BY MORGAN MONTOYA AND CLAIRE DAWSON
Mr. Laslo “caught the teaching bug” in high school and college.
In high school, he and some friends ran sports leagues for kids in Uptown, which then led them to run a youth-led summer school for the kids at Arai Middle School. Once he graduated college, he ran a program at Stockton Elementary in Uptown. He then went back to school to get a degree in teaching. He was a substitute teacher for two years and got his Master’s degree in education at the same time. Once Mr. Laslo was a certified teacher, he went back to teach at his old elementary school, Lasalle Language Academy. He taught there for 10 years and then decided to become an Assistant Principal at Uplift Community High School. While he was at Uplift, his son got into Coonley and he began to work very closely with Mr. Zurawski. When Mr. Z decided to move into the Principal position, he asked Mr. Laslo to become the Assistant Principal. He has been the Assistant Principal at Coonley for the past 11 years.
What’s your favorite memory from Coonley?
That’s tough for me. I think it was just my job in general. I have a lot of passion for it, but my family also [made Coonley a great place]. My favorite memory was the joy I got from watching our theatre productions, our plays. I’m a proud dad of sons that were involved in those productions, so seeing all of our wonderful actors and singers up there was just pure happiness, watching these kids do incredible things. I loved those moments, especially when my sons were on stage performing.
What will you miss most about Coonley?
The relationships, honestly. The interactions I had with my friends and the kids were so important to me. I’ve built a lot of relationships that have been such a big part of my life for the past 11 years, and now I'm not going to see them on a day-to-day basis like I used to. It’ll be a major change in my life to leave all of these people, from colleagues to students to parents. They have seen me at my best, worst, and everything in between. To go to a new place and start all those relationships again is intriguing, but it’s also sad.
What’s next for you?
I’m still planning on becoming an assistant principal at another school. It is pretty stressful to be a principal. That goes for being an assistant principal as well, but in terms of prioritizing my family and my wife, the quality of life is very different. I’m going to become an assistant principal at a different school, so I’ll do the same things I’m doing right now, just at a different school. Because of Chicago’s policies, the new principal [for Coonley] is going to bring in a new assistant principal. When I decided to leave, I had the choice of either trying to become the new principal or leaving for another position. I chose to go to a different school, so that’s what’s next for me.
Thank you and goodbye to Mr. Laslo. We deeply appreciate your years of service and commitment to Coonley Elementary School, making it what it is today.