New dean takes office at LZHS

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Dean Melissa Pikul is excited about the opportunity to with with Lake Zurich students and she is especially hoping to make sure all students escape the problem of bullying.

Julia Kuhn, Features Writer

This year, freshmen will not be the only ones adjusting to a new school, as Melissa Pikul is also adjusting to her new job as Dean of Students.

Melissa Pikul is now the Dean of Students for A-K, hired this year to replace Megan Kolze. Pikul previously taught social studies at Warren Township High School and has experience as a summer school dean at Warren.

“I’m very excited to be at Lake Zurich,” Pikul said. “There’s an incredible sense of community here, and everybody’s very nice, students and staff.”

The difference between teaching a class of students and engaging with students one at a time will take some adjusting, Pikul said.

“It’s going to be different to not have a connection with 30 students at a time and working one on one with students,” Pikul said. “In some ways it will be more difficult just because I’m learning new things, and in some ways I think it will feel easy because it’s what I really want to do.”

As the Dean of Students, Pikul is in charge of student discipline, and she comes to LZHS with high expectations for student behavior.

“I would say I am pretty tough because I think it’s important to set a high standard. I think all of the students here deserve to be able to take pride in their school, and in order to take pride in their school, students need to follow the rules,” Pikul said. “So although I do think I will be strict on the rules, I really feel I’m doing it for the students’ benefit.”

According to Pikul, an issue she intends to focus on is bullying. The school has a zero tolerance cyber bullying policy, and bullying issues are taken seriously by the deans.

“What’s most important to me here would probably be the issue of bullying,” Pikul said. “It’s something I want to stay on top of and watch out for. I think it’s only fair that students have a really positive experience while they’re in high school.”

However, bullying is not the only issue Pikul wants to tackle in her position as a dean.

“My goals are to increase the effectiveness of the peer leadership program so we have a great program for the freshmen…and to evaluate all the policies at Lake Zurich to make sure we’re always doing what’s best for the kids,” Pikul said. “Besides that, just to help any way I can to help the administration at Lake Zurich.”

One of the many challenges that comes with being a new dean is not knowing any of the students.

“I’m going to try my best to be present in the hallways all the time, and I sure hope that students will introduce themselves to me,” Pikul said. “I borrowed a yearbook from the attendance office, and I will do everything I can to meet as many students as possible. It’s very important to me, but, of course, it will be hard just because there are so many students.”

One student who already has confidence in Pikul’s ability as the Dean of Students is Maddie Gelinas, junior.

“Although I’m sad Kolze left, I’m excited that we have a new dean and I’m sure she’ll do a great job,” Gelinas said.

Bryan Stortz, Dean of Students for L-Z, also has confidence that Pikul will make a smooth transition into the dean position.

“I think she’ll be very successful in the position,” Stortz said. “I have a great deal of confidence that her past experience will be an asset to her in this position. Everything I’ve seen from her up to this point leads me to believe she’s going to do a great job.”