Mr.Szychlinski in front of a mountain view
Photo Credit: John Szychlinski

There’s no doubt that the community of Oswego High School is one you cannot replicate anywhere else. Somebody who knows this all too well is Oswego High School alumnus Mr. John Szychlinski, the new assistant principal at Southbury Elementary school in District 308.

Growing up 

Mr. Szychlinski has gone through the same path growing up as many students in OHS, starting out in Boulder Hill Elementary School then moving on to Thompson Junior High School before finalizing his grade school education at OHS in 1997. Growing up, he explains how his mother was a school nurse in the district, which meant he was able to spend a lot of time in the school community. 

In high school, Szychlinski participated in a variety of extracurricular programs as well as sports, including track and field, basketball, and football. He also worked in a tutoring program as an upperclassman, where he tutored students at Boulder Hill Elementary.

“When I was growing up in Oswego, it was much smaller than it was now,” Szychlinski says, yet he still had a “fun time growing up and had a lot of good experiences.” 

Before leaving the welcoming community of OHS to pursue his college education, he made sure to take with him the values he learned and continue working hard, being honest, and appreciating all that he has.

College days

Szychlinski decided to continue his education at Waubonsee Community College for a couple of years, and then moved on to Western Illinois University to obtain his bachelor’s degree in science, physical education, and health. He then decided to pursue his master’s degree in educational leadership at Governor State University. 

Out of all the available field options, education was what sparked his interest the most. This decision was influenced by his high school days, where he worked with kids by tutoring them, giving swim lessons in the park districts, and spending his summers helping at summer camps at Old Post Elementary.

 “ just general love for kids. I want to see them thrive, I want to see them be successful,” Szychlinski says.

Returning to Oswego

After completing his college education, Szychlinski spent many years working at Crest Hill in the Richland School District, as well as Lincoln Middle School in Berwyn, Illinois. It then came the time to return home, and it didn’t take much for him to decide to come to the SD308 community, because he was familiar with the staff and knew it was a great environment. Additionally, coming back included some sentimental value because his mother retired from the very same school. 

“I thought it would be cool to come back and give back to where it all started for me,” he says. 

Returning to a community where you spent your childhood isn’t complete without those nostalgic moments. For Szychlinski, this included running into people he had not seen in over a decade. He explains an incident where he ran into a custodian he was familiar with back in grade school. 

“It was like, ‘oh my God! I haven’t seen you in over 30 years,’” he says. 

Working in a building full of children comes with its interesting perks, and Mr. Szychlinski knows this all too well. 

“ are hilarious! Every day is like a roller coaster ride at times so it keeps the day going busy and definitely never bored,” he says. “It’s a different world here, and people are happier.” 

A look ahead 

Szychlinski’s goals for the future are promising. Some of his goals include getting both of his daughters through college, going back to school to earn a master’s in technology, and wishing to someday in the future lead his own building. He also hopes that the future is filled with lots of hikes, fishing, hunting, camping, and overall spending as much time as possible in the mountains and surrounded by his family.

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