within the community.”

Tyrrell became principal at LT in 2021, and there was a lot of planning required taking place for the upcoming school year. Dostal supported her in the new transition and wanted the year to start off in a positive fashion. It meant a lot to Tyrrell and is something she won’t forget when reflecting on her earlier days at LT, she said. 

“Whether it be in individual situations or in group settings, she has always brought a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the discussion,” Waterman said. “Within our leadership team, we want to have all perspectives shared, and she has been an important part of that effort.”

Students also have the opportunity to get to know their assistant principals. Dostal has been able to support students in college decisions, upcoming tests, personal issues, and other major life decisions, Molly Zagroba ‘24 said. 

“I love the fact that I still have daily contact with students,” Dostal said.  “Any position that’s beyond where I am at limits my daily contact with students and I never want to lose that contact which is why I have stayed for as long as I have.”

Zagroba’s freshman year was not traditional as it was off to a rough start due to COVID-19, but when entering her sophomore year, she got to know Dostal more. She was an aide in her office in the 2021-2022 school year. 

“She always has a smile on her face and her door is always open. She truly left her mark and supported the lives of many LT students, including me,” Zagroba said. “We also got a lot closer from shared laughs due to burnt popcorn and fire alarms.” 

Some people think that assistant principals are disciplinarians and are here to get kids in trouble. AP’s are here to support kids and help them make the right choices, Dostal said.

“The most difficult part of my job has been and will again happen in May when most of you are walking across the stage and some students aren’t going to be,” Dostal said. “It’s the feeling of ‘have we done enough, has the school done enough?’”

Just like thousands of students crossing the stage to go into the next phase of their life, Dostal will be doing the same. She and her husband plan to start the new chapter of their lives in New Orleans, she said.

“One thing that attracted me to LT is the tradition. We have a tradition of outstanding staff, kids, and families and that has not changed over the years,” Dostal said. “I hope to leave behind the example that was set for me when I came. This is a great institution and will continue to be in the future.”

The interview process starts soon and the next Assistant Principal will start again at SC with a new class for four years, Dostal said.

“I am excited for the new person that comes on board with what they will experience here and I am excited for myself in terms of what my next chapter holds,” she said.

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Naimah Arteaga
Naimah Arteaga, Reporter
You either have it or you don’t and if you don’t you never will.

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